Thank God for kid-friendly places that offer memberships.
In bad weather, they can be absolute life-savers. Or at least sanity-savers on days when I just don't want to stay inside my own house and read Richard Scarry books for the three-thousandth time in a row. I don't want to think what we'd do without places like the zoo or the science museum, where we can drop in for an hour and leave whenever the tantrums or exhaustion threaten. I don't feel guilty about picking up and leaving because we can come back any old time! And I love that. Once you've gone to the zoo three or four times, you've essentially paid for your membership. Anything after that is free.
Now, I do love to go to the bookstore and the library. They're both free, and we do go to both quite frequently. Plus, books! But both places can require a fair amount of kid-wrangling and clean-up. Sometimes it really does take less energy to go to a place that may seem more energy-draining on the surface because it requires less maintenance on the back end of the trip. That's doubly true on days when William has some excess energy to burn. Most days, he does really well at the bookstore, where he can play with the choo-choos to his heart's content. But at some point, he'll get antsy and need to run around. Sometimes that's okay at the bookstore, and no one bats an eyelash. Other days, when William's energy starts bubbling over, I get those Looks from the mothers of the perfectly-behaved Stepford children who have obviously been either brainwashed or hypnotized into oddly sedate behavior prior to their bookstore trip. I mean, come on. He's a toddler, people. It's not that weird that he wants to run around after playing nicely for a half hour.
So anyway. I love having a roster of places to take William so that we always have someplace that fits our current needs.
Today's membership-provided entertainment was brought to you by the letter W (for William), the number 1 (also for William) and the Adventure Science Museum.
Our friends Jaclyn and Sammy met up with us. Here's a rare photo of William and Sammy in the same space at the same time. For those of you who think William can move fast, well, clearly you need to meet Sammy. He's a small white Carl Lewis. I mean, if I didn't know better, I would think he had some kind of magical power. He's that fast. Ergo, it's nearly impossible to corral these two long enough to actually get a picture of both of them. So cherish this one.
Now obviously, the science center does require me to keep a close eye on my son, but it's not like he's going to hurt anything. See, that's another good thing about the science center: it's almost impossible to break or ruin anything. No books to reshelve or toys to stack either. And no one has to be quiet. Usually there's so much noise that you can barely hear William's ear-splitting shrieks of joy over the general din.
William checks out his reflection in one of the funny mirrors. His reflection was cute. Mine, not so much. Which is why we have a picture of him here and not one of me!
William wasn't quite sure about the big dinosaur exhibit. He and Sammy both hung back and clung to their respective mamas when they saw the model dinosaurs moving their heads and growling. I can see how even a ten-foot imitation dinosaur would be a little frightening to a three-foot-tall two-year-old. I remember being a little scared of the pictures of the T. Rex in my dinosaur book that I had in the second grade. (And I was much taller then.)They ARE scary. He didn't have to explain that to me. So I didn't talk him into posing by the dinosaurs. So the shot of him holding onto the teeth of the (fake) dinosaur skull will have to suffice.
The only downside of today? The president was in town, and they closed a bunch of the roads that we needed to take to get home. Which resulted in my driving around all over Nashville, cursing, for about an hour. Which sort of ruined the charm of a nice morning at the science museum and a quick drive home for lunch. Which drove me to drink...okay, actually it drove me to McDonald's to order French Fries. But I think I deserved them.