Today’s post is brought to you by JON!
The boys set off an excursion to the Monterey Bay Aquarium today, with bold plans to play with fishies, penguins and otters. I had to work.
Guess what sounds more fun?
I made Jon promise to take lots of pictures. And also notes. Because the blog fodder wasn’t going to suddenly appear whilst I toiled away in my beige-ish cubicle (with a distinct lack of muppets and aquatic animals). He was thrilled.
Jon would like me to specifically point out the following blog was written under (self-)duress due to the conversation that occurred in his head before I got home. (To be fair, this is pretty much verbatim how that conversation would have gone down.)
Me: How was the aquarium?
Me: Did the boys have fun?
Me: So what happened?
Jon: Nothing really.
Me: SO WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO WRITE ABOUT?!
So, after two and a half years, he wrote his very first post.
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times… Lately the latter has been true because, well, they’re two. But today it was the best of times as Search and Destroy performed admirably in a day that involved driving, new things, and a tweak of the nap time routine (normally such a bad idea that I curse whoever even thinks about it). Perhaps this is why GrandmaN thought I was joking when I said, “The boys don’t have school on Thursday or Friday, you want to take them to the aquarium?”
I instructed GrandmaN to be over at 7:30 a.m. I heard the boys wake up about 6:30 but they peacefully talked amongst themselves until about 7 when the “Mommmmmyyyyy” cries began. Lately we’ve determined that Mommy doesn’t mean Mommy. It’s really more of a verb, meaning, “I need a parental unit.”
So I got up and wrestled with the boys to get clothes on. Funny thing was that neither one wanted a sweatshirt but later in the day when it warmed up I couldn’t peel the darn things off them. I had them and myself dressed by 7:24 a.m. when GrandmaN arrived early. Perfect.
We kissed Mommy goodbye and loaded into the car. I asked the boys if they wanted to go see fishies and they responded, “Fishies!!!” They then looked at me expectantly, as I think their only prior knowledge of “fishies” is of the Pepperidge Farm variety. They tolerated the lack of salted cheese crackers and we arrived at Stack’s Restaurant several minutes later.
Phase I: Overall Score: B+, I could have done without the wrestling for clothing.
The waitress at Stack’s is very familiar with us. The boys have been eating there from time to time for the last year or so. She’s very nice and gets our food out quickly. Early on we intentionally gave like 30% tips because the boys would throw all their food on the ground. I think this helped us endear us to her.
So we got a table immediately and ordered up quickly. The boys split a “Mickey Mouse” pancake, a scrambled egg, two pieces of bacon, and two slices of toast. I know you’re thinking this is a lot of food. And it is. But the only thing left after 20 minutes was half a piece of bacon and a crumb of toast. In and out in 40 minutes, no screaming, and no food on the floor.
Phase II: Overall Score: A-, I think every crayon and every piece of silverware at the table ended up on the ground. I keep us in the A range because those aren’t terribly hard to pick up for the busboy, unlike half eaten pancakes.
In my operational plan, I was unsure whether the drive and visit should be in the same section but then I thought, “What could possibly go wrong on the way there?” So I included them as the same. Then GrandmaN pointed out, we could get a flat tire, we could run out of gas, or we could get in a fender bender.
First of all, I subscribe to the 7-P Theory, therefore I don’t run out gas. However those other two things could be out of my control so it’s entirely possible.
Good news we didn’t crash or get a flat tire. Search and Destroy even took a little nap on the way there. So the drive was fine, parking was ample and we rolled into the aquarium at about 9:50. Only about 20 minutes behind schedule.
And then the boys were ambushed.
An Aquarium Babe walked in front of the stroller with a puppet on her hand. (There were numerous Aquarium Babes. I think these might be marine biologist interns. I have nothing to prove this, it’s just my belief.)
She said the puppet was a ____ Crab. I don’t remember what she called it but it looked like a cow pie with grapes attached to it. The boys were less than impressed and we moved on. They were also not impressed with the model whales hanging from the ceiling and I was thinking this was not going to be a good day.
Then we saw FISHIES!!
Interestingly enough this was in the otter exhibit. The otters were not playful but the fishies were everywhere. Search and Destroy leapt from the stroller and stood as close as they could get to the glass. We stood there for about 10 minutes yelling “FISHIES.” Then as quickly as it had begun, Destroy announced, “Bye bye fishies.” Both boys climbed back into the stroller and looked up. Ok, I guess we’re moving on.
This pattern repeated itself at each tank, with each stay being shortened by about two minutes as their attention span progressively shortened. The highlights were penguins, sharks, sea turtles, sturgeon, tuna, trout, eels, jellyfish, and Destroy’s favorite, Giant Sea Bass.
Just when they were getting super fidgety we stumbled across Coral Cove, a little playground tucked away in the corner. GrandmaN and I went and sat on the bench while Search and Destroy went up the stairs and down the slide approximately 83 times. Each.
Then another Aquarium Babe showed up, again with a puppet. This one was also a crab but its head was hidden in a fuzzy shell. Destroy was intrigued and inched forward to pet the fuzzy shell. After he pet it she made the head pop out. This was ok but then she made the feet move in a creepy way and Destroy fled the scene – hurrying back to the slide.
It was already past noon and I was expecting the meltdown to commence momentarily. So at the first whimper I heard, I scooped them up and we were off to lunch. We stopped at a few of the tanks on the way back but our fascination was clearly waning. We found the cafeteria, I sent GrandmaN to get seats and I went to collect the food. Burgers and dogs. And then they proceeded to eat everything. Again. They even dipped their fries in ketchup.
I take it back. They each had one bite of hotdog left. I know this because that was our sign to go – when those pieces of hotdog hit the chair of the person behind me. Yes she noticed. Yes she was polite enough not to say anything. We scooped up the boys and headed for the car.
Diaper changes at the car and loaded into the car seats. No wrestling, no whining.
PHASE III: Overall Score: B+ Hotdog throwing is a downer, but not the worst thing a tired two-year-old can muster.
You might think Phase III was the critical phase. You would be wrong. Phase IV has nap time built into it, so it is the mission critical phase. You see, everything else could go smoothly but if you don’t give a muppet a nap then the rest of your day will be poop.
So we started driving home, which reminds me I left a small detail out of Phase III. GrandmaN stopped at the gift shop and bought shirts and batons. Batons you ask? Yes batons. Not twirling batons but essentially police beat you down batons. Sort of. See they are these long plastic tubes with something at the ends that make a funny noise when you shake them.
Well guess how long it takes a two-year-old to figure out he can use it to smack the front passengers in the head?
Answer: About two long stoplights.
So that didn’t go well when I took them away, but soon enough we were on the freeway. Destroy started blinking longer and longer until he was eventually out. Search however, was still quite excited about fishies. He was saying full sentences that I couldn’t understand except that each involved fishies. He talked about fishies for 45 minutes before eventually drifting off to sleep – no doubt dreaming of fishies.
PHASE IV: Overall score: B, They both slept but not as much as I’d like.
TOTAL SCORE: Solid B+!!
P.S. Phase V is currently going on in the living room while I write this and make dinner. I hear crying and things/people hitting the floor. I’ll leave Tricia to grade that one.