At long last, Will starts his new job today. Over the weekend, he transitioned from stressed, to worried, to excited. I know he’ll be fine and do well. He just needs to realize that. After an hour there, he’ll be great and wonder what the fuss was all about. It’s just one of those things.
All that being said, the name of the game this weekend was “distraction.” Despite the fact that none of us – other than Stella – were feeling 100% healthy, we headed to New Orleans to visit the Insectarium and Aquarium. We hadn’t seen the bug house before, so that was new for all of us. With that came a fair level of concern.
As I’ve mentioned a zillion times, we have to be careful when out and about with Stella. I suppose it’s a sensory processing thing. When she gets overwhelmed/overtired/whatever, a switch in her brain flips and that’s that. You pretty much have to remove her from the situation, stat, and there may be some serious butt-showing. It also takes her awhile to really recover and regroup. Things also seem to stick with her in unique ways (e.g. she still won’t take a damn bath since the drain is obviously going to suck her down….we don’t discuss that there is also a drain in the shower). Honestly, we didn’t know A) how she’d react to the bugs, B) if we would make it through one attraction with everyone’s sanity intact, and C) if trying for 2 major attractions was just going to be greedy. But since we have an Audubon membership, we wouldn’t have to drop a mint on admission fees. And you might as well make the drive and gas $$ worth it, right?
For the most part, the day was amazing! She loved the bugs. She was a model citizen through the entire Insectarium. Not surprising, the butterflies were the best. I was really impressed at their hatchery operation. I’ve been to butterfly domes/habitats before, but I’ve never seen such an impressive display of live cocoons, with butterflies emerging and drying their wings right there on the spot.
After that, we found some random restaurant close by where they had basic and somewhat inexpensive fare. Both kids behaved remarkably well and ate like pigs.
Then we walked a few blocks to the Aquarium. That’s when things fell apart.
For those of you that haven’t ever been, this place gets nuts. It’s almost always crowded, but we hit it at probably the worst possible time: 1:00 on a hot Saturday afternoon in the summer. There was a line a mile long to get in, even for those of us with a membership. We had to carry her in kicking and screaming. I don’t think we managed to stay 30 minutes, and much of that was trying to get people to get the hell out of the way so we could evacuate.
Note: Why oh why won’t people give you the right of way when they see you have a pretty serious situation going on? Some group of about 14 yahoos insisted on cramming into the elevator with us, despite the fact that Stella was in active freak out, making it even more crowded, and causing her even further agitation. As a parent, can’t you look and say “Oh my. Been there, done that. Let’s give that family a bit of space and catch the next elevator?”
It was a bad one. Stella’s a big, loud kid. People were staring. She kicked and screamed the whole way out and to the car.
But I don’t think that ruined the day. Hell, I was overwhelmed with the sheer mountain of humanity crammed in that place. I didn’t want to be in there with that. It’s just not fun. So I certainly can’t blame my somewhat sensitive daughter for not reacting well. It wasn’t enough to taint the day; when you balance it all out, it was still a great experience.
Yesterday the kids went to Oui Oui’s to play and Will and I got to catch up on some housework and just hang out. It was nice.
Now we’re back to the present – Monday morning – full circle and all. When I packed his lunch, I had no idea if he’d have a fridge to store it in or not. At 5:30 this morning, I was looking for a cold pack in our freezer to use in his lunch container. All I could find was a couple of old teething rings. Yep, I used them. I’m still congratulating myself on my resourcefulness. Hopefully Will’s new colleagues don’t see them. About the only thing less manly than pink and green teethers in your lunch would be if it came in a Hello Kitty lunch bag.
(I could so do that tomorrow. JK!)