As promised, here is how our family single-handedly ruined the Titanic exhibit for a whole bunch of other (kid-less) people. Okay….that’s a bit dramatic, but read on…
The Titanic exhibit has been at our local museum for 6 months. Literally. I finally mustered my family together to go on the LAST DAY!! Who does that?? Well, most of Denver, by the lines.
We had timed tickets, so we had to get a move-on on Sunday morning. I had tried my best to time our trip around breakfast, snacks, lunch, naps, etc. Laughable, really.
We got to the entrance, and the Dear Husband tossed me and the older girls out of the minivan while he took the Terrible Toddler and our expedition-worth of stuff off to find parking. The girls and I dashed in and jockeyed for position in the Will Call line. (At what age is it legal to leave a child in one line while you stand in another to see which goes faster?). I discovered at this point that I had left my cell phone at home. This was a painful thing. We only have minutes to get to the IMAX theater to watch the Titanic documentary before they close the doors. I had no idea where the DH and TT have been forced to park. Tick, tock, tick, tock. I had his ticket, and I am pretty sure I didn’t tell him that we were watching the movie first…argh!
Finally, I saw him sprinting with the TT, darting around the museum-goers with our pack of provisions making the stroller unwieldy.
When we dashed into the theater, there are only 2 spots left that will accommodate our crew–way down front of the like 7-story screen or way at the top. We opted for the top, as we weren’t sure how scary the movie was going to be and figured the Titanic would be big enough even at the top of the theater.
We were the only ones with a baby that I could see. I wished that I had pursued my fleeting thought to find a sitter. However, our expedition survival pack had many quiet toys, suckers (discovered that little treasure by accident when she grabbed one from her sister and it kept her happy-though sticky–for a long time), and we are right by the exit. We could do this. Oh, and we had a baggie full of her absolute favorite thing in the whole world–M&M’s. She loves them so much that we can’t even say the word without her pointing imperiously to the cabinet where they live. Note: you can’t spell them, so we have tried coming up with all sorts of ways to identify them. Let me know if you have any ideas.
The movie started. The girls were wide-eyed and the TT seemed happy on her daddy’s lap. A good start. It only lasted for about 20 minutes, at which point the sucker had been discarded and the you-know-what’s had been mostly plowed through. So much for pacing her. The Dear Husband plunked her in her stroller and beat a hasty exit while I clutched the hands of the older two who were whispering loudly about the movie. We were wildly popular with the museum crowd.
Since I didn’t have my cell phone, I had no idea where the DH had gone off to with our youngest offspring. At the end of the hour-long movie, we headed toward the exhibit where our next timed-ticket event awaited. Luckily, The DH was waiting by the entrance and we headed on in. It is at this point that I realize it was lunch time. But our tickets are only good for right that instant. I glanced at the “DON’T EAT ANYTHING IN OUR MUSEUM EVER OR YOU WILL BE CRUSHED AND TOWED sign. The Toddler Tornado’s sugar rush had worn off. My blood sugar was creeping toward my feet. They estimated that the exhibit would take 1-2 hours. We would all die without food.
The Dear Husband took matters into his own hands (having years of experience with his girls and low blood sugar) and whipped out cereal bars for our crew. You know, the really crumbly kind? He pointed out that we were technically not IN the exhibit yet, but in line for the exhibit. I thought he was wrong but was willing to risk it. The Pixie Child had been given strict instructions to stay in the stroller (which she climbed into when the Terrible Toddler decided she was all done) and eat her messy snack quietly. This was interpreted to mean, “wave cereal bar around like a monkey and talk about it, also complain loudly of no drink”. Grr…
As for the exhibit, well, I honestly don’t remember much about it. We had severely mis-judged the kid-friendliness of this event, and we are usually pretty good about such things. Many of The Sunshine Child’s friends from school had come and talked about how they were assigned characters from the ship and how neat it was, so I guess we just assumed it would be fun for The Pixie Child, too.
However, all the exhibits were at least 4 feet high and so we had to lift her up to see all of them. (As an additional note, not at all friendly to folks in wheelchairs either, as we saw.) There was lots of reading to do. The Terrible Toddler did not want to fall asleep in the nice baby carrier, or sit quietly in her stroller. The first room we walked into, we should’ve just walked right back out of, had a nice lunch somewhere and called it a good movie. But nooo-ooh.
I had given The Terrible Toddler a museum map to keep her happy for a few minutes as I pushed her heavily-laden stroller of useless toys and attempted to lift her sister to see the exhibits. I had no idea where The Dear Husband and The Sunshine Child were off enjoying themselves at this point. The TT had now taken to shredding the map and leaving a little Hansel and Gretel trail behind us. We were, again, wildly popular with the museum crowd as I tried to discreetly pick up the map pieces. The TT was making a complete spectacle of herself as she enthusiastically waved and crumpled the map. Grr…
There was a long line into the next room. The TT had been allowed out of her stroller again as her shrieking was just too much. The Pixie Child was bored. The line was not moving very quickly, and my kids were generally being buggy kids. People were still mostly smiling tolerantly at us, with a combination of “have you ever heard of a babysitter?” looks and “you poor saps”. Sigh. Good thing my kids are cute. That usually buys us a bit of love.
We got to the iceberg room. It was really, really dark. I was trying to interest the TT in touching the iceberg while I quickly read as much as I could in a desperate attempt to enjoy the exhibit. We were in the room for about 10 minutes when I finally found the DH and The Sunshine Child. The Pixie Child had run ahead of me into the room when she had spotted them initially. I thought that she had stayed with them, but she was nowhere to be found. Ever realize your child was missing in a dark, croweded room where people’s patience with you was already worn thin? And where you were looking like a terrible parent to start with?
I would have totally panicked, but this is the child who gets lost on every family outing, so I only mildly panicked. I was slightly less concerned that she was kidnapped and more concerned that she was happily picking apart some pricelss relic.
As I grabbed the TT and ran around like a maniac, people started reporting having seen her. She’s fairly striking, so people can usually point me to where she has wandered off to. I fought my way through the crowded line in the narrow hallway, dangling the TT until I caught up with our crying middle child. She had lost sight of me in the dark iceberg room when I was dashing about trying to keep the TT intact and decided that the thing to do was go BACK the way we had come. All the way through the line, crying, “Mommy?”. Nice. She was standing in the first room with tears streaming down her cheeks and lots of people crowded around her. They spotted me and went, “Oh, there’s her mom!” as if I had wandered away from her, and not vice versa. I grabbed her and hugged her and generally felt miserable that I had lost her. I forget how little she is sometimes, and how big and scary the world is. We then recited, “what is the most important rule when you get lost?
stay exactly where you are.”
At this point, we realized that we were really, really, really done. We walked quickly through the rest of the exhibit (people parted like the Red Sea) and through the obligatory gift shop at the end.
We left and headed for lunch with all 3 children accounted for, and no fun to be had by anyone, really. Go us!
As a note for next time, is it still considered a “fun, family outing” if you leave the kids with a sitter?