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Sunday, February 01, 2009

I prefer the real world

Today was one of those lazy weekend days when we wondered what we should do with our precious family time. Father in Chief tossed around some ideas – Coyote Point, the Children’s Discovery Museum, the Academy of Sciences. He figured today was a good day to check out one of those usually-too-crowded museums because most people (he hoped) would be home getting ready for their Super Bowl Party.

But I hate kid museums.

Call me a curmudgeon or a bad parent. But I hate them for all the same reasons I hate taking my kid to the playground. They are crowded. And they are pretty much boring for parents. Or at least I find them incredibly boring. Whenever the weather is nice and it’s light outside, I always have the babysitter take the kids to the park. At least they get to go. I’m pretty sure there is no rule that says I have to take them, right? As for museums, I avoid them too – unless I’m going to be meeting up with one of my favorite friends. Then I’ll suffer through it.

As we pondered the list of kid-approved venues, I figured that they’re had to be a better place for us to spend an hour or two without crowds, without germ-infested buttons to push, without kids fighting over the buckets and shovels in the sandbox. I wanted to go somewhere that the kids could still learn about life without it being a place specifically designed for learning about life. We decided to take the kids to the bike path near Oracle.

R rode his bike. C finally figured out how to pedal his tricycle. We stopped at nearly all of those exercise pit-stops, which are part of one of those ancient exercise circuits made of wood. We did push-ups. They slid down the one that was supposed to be for inverted sit-ups. We saw birds. We saw cyclists. We saw rollerbladers. We saw flowers, clouds, and talked about brackish water. We saw airplanes, leaves, stones, and sticks. C and I even marveled at a spotless ladybug for several minutes.

It was great. There was fresh air, no hefty admission fee, no stressful search for a parking spot. There was no line for the bathroom or the drinking fountain. There was no one demanding anything from the snack bar. It was just our family enjoying each other’s company at our own pace out in the real world.

Sure, we didn’t learn about gravity or wind in any kid-designed experiment. But we saw gravity in action as we watched the kids hurl sticks out to the marshy water and as stones fell to the ground. We learned about the rules of the road as we corralled the kids to the right side of the path to lets others pass around us. We learned about the food chain as we talked about the birds swooping down to the water as they scooped up their lunch.

It was the best.


  1. This is so true! The real learning comes in small, natural ways. I love the ladybug story and I could picture you all enjoying your time at Oracle. I love that walking area. Wish we could have been there too. Love the photo....AWESOME!!! Grammy Peg and Wayne.

  2. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! You articulated my thoughts perfectly. Can I just say how much better I feel knowing I'm not the ONLY mom who feels this way?