[Parentsgroup-list] More Free Things to Do With kids

Anna Shusterman anna.shusterman at gmail.com
Tue Jan 3 08:44:59 EST 2006

Thanks so much for sharing this. It all sounds so strangely familiar....

On 1/2/06, Hoyte <hoyte at fas.harvard.edu> wrote:
> On Jan 2, 2006, at 4:47 PM, Ophelia Navarro wrote:
> > Don't forget to check out the free (and not free) events listed on
> > this website.  It's got the most comprehensive list of activities,
> > play spaces, events etc etc..
> >
> > www.bostoncentral.com   See "events calendar"
> >
> BTW, I also like gocitykids.com
> You can see the current day's events with no membership fee or the
> whole calendar with the yearly fee.  Many of the events are the same as
> bostoncentral, but there are some additional ones as well.
> Speaking of free and not fee events, I'm going to share today's journal
> entry from a series that I like to call "Dark Parenting Moments"
> January 2nd, 2006 --11 a.m.
> There is no day care so I give up on getting any work done today and I
> decide to take my two year old son to the Aquarium for a "fun" and
> "educational" toddler-mommy day.  Feeling ambitious and environmentally
> pious, I also decide that rather than driving, we should take public
> transportation. Besides, I know how train-obsessed Sterling is.  He
> generally loves the train.
> So I load up my backpack with:
> a) diapers and changing pad
> b) crackers, cookies and cereal bars
> c) applesauce, a banana and cheese sticks
> d) a juice box and sippy cup of water
> e) a couple of board books in case Sterling is bored
> f) a couple of small toys in case he gets bored with the board books
> g) Elmo just in case
> h) a change of clothing for Sterling in case of any typical toddler
> accidents (potty, puking, spilling etc)
> i) at the last minute, I ditch my own book & magazine since the
> backpack now weighs more than the baby.  This is a big deal to me since
> I never go anywhere without at least one thing to read of my own.
> Though already exhausted from the bag-packing, I bundle up both
> Sterling and me with various hats, coats, mittens, scarfs, boots,
> gloves, blankies etc.  Any of you who have tried getting out of the
> house with uncooperative toddler probably realize that the whole
> routine takes a LONG time and includes cajoling, struggling, giggles,
> running in circles, tears (from both child and parent) and is
> guaranteed to leave the mom sweaty and frustrated
> We get in the car and drive 20 minutes to the closest subway station.
> The entire ride, Sterling shouts "No want to ride in train.  I want to
> ride in a shopping cart."  I convince him that riding the train will be
> well worth it since we are going to see some big fish.  He grudgingly
> accepts my reasoning but adds "Train then Fish then Shopping Cart."
> So to get the the Aquarium from Alewife station requires riding three
> separate subway lines.  I've planned the trip such that we will change
> lines at stations which are handicapped accessible so that there will
> be elevators for the stroller (in which is piled a toddler, a heavy
> backpack, and a basket filled with sweaty hats/coats/sweaters etc.  I
> am stripping layers as we go).  However, at two of these stations, the
> elevators require hiking what seems like miles out of the way to switch
> lines and my son behaves like he is being tortured as we board each new
> train.
> The only thing that stops a total meltdown is my (forced at this point)
> cheerful silliness and the promises of the big Fish --a sort of pot of
> gold at the end of the subway line.  Finally however, he is so
> miserable that we get off the train two stops early.  There is no
> elevator at that stop, so everything comes out of the stroller and back
> onto our backs and bodies.  I'm six months pregnant and practically
> waddling, nevertheless, I carry my backpack and the 17 pound stroller
> up the stairs while coaxing a grizzling toddler every single painful
> step of the way.
> Nevertheless, once outside, our moods brighten.  Despite the drizzling
> skies and puddles.  And though it is still a long walk to the Aquarium
> since we got off the subway early, I am pleased to say that Sterling
> had a great time there.  We spent several hours, stopping at every tank
> and window to look at the "big Fish" and turtles etc.  The man in
> flippers and a wetsuit feeding the fish was a big hit.
> And despite my general exhaustion, I kept reminding myself that the day
> was not about me but about him.  So every time that he wanted to stop,
> we stopped.  Every time, he wanted to go, we moved on.  He rode the
> stroller when he wanted and walked, marched, dawdled when he wanted.
> We returned to the penguins multiple times where we had endless
> repetitive toddler conversations about how they were like duckies but
> not actually duckies and how funny it was that they quacked and swam.
> We ate cookies, crackers and more junk food than you could possibly
> imagine.  Sterling kept chortling "Me happy.  Mommy happy."  All good.
> Finally, at the end of the day, we boarded the subway home.  This time,
> we rode all three lines since Sterling was asleep and could not
> protest.  The elevators were still a pain and smelly, but I was feeling
> generally quite pleased with myself.  The day only cost:
> Parking: $5.00
> Subway fare: $2.50
> Aquarium admission: $15.95 (ouch)
> Assorted junk that we don't need from the giftshop: $25.00
> McDonalds (yuck): $10.00
> My sanity: priceless
> On the subway ride back to the car, I had nothing to read, but I
> consoled myself by admiring my new identity as the environmentally
> well-behaved super-mommy.  I deliberately ignored the nagging little
> voice inside that smarmily pointed out that for a few dollars more and
> a couple hours LESS traveling time, I could have driven all the way
> into the city in about 35 minutes and parked in the Aquarium lot.  We
> may have even come out ahead that way by eating lunch at home instead
> of McDonalds.  Or for no money at all, we could have stayed home,
> watched Barney and possibly been just as happy.  Or gone to Trader
> Joe's supermarket and ridden in a shopping cart/gotten a balloon and
> been happier (while getting my grocery shopping done).
> No, I was a "good-mom" today and quite pleased with myself.  Around six
> pm, we got back to the car, and I lifted my sleeping son into his car
> seat.  He was conked out and I was even predicting that the poor thing
> was so tuckered out, he might just sleep all the way home and through
> the night.  He looked so angelic, smiling and still happily clutching
> the star-fish magnet that I bought him at the gift-shop.   "Kirsten,
> you did well!" I thought to myself.
> As I buckled him in, his eyes popped wide open and clear as a bell,
> Sterling said to me, "Shopping cart now, Mommy?"  It is now 9pm, we
> have been home for a couple of hours, and he is still awake....
> I am sure there must be a moral to the story --somewhere in there,
> there must be.  But at this point, I'm pretty sure that I'd prefer not
> to hear it.
> Happy New Year everyone!
> Kirsten
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