Monday, August 10, 2009
THE ART OF BEING A CHILD
Out of the blue Rojo had been asking to be taken to The Children's Museum, a WONDERFUL place designed for the preschool set. He often got dragged to the original location when Woohoo was much younger, it was one of her favorite places. We even had her 5th birthday party there (see photo above). Don't remember him ever loving it though, most of my memories involve trying to keep him in his back pack and handing snacks, pacifiers and bottles backwards, in a feeble attempt to keep him happy enough for Woohoo to finish doing her thing.
I think once when I was trading day care with another mom who had a kid in Woohoo's kindergarten class, so we could each volunteer in the room, I took both Rojo and my friend's little boy to the new, bigger and better, location. They were three. Ten years ago.
So, classic Rojo, he pulls out a 10-year memory I have no knowledge of him having, and wants to expand on it.
"Mom, I want to go to that place with the grocery store. I want to go to that place with the cash registers. I want to go and guess how much the food is. I want to make the sound beep when the food goes on it. I want to be the doctor. I want to be the ambulance driver..."
"The Children's Museum?" I asked, finally seeing the picture he was drawing for me.
Not answering, he kept up with all his big plans. "And Jenn will take me, and we will bring Brandon and Sam, and we will play with the cash registers and the grocery store and the ambulance..."
Well, The Wonder That is Jenn would do that, she totally would do that, but I knew Brandon and Sam were far too old for The Children's Museum and that plan would not work.
So I begged Woohoo.
And she, being caught in a moment of feeling magnanimous, agreed.
So that's how on Thursday I walked into The Children's Museum with my 13 and 15-year-old, and was asked politely by the woman at the desk, "Have you been here before?"
I decided it wasn't worth the long answer, so I just said, "Yes, we're here for old times' sake."
Oh, we got the looks. We got the "This is for little kids looks." The "Don't let your big kid wreck this for my little kid," look. It's okay. I remember being the mom of the little kid. I remember the protectiveness. I remember the fear. I remember the self-centeredness.
One little girl in particular couldn't stop staring. Finally she walked up to me after watching Woohoo carefully return all the plastic apples and potatoes back to their place in the "grocery store" after Rojo had rung them up.
"Is she someone's babysitter?" the little girl asked.
"Yes." I said, staring her down.
Wooohoo heard the exchange and challenged me. "I'm not getting into it with a three-year-old," I said.
And besides, Woohoo was someone's babysitter. Mine.
We ignored 90% of the museum in favor of returning over and over to the medical and grocery store sections. When he was sated we went to the snack bar and he got Nacho Cheese Doritos and water. Bliss upon bliss.
Holding my hand and skipping (literally - who knew the kid could skip?) in the parking lot as we wandered around looking for our car, he said, "Whew! I'm tired! I had a busy day! I was a grocery person! I was a cooking person! I was an ambulance driver! I was a doctor!"
"Yes, you WERE!" I overly enthused, trying to make up for my discomfort.
But inside I was thinking, Best of all, you were a child.