7 Easy Tips for Taking Your Toddler to the Museum

Discovery Museum-Audrey

Taking your children out to the museum can be a stressful and expensive endeavor.  You have to get them all packed up and loaded into the car, figure out how to get to the place and park, wait in a line or seven, fork over untold amounts of hard-earned cash, keep the little monsters from setting the place on fire, try not to murder the other parents, change diapers in unfamiliar locations, stuff food down their gullet, and get back home without wanting to pluck out your own toenails.

It all makes you wonder why us parents even bother at all.

Well, I’m happy to say that with a little planning and forethought, you too can take your little rapscallions to the museum with your toenails in tact.  So, without further ado, here are my 7 time-tested tips to museum success.

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Daddy-Daughter Book Review: Mister Seahorse

Mister Seahorse Cover

I spend a lot of time reading to my daughter.  It’s one of our favorite pastimes.  But despite the dozens of books we have on hand at any given moment, Audrey has her favorites.  And those favorites, well, she makes me read them over, and over…

And over again.

It can get to be tiresome.  And as a result, I have learned to be a bit critical with their content, ranking them on the following dad-centric criteria:

  1.    How fun is it to read?
  2.    What is the quality of the artwork?
  3.    How high is the reading level?

If a book scores highly in all three, I’m much more likely to indulge Audrey’s book reading whims and drive a particular book into the ground.  So with that in mind, let’s dive into Eric Carle’s “Mister Seahorse” and see what we find.

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Lessons for a Father and Husband on a Terrible Day in Boston

Painting-Audrey

It began with a 6 a.m. phone call.

They found the bombers.  One’s dead.  The other’s on the loose.  

Don’t leave the house.

Waltham, my home of five years, was in lockdown.  Soon all of Boston would be too, and every eye in the nation was glued to the manhunt for the second Boston Marathon bomber taking place just outside my door.

As you might expect, the news hit close to home, but for reasons beyond the lockdown.  The shootout that claimed one of the bombers’ lives took place right around the corner from where my wife and I used to live.  The apartment building where the police discovered the surviving bomber’s blood after he made his escape was just across the street from where my best friend used to live.  When the bombs went off at the marathon earlier that week, my daughter and I were at Watertown’s Arsenal Mall–now the staging area for the manhunt and visible on every American’s TV screen.  And every other location the news chose to film that day, I knew intimately.  For the first time in my adult life the biggest breaking news story in the entire world was unfolding in my back yard.

People learn a lot about themselves in situations of life and death.  They discover how they’d act when the things that matter become the only things that matter.  And what to do differently should the unthinkable befall them again.

Well, I learned a great deal about myself that day too.  I’m ashamed to say I wasn’t the father and husband I could have been.  I wasn’t attentive enough and I wasn’t protective enough.  But I know what to do differently next time.  I know what I did wrong.

And I know I’ll never allow it to happen again.

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Springtime, The Mayor & Me: A Trip to Mount Auburn Cemetery

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Monday started off wonderfully in the Boston area.  The Red Sox were playing their annual morning game, the marathon was starting up with no sign of imminent danger, and the weather had finally shaken off its prolonged winter chill for bright sunshine and blue skies.  A festive atmosphere was evident from the very beginning that day and there were plenty of options in the city for entertaining my 2-year-old Audrey.  So what did I do?

I took her to a cemetery.

Mount Auburn Cemetery to be exact.  Merely calling it a cemetery is not doing it justice, however.  In addition to housing the remains of the deceased–many of which are famous, including Isabella Stewart Gardner, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mary Baker Eddy, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow–the sprawling site is also a National Historic Landmark and botanical garden.  Upon entering the nearly 200-year-old cemetery, all sights and sounds typically associated with the big city quickly melt away, replaced by the soft rustle of wind through the trees and the cries of birds that live amongst them.  This peaceful serenity makes it an ideal place to put the stresses of modern day life behind and simply wander through its scenic beauty.

That was my plan at least.  Audrey, however, had different aspirations.

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Strange Exchanges with Audrey: Snacking with Mr. Golden Sun

Audrey Toys

After Monday’s events here in Boston, I think we could all use a laugh.  I know I could.  Thankfully my daughter Audrey has been spouting a lot of nonsense lately.  Bizarre stuff that could only spring forth from the mind of a 2-year-old.

You may recall a recent post about the song “Mr. Golden Sun” and Audrey’s need to hug him.  Well, this time…

He has snacks.

AUDREY:  (in a deadly serious whisper) “You hear that?”

ME:  “What?”

AUDREY:  “You hear that noise?”

ME:  “What noise?”

AUDREY:  “Mr. Sun.”

ME:  “Mr. Sun is making a noise?”

AUDREY:  “Snacks.”

ME:  “Snacks?”

AUDREY:  “Snacks.”

ME:  “Mr. Sun is making noise with snacks?”

AUDREY:  “Yeah.  Let’s go find him.”

And we tried.

After all, he did have snacks.