Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Off Days

Somehow I always forget that February comes crammed with all these president day holidays. Mondays with no school that I usually catch wind of long after everyone else, and naturally feel obligated to fill with something fun and educational. Out of the ordinary and equally satisfying for each of the boys. 

First off day I surprised them with an afternoon to the Natural History Museum in L.A. which they had visited once before, a couple years back but thrashed about and complained so much the whole time I swear I'd never be back. Though I assumed, looking back, they were too young to fully appreciate such a thing. I figured now a couple years older, things might be totally different.  
I was wrong. 

Though there were sprouts of interest that sprang from each of them here and there as we wandered around the expanse of the building, for the most part it was just a wild rush of over anxious boys chasing each other through those big beautiful viewing rooms being scolded for touching things they shouldn't touch being "too loud" and racing around corners they should't be. All in all the peak of their delight came with the wide open space in the play area filled with exotic, cutely animated taxidermy where they spent 35 minutes rolling around a bunch of neon colored pleather poufs and dog piling util their cheeks were flushed and their limbs finally exhausted. (Not pictured)

We eventually made it outside to the sunny spot in the cafeteria patio quarters where we were rewarded with canned Modelos and decent salads, where we let them loose after lunch to burn the remainder of their energy in a patch of rolling hills far away from the halls of facts and knowledge they had so carelessly rushed through. (Not pictured) 

Lesson being: I need to remind myself that the enlightening museum jaunts that I carry around in my head are never what actually manifests. I don't know if it's just my kids, or their age, or their plain lack of manners, or the fact that for the most part, boys in a group become purely, instinctively physical beings no matter where you take or place them, but man they just seem most content to just knock one another around all day long. Slowly, I'm coming to accept this about raising boys. 

Second Monday off I was smarter. This time a picnic with two of my other friends (and their GIRLS!) creekside, with just enough water to keep things interesting and nothing even remotely valuable to forbid them from. The fact that our current weather is making a sweet mockery of February certainly helped too. We arrived around noon, to a cool 78 degrees with the sun hanging slight on our bare shoulders all afternoon, which was incredible. 

Aside from Leon's notorious meltdowns - it was the rocks, or the water, or the breeze, I don't know - all the rest of the kids ran rampant around a big open field, with endless sticks to gather, rocks to collect, and a shallow stream to splash around in. Though the sad fact of an abandoned doll found near the creek that my boys found and then tied to a tree to stone should probably mentioned. If only in case it may or may not be apparent in any photos here, should you look hard enough. My apologies in advance. 

Needless to say, I'll be sticking to more outdoor activities next time I aim to fill one of these sporadic off days. Does it mean I won't be dragging them around anymore reserved museum type environments in the near future? Of course not. But at least I'll be more clear as to who the afternoon is actually planned for instead of assuming they might actually prefer to do anything other than tackle each other to the ground in the dirt all afternoon long till their bones ache and their clothes are entirely wrecked and filthy. 




  1. what fun adventures! you're such a good mom.

    xo, Samantha

  2. I've been reading your blog a long time and love hearing about adventures with your boys. As a museum educator, I want to say-- hold on to hope about those museum visits! Unstructured time can be super challenging in a museum context-- you're definitely not alone in that experience! There are many different approaches museum educators use when working with young kids in museums, and that parents can totally steal from! Obviously scrap anything that doesn't seem like it would work for your family, but things I've seen be helpful are: be sure to check out what children or family programs a museum has going on-- they're often free and almost always hands-on; keep visits short and don't feel pressure to "see it all" (I recommend this for adults too! Museums have too much to digest); make up a scavenger hunt or detective game or I Spy to look for certain things; bring simple sketching materials (most places allow pencils, no ink). There are so many awesome fun times to be had in museums, I hope you don't give up on it!

  3. I've been there. Sometimes the science museum works out okay. Or a couple of times we've taken the boys The Museum of Play in Rochester, which they like. But more times than not, museum visits seem like a fail to me. Being outdoors always seem to calm them or maybe it's just that there aren't so many rules for them to follow, but those types of outings go much better. The presence of girls does help too. And I think you're right about boys being most content in just knocking one another around all day! This is all my boys do and their dad only seems to perpetuate it!

  4. You're a hoot. Mine seemed determined to prove to everyone else that I enforce nothing and teach no manners, so - ya know - glad I'm not alone.

  5. Oh you brave girl! If I close my eyes I can almost see my son tackling his sisters to the ground, being one with all the dirt in his immediate area. I used to say that he wore his whole environment. But I did persevere with the museums and art galleries. Surprisingly, he now says those trips were some of his best memories. Who knew!