To the mom (or dad) on the plane with the screaming little one. Please relax. Please do not think that everyone on the plane is annoyed with you, mad at you, or thinks you are an awful parent. There is likely a couple that are selfishly annoyed, but they are generally lacking in experience or wearing rose-colored glasses. Many of us are parents ourselves and if you see us anxiously looking to/at you, it is not in judgment or criticism but rather either sympathy or inquiring to see if we can help somehow. We understand that sometimes there’s just nothing mom (or dad) can do in the confines of your airplane seat. Those that don’t/won’t look at you aren’t angry, but rather just trying to give you some space while you work so hard to calm the child. Just remember, the more relaxed you are, the easier for them to calm. Sometimes nothing will calm them…just know that you are in good company, and we’ve all been there…and if we haven’t, it is just plain dumb luck and we are so thankful.
One of my children just announced, “Tomorrow is Sunday!” The other said, “Yes, and the last day of spring break.” And to add insult to injury, it is snowing out… in APRIL. Ugh. A little bit of my heart crumbles as Monday begins to loom…
My ideal version of spring break (or any school break) is family time and quality time with the kids. In reality, it means I am juggling as much work as I can squeeze in, along with housekeeping, while trying to create memories/moments for my kids. I try not to travel during spring break as inevitably you end up paying a 100-300% premium on flights and lodging. This means, though, that I want to travel at other times, which creates a conundrum for time away from work…unless I can continue to accomplish some work during these breaks.
So our break started on Wednesday with one child missing school with a 104 degree temperature, not recovering until Sunday. The second child came down with the same fever on Friday night, without recovering fully until Monday night. Despite the run down kiddos, we managed a walk around the American side of Niagara Falls on Sunday after a brunch in which we were tortured by whiny children. So by Tuesday we had some happier children, but the risk seemed too high to take them anywhere.
Wednesday, one week after our break officially started, we finally got to snag a full day of Magical Mommy Minutes! It started with some mommy snuggles with her not so little babies anymore. We then zoomed to Starbucks to pick up our “mobile order” to have breakfast on the road. As boys enjoyed egg and croissant, mommy enjoyed a delicious green tea latte as they drove just over an hour for a visit with friends at The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY. It was our first trip to the Museum and it was loads of fun. I would say there is no perfect age for the museum as we observed it being enjoyed by everyone from crawling infants to high school teenagers to moms and dads. It was clean and provided endless hours of adventure and exploration. The food options ranged from well-stocked vending machines (with salads, veggie/fruit/cheese bento boxes, sliced fruits, the usual suspects, and a large variety of beverages from water to sodas to healthier options) to food court options to a sit down burger diner. Our friends allowed us to use their guest passes, but otherwise the cost for the three of us would have been $42. While $42 is not cheap for a day’s outing, it is the equivalent of a movie and lunch for three of us, and this was hours of creative learning.
At our first stop, we enjoyed a grocery store exhibit where the children got to shop for 5 items, then they got to play cashier for a friend (even using the moving belt!), creating a real true receipt, and then they had to re-stock the items. My guys initially found it a tad overwhelming, but once they gave it a shot, we could hardly get them to move on… Until, of course, we told them the next exhibit was a “Hot Wheels” exhibit! While the older girl in our group was not as excited about this exhibit, the boys were incredibly engaged. There were exhibits demonstrating the benefits of “power” on launches to a “pit crew” stop where the kids had 2 minutes to change the tires and fill the gas on a race car. From here we went to the Reading Adventureland, a virtual jungle gym and maze of stories interspersed with related crafts. After all the kids had expended some energy and adorned their heads with a paper crown, we headed to the Berenstein Bears room. This room at first glance appears to be sparse and unlikely to hold anyone’s attention for long. Boy, were we wrong. Instead we discovered a magnificent area for pretend play. There was a café with a food service counter that allowed for a host/hostess, waitress/waiter, cook, cleaner, and cashier. There was a house with stone pavers to build a wall. There was a tool area to build plumbing fixtures and other household needs. There was a quilt shop, a farm, and a dentist! So much to do and so little time…that is how I would sum up our trip to the National Museum of Play. We will definitely be headed back to the Museum in the very near future…from my count we have 17 more exhibits to explore, not to mention the temporary exhibits and events that come and go, and we weren’t finished with the first 5 exhibits that we did this trip! If you would like more information on this museum, here is a link to their website: http://www.museumofplay.org/
The rest of our break was spent in the ideal boy way….legos and hot wheels and mud.
It’s funny how much sometimes we all overthink what we need to do to make magical mommy minutes, when all our boys want is a minute with mommy. So with that, I’ll say adieu and go grab some minutes with my boys catching up on Star Wars Rebels (which usually only dad allows) on Disney XD. http://disneyxd.disney.com/