Saturday, April 03, 2010

turns out that two years old isn't too young for the Smithsonian!

Griffin and I recently spent six days in the Washington, DC, area, where he got to do all sorts of exciting things like see dinosaur skeletons, have a great-aunt give him presents, ride trains, read books with his uncle, and hang out with a greyhound. I now know that it is exhausting to travel by myself with a toddler (especially when a snowstorm causes flight cancellations and you arrive at 9:30 pm without a suitcase!) and that I really, really don't care for dog hair on my underwear and that a house shared by five bachelors equals a bathtub that makes said toddler exclaim "yucky!"

(Fortunately, Griffin doesn't care about that sort of thing. Read him books--as his Tonton Matt is doing above--and he's happy. Here he's enjoying his favorite new book, Mo Willems' Knuffle Bunny.)

Or give him things to climb on; he loves that too. Here he is atop a very interesting rock in Falls Church, VA.

Or take him to the Potomac River in Alexandria, let him watch the boats bobbing up and down, give him bread to feed the ducks, and then refuse to let him go swimming despite his howls!

On the other hand, I also now realize that you're never too young for the Smithsonian museums, and since they don't charge admission, you don't feel like you have to drag a kid around with you for hours to get your money's worth. I took Griffin to three museums, and he found things to stare at in wonder in all three of them.

His favorite was probably the Museum of Natural History--he shrieked and exclaimed "dinosaure squelette!" (skeleton) when we entered the prehistory exhibit--but he also really enjoyed the Museum of African Art, which was full of colors and textures and sculptures and paintings. They even had one room where kids were encouraged to touch the art!

(And where their moms are allowed to wear it!)

The whole trip was also a good vocabulary boost for both of us. Griffin learned lots of new words in French and I was able to spend hours at a time talking about something other than food, diapers, or discipline! And especially in the African Art Museum, he could see that the world is a lot bigger than our little city in Colorado.

So, in conclusion, take your little kids to Washington. Just don't stay at my brother's house.


  1. Hey! I am behind on my all my readings! Looks like you were in my neck of the woods!! Next time you come---let me know and we can hook up!! It would have been fun!

  2. You know, it didn't even occur to me to announce on my blog that I'd be in DC and see if any like-minded readers/bloggers might be available to meet up! Next time, I promise.

    The only other trip we're envisioning in the next few months is to my parents' house in Green Bay, Wisconsin for the fourth of July, and I kind of doubt I have any readers there. (Not even my mother reads this blog!)

    We've been invited to a wedding in Beirut/Byblos in May, which I would love to attend--they're even sponsoring a three-day guided tour for wedding guests. And people still speak French in Lebanon! I'd love to go but it's just not going to work out this time.

    But my hours at work are being cut in the fall, which will leave me with more free time, so I'm toying with the idea of suggesting to my hubby that we take Griffin to Montreal and Quebec City!

  3. OMG. I think two is a great age to take kids to museums, zoos, aquariums, etc. Dani went to Boston when she was 18 months, and to DC when she was 2 years old, plus most zoo/aquarium within a 5-hour radius of us. You take them when they're two and free (or, like in DC, when they're perpetually free), and they get so much out of it. Then you have to take them again when they're 3, and their minds have somehow done quantum leaps. And then, I'm assuming, again when they're 4 and are even more brilliant, and then... Ok, sorry. You get the point. Big fan of field trips. :)

  4. Ella, some day I would love for Griffin and Dani to go on a field trip together! (Us too, of course.)