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Struck out Swinging

April 30th, 2010

Today was not one of my more triumphant days as a mother.   Bitterly magnifying the defeat is the fact that it should have been a day when I was a Hero.   But sometimes even the best player strikes out, right??

I got tickets to take the boys to “A Day Out With Thomas” at our local city railroad museum.   He was only in town for a few days, and I jumped at buying the tickets when they went on sale.   Kenny is starting to  outgrow Thomas a little, but Cooper is a fanatic, and I thought that it would be the perfect Last Hurrah before baby #3 comes our way.  

We even started the day off great.   Casey stayed home for a bit this morning and we went for a walk to the corner coffee shop for croissants and bagels.   We sat by the docks and fed the ducks our crumbs, then headed home to get ready to meet Thomas.   But the crankiness set in even before we got in the car.   Cooper didn’t get enough sleep the night before and by our 10 am departure time, he was whining that he was hungry, and of course pooped on our way out the door.   At least, that’s what I thought I smelled.   After hurriedly changing his diaper as he stood in the doorway, I realized that it wasn’t his own poop I smelled,  but the Dudley poop that was all over the bottoms, and tops, of his shoes.   Ugh.   I was not able to mask my disgust as I yanked them off and threw them out the back door.   He was a little mollified and his whining ceased, at least for a few minutes.

As we walked into the museum, we got an immediate glimpse of Thomas before he left with a string of coaches.   “Thomas!!” squealed Cooper, and a huge grin broke out on his face.   “Hey, that’s not Annie and Clarabel!” shouted Kenny, and indeed, he was right.   Instead of the sleek wooden coaches we expected, he was tugging, in fact, dingy old retired MARC commuter trains.   Hm.   I thought about the extra dough I’d shelled out to ensure a ride on the train…

We walked into chaos, crowds of preschoolers and toddlers vying  for glimpses of displays and exhibits.   The lines were deep for the promised face painting and balloon animals.   We stood in line for nearly 20 minutes hoping for a character balloon, Cooper squirming and trying to get out of the stroller, when I gently asked Kenny if it was ok if we moved on to something else instead.   He was a great sport, as I know that he wanted some sort of souvenir from the day.   As we walked around it became apparent that though the event planners had organized activities both for Kenny and Cooper’s age groups, none of it was close to each other.   There were even moonbounces for both sizes of kids (and rigid signs and attendants to enforce them), but they were far enough apart that I couldn’t let Kenny get in one and go with Cooper to the other because I couldn’t see them both.   We settled for the concession stand and then sat in some seats to watch the end of a magic show for a few minutes before the train we were   booked on left.  

By the time we got on the train (even dingier inside than out), Cooper had had enough and was ready for a nap.   Kenny was excited, though and perked up and watched in rapture as we pulled out of the station.   The ride was 20 minutes.   10 minutes each way through a string of industrial buildings and housing projects.   I’m totally serious.   Kenny looked out the window and kept asking, “What are we passing?”     I wasn’t sure how to explain, but I couldn’t have anyway, because at that point Cooper started to wail.   Kenny and I tried to keep up a fun conversation, but it was tough.

When we pulled back into the station, I hesitantly told Kenny that we needed to leave soon.   He looked sorely disappointed, as was I.   I was mad at myself for not leaving Cooper with a babysitter.       Actually, Cooper would have had a great time if it was all about him; there were plently of things for his level that would have ensured a fum and memorable experience.   And Kenny would have had a fantastic time, if I’d been able to pay more attention to him and stand in lines with him and talk excitedly about all of it with him.   As it was, we were all frustrated as we walked back to the car.   Cooper fell asleep 9 seconds after being strapped in.   Kenny chatted with his gramma on my cell phone all the way home, talking about everything except Thomas.

Needless to say, the afternoon got rougher from there.   Kenny was tired and disappointed, Cooper was tired and needing to be entertained, and I was tired and in need of some rest.   For some reason, I was determined not to give into TV, though we would have been better off if I had.   Instead, Kenny asked if we could do an art project together, and I said yes, knowing that it would be hard to fend Cooper off the art supplies.   More frustration.   More tears.   From all of us.

Kenny had t-ball practice tonight after dinner and by the time he and Casey got home, he was a veritable puddle.   Casey was exhausted from a week of post-surgery travel.   I snuck downstairs and ate a giant piece of chocolate cake, standing in the kitchen, wishing for a glass of wine instead.   Oh, the agony of defeat.


  1. Christy says

    I’m so sorry you had a bad day!! I am glad for the Thomas tip though…I had been contemplating buying tickets, but I don’t think I will now. My boys are similar in ages to Kenny and Cooper, and I think we would run into a lot of the same issues!

    I hope tomorrow is a better day, and that you have a good weekend!!

    April 30th, 2010 | #

  2. Ruth says

    I was wondering if the Day Out With Thomas thing was worth us traveling an hour away to attend. After reading this, I’m thinking not really. Anyway, it seems the moment has passed for my little one. I am now knee deep in all things Star Wars!

    April 30th, 2010 | #

  3. Amy says

    What a crazy day! Sounds so similar to my life many days with my boys. You are such talented writer, Kristjana. I so enjoy reading each post and missed your words when you were on your recent writing break. What a gift to all of your children to have such a beautiful record of their childhood! Good luck in the last days of your pregnancy!

    May 1st, 2010 | #

  4. SaraC says

    I think it depends on what area you are in. We took my 3 year old two weeks ago when Thomas was in Birmingham and had a blast. Granted, we only have one child-but the majority of the activities were in one close area, with only the petting zoo seperate. I assume each train museum in each state has different activities and such, but the one there was very organized and a lot of fun!

    May 1st, 2010 | #

  5. cen says

    We did the Thomas event at Strasburg Railroad 5 years ago with our oldest son. Last year we took our youngest (and big brother to B&O). Although both boys had fun, make the trip to PA next time. You really won’t regret it. Rolling through the fields and seeing Amish farmers is so much better than cruising through the worst parts of Baltimore (our train had a police motorcycle escort). We are already booked for fall at Strasburg. Next time you’ll be able to take 3 boys!

    May 11th, 2010 | #

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