We decided Sunday night, in an uncharacteristic show of spontaneity, to abandon our original plan to ride the Sumpter train. I know! We are so crazy! Some people like to hit the clubs when it’s time to let loose, but not us…we like to cancel train rides.
As the mother of two tiny humans, I am a little bit in love with planning ahead. That’s why deciding at 9:30pm the night before to take a 2 hour drive with a 6 month old (who I’m still nursing) and a recently potty trained 2.5 year was feeling pretty risky. But since the riskiest things I’ve done in months is eat mozzarella sticks after 10pm, we decided to go for it.
We decided to take B.T. for a trip to the Discovery Center of Idaho, which is a children’s science museum. My sister and I took him last year and even at 1.5 years old, he was lovin’ it. Here we are blowing a ginormous bubble…
And here’s my sister supervising B.T. buying fake mayo at the children’s supermarket:
So I was excited to go back, because it seemed like a much better way to spend our cash than riding a train, which is nowhere near a Target. I figured we could hit up the Discovery Center, have a yummy lunch, grab some Starbucks, get intimate with Target, then head home. I woke up that morning at 6:30 and was so excited to leave Baker City I made a little schedule in my head and it went something like this:
8am: Leave Baker
9am: Quick stop in Ontario (on the border of Oregon and Idaho) for potty, smoothies, and feeding Baby Ham
10-11am: Arrive at the Discovery Center and begin having fun
2pm: Shopping for reasonably priced toiletries and home goods
10pm: Head home. Just kidding. Maybe like 4pm. Even though I could easily spend that many hours absorbing Target.
For those of you who aren’t yet shaking their heads at how misguided this schedule is, just let me confirm: this schedule was totally misguided.
I somehow failed to consider that we would be taking a 2 1/2 year old who takes 30 minutes just to walk from the front door to the car, and a baby who would need to be nursed every couple of hours.
The schedule slow-down began in Ontario, our halfway point. B.T. had been getting real antsy in the car, telling us he had to go potty. He sometimes does this when he just wants to get up from a meal, but you never know so we started getting a bit nervous that we’d have a car full of human waste. Thankfully, everyone’s pants were dry when we rolled up to the smoothie place, but a session on the potty confirmed that B.T. did not actually have to go. This marked the beginning of the end of the “quick stop.”
We got our smoothies and snacks and I fed Baby Ham. I did not feed him smoothies, in case you were wondering – at least not directly. While I was in a comfy chair with a large piece of fabric protecting the masses from my lady parts, Ryan took B.T. over to Game Stop to waste money. Or wait, I mean buy awesome video games. That is totally what I meant. When I finished and cleaned up our area, which only took about 7 trips out to the car while holding Baby Ham, I avoided being surrounded by video games by buying these B.T.-sized aviators:
Super cute, right? A totally productive avoidance of Game Stop.
When Ryan was done picking out things to put in his XBOX, we sucked it up and went to Wal-Mart, figuring it would be nice for B.T. to be absorbed in something for the duration of the car ride. That way, we wouldn’t have to listen to his faux pee-pee requests.
That is the Transformers helicopter from heav’n above. All we heard for the rest of the trip was vigorous transforming going on in the backseat. Totally worth every penny of the $11 and 20 minutes we spent getting it.
When we finally rolled up to Boise, it was seriously nearly 2pm and everyone was too hungry to discover things. So we decided to have lunch before the Discovery Center. But it was sometime after I ingested half of my fish and chips that we realized it was so late that by the time we got to the Discovery Center we’d be paying for like 30 or 40 minutes of play. Plus, since we had done things backwards, we didn’t have the right directions and weren’t sure of how to get there, so it was possible we’d have trouble finding it. And it was almost time to feed Baby Ham again. So.
We put our Livin’-on-the-Edge underpants back on (similar to Livin’-on-a-Prayer underpants, but totally not the same) and let the Discovery Center go. Instead, we opted to stay where we were and cruise the mall for a little while before heading back to the Land of the Beavers. (Get your mind out of the gutter! Beavers are Oregon’s state animal. At least, that’s what she said. HAHAHAHA!!!! Thank you.)
This is about the time the mom guilt set in. B.T. didn’t know that it all went wrong, of course. Being only 2, we told him we were going on a “special trip,” so we could’ve taken him to the gas station and acted excited about it and he would’ve been on board. But the Discovery Center is like…educational. Which brings up the question: Does a good mom abandon educational activities to walk around a mall?
It’s not like there’s nothing to learn at the mall. Living in the middle of nowhere for so long, I actually re-learned a few forgotton truths:
1. There are stores that actually exist that sell glasses that say “party rock.” These glasses have absolutely zero function but presumably look cool enough that the executives of Spenser’s Gifts put their heads together and decided that what basically amounts to a plastic font blocking your vision was going to make them loads of sweet cash.
Here’s photographic evidence of their existence, found here:
2. Some people don’t bathe their children. They also act surprised when they give these children 20 ounce open containers of Orange Julius and it ends up all over their legs.
3. It’s possible to buy the same pair of Tom’s shoes in three different stores in a 100-foot stretch.
4. The Boise pervs (we hear reports of sex crimes at least 3 times a week on Boise news) lurk at the mall. And they have huge bellies with ill-fitting shirts that look like a woman at that point in the pregnancy where nothing fits anymore. They comment to every female who walks past their Perv Bench. They are also drinking something from an unmarked styrofoam cup.
It’s possible I’m being too hard on myself, though. We didn’t make it to the Discovery Center or to Target, but we did have an incredible lunch, Starbucks, soft pretzels (a food of which I am a raging fan), and I think B.T. thought the whole point of the trip was this:
That’s B.T. giving me a little wave on the escalator, hands down the highlight of his day. He asked repeatedly to ride the escalators, and Ryan was great about taking him up and down while I ogled home furnishings and pricey underpants. I was like the dude on the Perv Bench, except for Pottery Barn. The escalators made such a big impact on him that at the gym this morning, walking down the stairs to drop him off at daycare, and he pointed out that “Stairs no moving. Only at mall.”
So after a fun day where almost nothing went according to plan, I put a few Rules of Allen Family Traveling in my brain pockets for next time:
1. Leave the house earlier.
2. Plan fewer things. Like, 2 things max, including getting everyone fed.
3. Expect everything to take much, much longer than you’d prefer. Plan for fake potty trips, stopping to inspect every single piece of trash on the ground, impromptu toy runs, and lots of time to ride the escalators.
4. If you don’t make it Target, relax and have an iced coffee. There’s always next time.
Oh, and I also learned that if you have a digital camera in the car, you don’t have to contort your body into unnatural positions to check on your baby. Just pretend your arm is a tripod/crane…