Thursday, May 13, 2010

avoid beheadings and crucifixions at all costs

It was raining yesterday, and given our new non-school situation, I've been trying to get the kids out the door and doing activities most days. If we stay home, I find that the percentage of screaming coming out of me goes up dramatically, so out the door we go.

I was feeling brave, and decided to attempt Boston's Museum of Fine Art. With a three year old. And a one year old. By myself. In the rain. Stop laughing. Seriously, it's not funny.

I did my research beforehand and read on the website that the MFA offers little bags of activities for kids and some handouts on ways to keep them engaged- something along the lines of "how many dogs can you find in these pictures?" I was excited and enthusiastic and I packed tons of snacks and talked up the visit and kept telling Gabe we were going to see pictures and sculptures and mummies and all that. I wavered at the last minute, wondering whether I should take a single or double stroller, because the double would mean full confinement for Gabe, but I decided in the end that taking him into a museum and not even letting him walk by himself was cruel and unusual punishment, and brought the single instead.

We arrived and he started running ahead immediately, telling anyone who would listen we were going to look at pictures and having a special day. I checked our coats (less baggage), headed straight to the visitor's center for our free bag of goodies, and we were on our way. The bag was totally not age appropriate, but Gabe felt super special just to be carrying it around. We would arrive into a room and he'd plop down on a bench and remove all his items from the bag, sort the papers, and put them all back again.

We basically did a speed tour of the museum. We'd walk into a room and I'd offer commentary about this lady's hat, or that pack of dogs, or "wow! Look at those cows!" and then we'd move on. I talked up the newest exhibit containing items from a tomb, thinking the toy ships would be a big hit, but he barely looked at them. We liked the walking around, and except for an incident where HE TRIED TO SHIMMY UP A SCULPTURE, all was right with the visit. Let's not talk about the sculpture climbing, I've blocked it out and I hope no one caught it on video.

The museum was fairly loud, thank goodness, due to visiting school children and tourist groups, so our chattering went unnoticed. Three year olds and one year olds are not clear on the whole "inside quiet voices" thing. We did get reprimanded when Josie realized her voice echoed in one hall and she let out several loud "ahas" as I raced through the room. The employee at the museum sternly told her to stop, which I found kind of unnecessary as I was obviously doing my darnedest to get out of the room asap. Stopping us in the middle to shush us did not speed up the process. Plus, dude, she's one. And small for one, most people assume she is 9 months old.

The Japanese gardens were great, and both kids balanced on rocks and walked across the benches and enjoyed the reprieve from the rain. Lunch was also a hit, and we sat at a table and looked outside at the courtyard and talked about what we'd seen.

All in all, I'm not doing it again any time soon, but it was fine. Gabe would tell you he saw "some picture men and a guitar", Josie would tell you she was pissed I wouldn't let her out of the stroller, and I'd tell you I'm happy to be able to tell my in-laws I took their grandkids to the museum. I survived, only a little frazzled and not much worse for the wear. Next time, though, it's the Aquarium for us.


liz said...

Good job!!! Isn't there a terrific "please touch" kid's museum near you?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure it's much easier with an 11 yo and a 13 yo! Sounds like you had a great day!