Sunday I was looking for something to do with Brandon to get him out of the house. Matt didn't sleep well Saturday night and I wanted to take Brandon somewhere fun so he could get some extra rest. Someone suggested the Children's Museum at the Canadian Museum of Civilization - a place I'd thought about but didn't think would actually be open during the time I wanted to go. Turns out they were. So, I hastily got everything ready and we were off.
Brandon ran happily beside me as we walked from the garage to the main building and then up the stairs. He likes going to new places, but he gets bored standing still for too long. Waiting for two people ahead of us to finish buying tickets was too long for him, so he tried to wander off. To attempt to distract him, I pointed out a display of Eskimos with sled dogs that was sitting on top of the ticket booth. At first, he kept calling them horses, but finally believed me when I said they were dogs. Then he started yelling, "Dogs, dogs" over and over. I was in the middle of trying to pay and he's walking away to get a better view of the dogs.
That's the most challenging part of taking him out alone now. He's old enough to know how to walk off on his own, but he still doesn't completely get it when I tell him to come back. I didn't worry too much about it in this instance because he was focused on the dogs - his line of sight (of the dogs) was in my line of sight, but I could tell the museum workers were getting a little nervous. I paid as quickly as I could and tried to usher him into the Children's Museum.
But he didn't want to leave the dogs. He thought they were real and I'm sure he was dying to pet them. They were pretty realistic (except for the not breathing, not moving, not making noise part and a two-year-old can be forgiven for not picking up on that). I forced the issue. I picked him up and carried his screaming, flailing, unhappy little body into the Children's Museum, because we were there to have fun!
I thanked my lucky stars when I saw a bus at the entrance. Brandon adores buses. Everywhere we go, he dutifully points out every single bus we pass - school buses, OC Transpo buses, coach buses, etc. Every single bus that we pass, he points it out. At first he wasn't sure what to make of this bus sitting there just for him to climb into, but it didn't take long for him to figure it out.
Five minutes after we got to the bus, I was ready to move on to find something new. I wanted to find the Bob the Builder exhibit - he also loves Bob, Wendy, Scoop and the gang. If we had to stay at the Bob the Builder exhibit, it would be worth the price of admission. But there was absolutely no way to get Brandon to budge out of the bus. Fortunately, the children who got on for the first 10 minutes or so weren't interested in taking his spot in the driver's seat.
I was disappointed that I'd paid admission to the museum (just for myself) to go sit in a bus the whole time. So, after a while, I decided to force the issue again. It worked once; surely I could make it happen again.
For one thing, finding the elusive Bob the Builder exhibit just didn't happen as quickly as I'd hoped. I knew he'd get distracted from the bus if he saw it, but we were weaving in and out of all the activity areas and exhibits and I couldn't find it. All the while, he was miserable and screaming. Bob the Builder just wasn't obvious at that moment and there wasn't anyone readily available for me to ask.
It was during this time that I mentally threw my hands up in the air and surrendered to Brandon's cries, deciding that this trip was going to be about what Brandon wanted to do. If he wanted to spend the entire hour we had in the bus, then I would be more than happy to let him. So, I put him down and he led me, crying the whole way, back to the bus.
He stood for a moment at the entrance just looking at it until I told him to go ahead and get on. I guess he thought he was in trouble and I felt bad for that.
Once I finally let go of my need to turn this into the outing that I wanted, we both enjoyed the time together more. By this time, the museum started to get more and more families coming through. There was Brandon, perched on the driver's seat of this bus as two families - one with two children and the other with three - joined us. I dragged Brandon off the driver's seat so that the other children could have a turn. (He got upset again, but this was non-negotiable. Sharing is a must. He got over it pretty quick.)
As the five children each took turns at the wheel, one of fathers - an Indian man - said something I didn't catch, but I think he was checking the make and model of the bus. This particular bus was from India and the man knew about them from when he lived there. He and his wife told our informal little group that the ornate design of the bus was pretty standard (I'm not sure if he meant just in his area or across India). He said that the privately owned buses are sometimes not as safe as public buses and his wife pointed out that they have horns that don't beep, but play music instead. It was pretty neat to get the opportunity to hear from someone knowledgeable since the display itself didn't say much about the bus. We would have missed out on that if it weren't for Brandon's determination to hang out in the bus.
All the families who joined us on the bus were so nice to Brandon, making a point of giving back the driver's seat to him as they left. As long as he got to sit in the driver's seat, he was happy. But it was very clear after a little while that he was getting tired, so his unhappiness at each new child he had to share with was increasing. I decided that I couldn't wait for boredom to set in. I had to get him home.
So, we left the bus and we left the museum. And I left happy that we'd spent the time in a bus because Brandon loved it - and that was worth every penny of the price of admission.
P.S. We're going back tomorrow! I'm hoping to find that Bob the Builder exhibit (assuming it's still there) and get better pictures of the bus, too.
Written in participation of Bigger Picture Moments, "A moment where you recognized the role your faith plays in your every day life. A moment where you take note of motherhood and the importance of what you are doing. A moment that made you stop and breathe in the bigness of it all. The hugeness that is life and the small moments adding up to one Bigger Picture." Check out this week's posts at This Heavenly Life.