WARNING: For readers who say “in line” as opposed to “on line,” this post is going to drive you crazy. I think it’s a geographical thing!
Remember how Mike was away all last week? Well, Friday night he came home and realized that furniture was being delivered to our summer house and that he would have to go out there for the day to receive it. I mean, he probably already knew that because he is an organized person but it was brand new news to me. I hadn’t realized that at the end of a long week with the kids on my own, I would also be entertaining them by myself on a Saturday.
What was I going to do with them????
I know, I know. Stay home and just relax for the day. But staying home meant they would probably be spending lots of time watching TV or playing on their iPads and then I would feel guilty about it. And even if I had a hard “no screen time” in place, they’d still be spending the majority of the time begging me to just let them watch for a little, pleeeeeease???????? When we all know “a little” mean all day.
And let’s say they weren’t begging me and were instead, perfectly content to play games and do crafts or whatever, then I would probably have to participate in such endeavors and force myself to STAY AWAKE. That, my friends, is the hardest task of all.
Clearly, I could not just find something for them to do. I had to come up with somewhere to go.
The first option that popped in mind was an exhibit at the New Museum that a friend of mine had told me about. It involved lights and her daughter liked it. That was all I knew but it sounded PERFECT.
Let’s do that, I thought innocently.
I looked it up online and found an article with lots of pictures where it did look pretty cool. It was called the Pixel Forest and had lots of lights that changed colors dangling from the ceiling. “Instagram-worthy!” the article declared.
I showed Mazzy and Harlow the pictures. “Would you guys like to go here?”
“YES!!!!” they replied with enthusiasm.
Then I clicked on the link to the museum to make sure it was still open.
UH-OH. It said that this was the last weekend and pre-sale tickets were all sold out. They took walk-ins but they were expecting long lines. I called the number.
“Hi, there. How long are the lines currently to get into the museum?”
“About an hour.”
“Do you expect the line to die down?”
“No. It will only get longer.”
Now. A smart mom would have made a different plan. A smart mom would have said, “This is a big city! There must be a myriad of things you can do with two kids on a Saturday afternoon! No need to wait for an hour to do the one thing that everyone else wants to do.”
But I am not a smart mom. I was a mom who had seen the pics of the exhibit, heard how popular it was, knew it was closing and now I REALLY REALLY wanted to go. What if I just prepped Mazzy and Harlow for the line and then instead of running over there impulsively, spent some time making sure we were prepared with things to do while we waited? Would that be something a smart mom would do???
I called the kids over.
“Mazzy, Harlow. Let’s discuss something. Do you want to go to the exhibit?”
“Me too. But— there is a very long line. It’s at least an hour.”
“How about we gather together some games and books and just be prepared to spend a portion of the day on line?”
They looked at me hesitantly.
“We can even go to the corner market and you can each pick out a snack of your choice!”
“Anything we want….?” asked Mazzy who clearly saw an opportunity opening.
“Anything you want.”
“OKAY!” they agreed.
Mazzy put Uno in my bag. Harlow threw in a travel-sized Etch-a-sketch. I grabbed the first Harry Potter book which we have just started reading together. I filled their water bottles and packed healthy snacks. I also took Harlow’s iPad.
“What about my iPad?” Mazzy asked. (FYI, Harlow’s iPad is actually my iPad and Mazzy’s is actually Mike’s iPad but those distinctions seem to be a thing of the past.)
“I think if the two of us really want to play Uno together and read Harry Potter, than we are going to have give Harlow something else to do. Otherwise, she is not going to make it.”
I bundled everyone up, put Harlow in the stroller so she had somewhere to sit (and hopefully nap), threw extra hats and gloves under the stroller in case they got cold and we headed out.
We stopped at the market and the girls scoped out the snack options, heading straight to candy section, a section a don’t usually allow them to venture into. They both opted for Swedish Fish.
“Guys. Why don’t you each get something different and then share?”
“Good idea, Mom!” Mazzy selected Oreo Cookies, which was a great compliment to Swedish Fish, if I do say so myself.
We walked to the museum, which took about fifteen minutes. That’s when Mazzy saw the line. The picture below does not do it justice.
“No!!! Mom!!! Let’s turn around! We can’t wait here!!!”
She was right. The line stretched from the front of the museum, down the block, around the corner, straight down that block and then snaked around that corner as well, ending midway through that block. It was one of those lines where you keep going and going and halfway through, you’re like, is this line really still going??? but you keep following it, just because you are curious as to how long a line can possibly go.
It was DAUNTING, to say the least. But we were here and we were prepared, right?
“Mazzy, I know it’s long, but I told you it would be long. Let’s just see how quickly it moves. We can always leave.”
Mazzy dragged her feet to the end of the line. A crowd immediately started to form behind her.
“See? We aren’t even at the end anymore!”
The couple behind us, people without kids (because what kind of idiot would actually bring kids to wait on this line?!), looked just as daunted by the line and equally uncertain as to whether they should stay or go. As did each new person that joined behind them.
That’s when Mazzy whipped out Uno from my bag. “Mom? Do you wanna play?”
“Yes!” Then I looked at the miserable couple behind me. “Do you guys wanna play too?”
“ABSOLUTELY,” the couple practically said in unison.
A woman emerged from behind them. “Uhhhh…can I get in on that too?”
“Sure!” Mazzy said, delighted.
I gave Harlow the ipad and pulled the stroller awning up so we would have a surface to play on. Then Mazzy, me, the random couple and the woman behind them all happily played Uno for the next hour, as jealous onlookers wished they had been the people with the good fortune of standing next to the Ultra Prepared Mom in line.
You should have seen everyone’s faces when I pulled out the Oreos and the Swedish Fish! I felt like a hero. Well… a hero who feeds her kids total crap food and lets her four year-old play endlessly on an iPad, but a hero none-the-less!
We had a great time at the museum that day. The exhibit was indeed amazing and made for many Instagram-worthy shots…
But later that day when I asked Mazzy, “What was your favorite part of the exhibit?”
She said without hesitation, “Standing on the line.”
“Me too!” Harlow said. “I got to play on my iPad the whole time!”
Honestly? The line was my favorite part too.