Monday, March 26, 2012

How I Spent February, Part IV: Boston

We wrapped up our monstrous month of February by taking a rather spontaneous trip out to Boston to visit the New England Aquarium and the Children's Museum.  The whole thing was Dan's idea; he suggested that Michaela may be very interested in the aquarium since she had just finished her bottle nose dolphin project (see previous post).  We booked a suite in Waltham, MA with the idea that we would take the subway into Boston, making our little train obsessed little boy also very happy.

We left Friday morning and enjoyed a rather complaint-free trip out.  Our hotel was fabulous, spacious and clean and wonderful.  The girls got into their suits and jumped right into the pool and hot tub.  (I'm pretty sure that if we had not even gone into Boston, the trip would have been a success: they loved the idea of swimming and lounging in the hot tub.)  Alec and I stayed poolside and watched. 

After a nice dinner out, we ended up driving into Boston and going to the Children's Museum. It was $1 Admission Friday, which meant that just about every family in MA, NY and CT was at the Children's Museum that night. We parked (now pay attention, because this is important later) in an underground parking lot about 1.5 blocks away from the museum, over a bridge and across the street. And it was raining. But we got there just fine, got in for the phenomenal nominal fee of $5 total, and we were off. We hit the construction zone first, much to Alec's delight, and he tried out all the play tables with cars and tractors and ramps and bridges and cranes. It was really neat.

They had all kinds of stations and activities for the girls to try out: lifting your own weight, climbing walls, kid-powered experiments, and the like.  Then we hit another fun area: the sand and water tables.

About 45 minutes into our visit, a fatal ROOKIE PARENTING MISTAKE hit us: Alec, who had been stricken with a terrible GI illness earlier in the week (along with Jenna and I, but I won't even go into detail about that except to say that I cannot remember being that sick or sleeping that much ever), had a monumental diaper blowout, and guess where my diaper bag was? With all my diapers and wipes in it? Yes, in THE CAR... which was 1.5 blocks away, across the street and over a bridge from where we were.  Uggggghhhhhh.  What was I thinking? Have I not been a parent for over 10 years and do I not understand that by forgetting these crucial items I was therefore practically guaranteeing that this exact event would happen?  So, I summoned all of my considerable diaper changing skill and experience, cleaned Alec up as best I could, and when we left at 9pm when the museum closed, I just took his diaper off and he went to the car with just his sweats on.

At the hotel, we experienced another adventure when the fire alarm went off at 2 am, followed by a recorded message that we need to evacuate the hotel and that the fire department was on its way.  Michaela was awesome- jumped right into her clothes and was ready to go.  Alec whimpered and clearly had no idea what was going on.  Jenna was the funniest to see, bleary eyed and confused, asking "What is that NOISE?  What is happening?  Why do we hafta get our clothes on?"  We went out to our car and waited about 20 minutes until we were able to return to our room.  We heard the next day that the water pressure in the sprinkler system had dropped too low, setting off the alarm, so we clearly were never in any danger.  As we were walking outside into the cold at 2:15am, I just kept telling the girls and Alec what an ADVENTURE this was and making it sound as fun as humanly possible.  Not sure that anyone believed me or shared my enthusiasm.

The next day we enjoyed our complimentary breakfast and took the T into Boston. Alec was pretty jazzed about the whole thing but was a little taken aback by how loud the approaching subway was.  We enjoyed a smooth trip into Boston, only saw one or two crazy people at the subway stop (one of whom asked Michaela, "Why aren't you in SCHOOL? This is why our country is going down the tubes..." and Michaela tried to helpfully answer that it was Winter Break and also, in fact, Saturday)  and found the Aquarium, which was packed with people and kids.  But we eventually got in and all of us fell instantly in love with the penguins.

You can see how crowded it was at the aquarium that day.

Dan and Alec got a nice visit from a friendly sea turtle!

One of my favorite exhibits of the day was the jellyfish tank- they were gorgeous and mesmerizing.  I wish I had known the best way to photograph these fluid, formless creatures.  As I overheard one visitor say, "Can you imagine if your whole existence was just to swim around and be beautiful?"

My girls checked out the tropical fish tank... lots of Finding Nemo-esque fish in here.

Another popular spot for our three kids was the sting ray touch tank- stick you hands right in and feel their slippery backs! Even Alec joined right in!

Two sting rays swimming past us.

Our last stop before we left (and, of course, hit the gift shop) was back to see the penguins one last time.  We took the subway back to our car and headed home.

The trip was not only a lot of fun and a terrific change in scenery/ routine/ pace, it really helped me get over the funk I was in for most of the month.  I came home with a new attitude and a lightness that I wasn't experiencing before. I am so glad we took this little trip- it was a great weekend of together time for our family as well as a preview for how well Alec will hopefully do this summer when we go to the Cape for a week.  I can't wait.

Thank you, Boston, for helping me get back on track.


Anonymous said...

What a wonderful and adventure-filled trip you had! Just the ticket for mid-winter blues! Love you all-Mom

Anonymous said...

Your trip was a metaphor for life in general....lots of adventures and beauty and an occasional diaper blow-out. And as long as you're all together it's good! See you SOON!!!! Love, LW