Yesterday was one of those great days that makes you feel that all is right with the world, or at least, that it could be if you just had more days like that one.
We woke up early, and decided to use the morning to take M to the local Natural History museum. None of us had ever been there, and it was much cooler than we'd expected. M had three clear favorite parts -- first was an exhibit called (I am not joking) Terror of the South! It was about two dinosaurs: a cuddly reproduction of some ginormous vegetarian named Lunch, and the actual skeleton of his buddy, "predator-whose-name-I-cannot-remember-but-who's-definitely-not- a-tyrannosaurus-rex." M just loved Lunch, and spent several minutes hugging its leg and saying "aww, cute di-saur!" At which point, the multimedia portion of the exhibit fired up, to explain how Lunch got its name. We hustled M out of there in a hurry, before she could be scarred for life, but of course I had to stay back and watch. Turns out? Dinosaur hunts apparently happened veeeerrry slllloooowwwly. I could only stand about 30 seconds of watching one computer-animated dinosaur lumbering halfheartedly after the other before I died of boredom.
M's second favorite part was this incredibly bizarre exhibit with about 8 mannequins of various sizes, genders and ages standing around watching a video screen of what seemed to be a dialogue starring the mannequins (talking, I think, about ways to lessen their impact on the environment). One of the "people" was a girl around 8 years old, who was for some reason holding a butterfly and a pair of scissors. Guess she was there as a demonstration of how not to care for wildlife.
In any event, M loved that girl. She stood there for a good ten minutes, chatting with the mannequin in her bizarre made-up toddler language, as if the mannequin were real and would be responding. She's a weird one, my kid.
Far and away M's favorite part of the museum, though, was the escalators. I guess M hasn't really encountered these before, and she was utterly fascinated. She made her daddy take her up and down each and every escalator in the place, as I followed behind, cringing and sweating and reminding the Boy that Crocs are known to get caught in escalators and crush poor, innocent toddler feet. Her fascination with the escalators pretty much ensures that we're never visiting the museum without the Boy, because there's no way I'm taking her on those death machines.
(I'm not sure, but I suspect I may be little overprotective of M at times.)
So, you'd think that the fun museum trip would be enough cool stuff fore one day. But wait! There's more! While M was napping, I got to indulge in my favorite not-at-all-guilty pleasure, a trip to the library. As per usual when I'm there, I forget that the library will not run out of books anytime son, and I tear through the place loading books into my arms until I physically cannot carry any more. The limit of my arm capacity is usually about 8 books, which is, coincidentally, almost exactly how man books I can actually manage to read in three weeks.
Then back home, where M had just woken up, and it was time fore more family fun! We decided to indulge out nosy and delusional sides by attending the local Parade of Homes (actual title: Parade of Homes You Can't Afford). If you're not familiar with the concept, every year, the local builder's association has a showcase where the members gussy up the nicest homes in they new subdivisions, and the public is invited to ogle. This year, we decided to start our drooling in an upscale sub on the edge of town. It has huge homes with three-car garages, bathrooms for pretty much every other room in the house (really -- one house we visited had three bathrooms, just downstairs! Apparently, the builder does not think that one should ever have to cross more than one room to locate an opportunity to pee), and state-of-the-art kitchens.
Surprisingly, M loved this faux-house hunting. She learned quickly that the upstairs rooms in all of the homes were large, empty, and had nice, cushy carpet that was perfect for practicing her long-jump skills. She'd enter the house, and beeline for the stairs, calling "upstairs! Come on, Mama!" Once there, she'd careen around the bedrooms until she found the one most suited to her needs, then she'd demand that I count her hops. It made me (1) want to buy a bigger house, and (2) realize that I don't so much need a bigger house as much as I need to clean up the house I do have, so as to clear up carpet space on which M can hop.
Anyway, the homes we saw were lovely, and there was at least one that made us consider an upgrade (let's see -- if I go back to work for a big firm, and we convince the neighbor girl to drop out of high school and watch M full-time for $8 an hour, there's a chance we could make the mortgage payments!). But the really amazing part of the afternoon was realizing that, as nice as these homes are, we're actually happy in our own home. Somehow, we managed to luck into the perfect home for us in a neighborhood that's better than I could ever have imagined finding. It's a pretty amazing feeling when you realize that there's so much in your life that is good enough that you wouldn't seriously consider changing it, even if you could.
See? What'd I tell you? Perfect.