Thursday, February 7, 2008

Dallas Museum of Nature and Science

After weeks of errand running and boring days at home, I decided it was time Aiden and I had a fun outing together. I'd heard that the Dallas Science Museum had a cool "Dinosaurs Alive" movie playing on IMAX, so I thought we'd make the trek down to Fair Park and check out the musem and the IMAX movie.

Well, getting to the museum turned out to be the biggest PAIN! Aiden was in a very stubborn mood today. He refused to get dressed, ran around the house like a felon on the run, me chasing him desperately with clean underwear and a comb and him acting as if I was going to torture him. The only way I could get him to cooperate was to promise him a "tongue tickle tic tac," (Aiden's name for these Jones Soda Co. carbonated candies that Brad had bought him a while back) if he would get dressed by himself and put his coat on. I know, bribery isn't the best parenting move ever, but it was that or hog tie him and drag him out to the car naked with messy hair and dirty teeth!

I had hoped to be on the road by 10:00. We stepped out the door at 11:15--so much for my plans! Then I decided we'd better grab some lunch on the way, so we pulled into Sonic. Aiden was pleased as punch to be eating a corndog, but I was less than enthused to be eating fast food--yuck! We finally got the museum at 12:15--just in time for the 12:45 showing of the dinosaur movie. Luckily, there was only one school group and a handful of families attending that showing of the movie, so the theater was relatively empty and we got great seats.

As soon as we sat down, Aiden proceeded to cover his ears with his hands and proclaim that he was scared. The movie hadn't even started yet, but the kid was already freaking out. I began having my doubts about whether we would make it through the movie. I pulled him onto my lap and pointed out the many other kids that were happy and excited about the movie, but that didn't seem to help. The lights went down, the movie started, and Aiden was shaking. His hands were still over his ears, and he kept burying his head in my neck. At this point, the movie was just a couple of boring paleontologists talking about fossils. The scariest thing on the screen was the fact that one guy actually wore a pocket protector and had a white 'fro of red curly hair--and Aiden was freaking out like a preteen at a slasher flick. Heaven help us when the dinosaurs appeared.

But guess what--when the giant, scary, teeth-bearing dinosaurs came on screen--Aiden was captivated. After a few minutes, he wiggled of my lap and climbed into his own "big boy seat" next to me. The more the dinosaurs fought and ate one another, the more comfortable he became. Dinosaur skeletons and paleontologists with bad hair--terrifying. A giant alligator-like dino gobbling up a tiny herbivore--hilarious! What a weird world I live in with this little guy! It was good the theater was half empty--I didn't have to worry that the constant stream of chatter that came out of Aiden's mouth was offending anyone.
"Mama, what's THAT?!"
"That dinosaur is COOL! Cool jelly!"
"That dinosaur is mean, Mama! I going to shoot it with my laser!"
"Mama, can I pet the dinosaurs? I pet it like this. I pet it nice, Mama, with soft hands."

Anyway, after the movie, which was a hit, (followed by an instant "AGAIN!" and a mini-meltdown when we had to leave) we ventured into the museum's exhibits. Aiden got to dig in a sand pit for fossils, float a ping pong ball on a column of air, dress up like a fireman and play in the water. He ran from one exhibit to the next for several hours, until Mommy's feet began to ache and the fear of getting stuck in Dallas rush hour traffic prompted her to end the day. There were tears, of course, but as we said goodbye to each exhibit on our way to the front door, Aiden said, "Daddy can come next time. A'morrow (tomorrow). Daddy likes Dinosaurs. He can watch the movie with me, Mama?" I quickly promised a return visit soon (not tomorrow) and out we went with a smile on our faces.

It was nice to finally have a fun outing together. It seems like we are so often stuck spending our days together running errands and dashing from one place to the next, that I miss being able to just explore with him. I found myself doing the typical Mom thing all morning--rushing us out the door, hounding Aiden. But when we finally got to the museum and I allowed myself to ignore the clock and just explore at Aiden's pace, we had a wonderful time. I think I need to remember this more often. It doesn't matter if we skipped half the exhibits or that we spent a good chunk of our time playing with a set of blocks that look just like the set we have at home--Aiden was content, I was content, and we shared a great day together.

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