Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Tale of Motherhood

While I completely enjoyed traveling to Washington DC with the younger children, it was at times a trying experience.  Our hotel was in Vienna, Virginia and our day started with the hotel shuttle delivering us to the train station.  From there we rode into the city and we wouldn't return until the sun was setting that night.  Needless to say when you are shlepping two kids through multiple museums in the rain, which had been coming down all day, things can get kinda tense and Mom can get a wee bit testy.

After running through the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the Air and Space Museum, and the American Indian Museum we were at the footstep of the U.S. Capital.  The sun was beginning to drop in the sky and we watched a motor cade travel down the mall.  Everything seemed perfect and we approached the tidal basin in front of the capital.  My son, who had experienced his first marsh hen hunt the morning we left on vacation, was suddenly transfixed with the mallard population that was happily bobbing in the water.  He pointed them out to me between deep breaths that allowed him to play the flute he had purchased at the last museum.  The wee girl was delighted that there were lots of shallow stone steps to hop up and down.

And so the following dialogue ensued...

"Oh, kids look it is the capital."

"Toot, toot, toot, Mom! Mom! Mom! Look at that duck."

"Isn't it cool that we are finally here?  This is the building where our legislatures meet to discuss laws."

"Toot Mom...get a picture of that duck!"

"Are you looking at the capital son?"

"Toot Toot Toot, We don't have Mallards like this in Georgia.  Take a picture so Dad can see it!"

"That's it, son!  I don't want to hear anymore about the ducks!  I got a picture so that you can show Daddy, now come look at this building we've driven 650 miles to see."

At this point he began to sulk around and no longer tooted as loud on his flute.  I decided to enjoy the quieter boy and we changed our course and headed down the long walk that would return us to the subway station.  It was going to be a long hike and the pied piper had returned to full volume.

About one third of the way there the wee girl experienced a jabbing pain in her right food.  We stopped on the side walk and I removed her sock and shoe, and couldn't discover the source of her discomfort.  So we returned to our trek.  About half way there the sensation returned and I was forced to carry her the remaining way.  At nearly fifty pounds this was an exhausting experience and I was pleased to finally arrive at the top of the escalator that provides access to the train.

Now I need to tell you that my son lives in a very rural part of the country and riding the escalator is one of his biggest joys.  All day long I had told him not to play tricks and I had caught him numerous times, trying to jump steps.

While I was heaving at the top of the steps and massaging my aching and jiggling arm muscle, he scooted down a few steps.  Somehow, without me knowing it, he had decided to ride sitting and suddenly I heard a large bang as my camera hit the landing and he smacked the ground on his rear.  I called out to him and ran down to help him up.  At this point the subway police came running over and informed me, in a not too friendly voice, that I shouldn't allow him to ride in a sitting position, as he could lose a finger.

Since I was unaware that he had been sitting all the way down, I assured her that I realized that this was a danger, and I informed her that he had fallen.  At this point my son, in a very small and shameful voice, admitted that he had not fallen, but rather had been sitting the entire time.  With this realization and the stress of the day, my attention turned fully to my boy.  "You were doing what?  I've told you all day - Don't do anything but ride!"

I truly don't know what happened to the police officer.  I don't know if she decided to step away so that my eyes, which were intently focused on my child's pitiful face, wouldn't bore a hole in her, or if she just had other things to do.

After finally buying our train fare, and climbing aboard we slumped in a seat.   In my more relaxed state I reviewed the day and was not pleased with how I had hurt his feelings in regard to the ducks.  So, I turned to him and quietly said, "I am sorry I snapped at you about the Mallards."

His reply sent me into peals of laughter.

"I'm sorry I got you in trouble with the police."

For the next twenty minutes the rhythm of the train relaxed our bodies.  We ended the night at an Indian Restaurant with my sister, and the next day we headed back into the city.

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