Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day At The Museum

As a parent, there are times where you impress even yourself with your skillful parenting abilities.  Yes, there are times, where things you plan and do go so overwhelming well with your children, that you can't help but feel like someone should make a documentary out of your parenting prowess to help other less-er parents learn their way.

This, however, is not one of those times.

So on Spring Break, we decided that I would take the children to the Museum on Thursday while the Wife went out with her friends to a Corrination Street show at the Theater.  Now, normally taking 5 children to a museum is not something to be considered relaxing after a long hard day of sitting on your butt typing on a computer all day, however, in contrast of going to watch some British Actors/Actresses with bad teeth go on and on about their compelling stories of going to the Rovers Return Inn and having a pint with their tosser friends, well, the museum seemed like a good idea.

Yet, I trundled off undeterred thinking I was getting the better deal here.  A fun filled evening with my 5 children at the museum sounded good... until we got there...

... then all I could hear were the words of Steinbeck's novel "Of Mice and Men" ringing in my head "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men"... and then the mice get run over by a huge grain thresher... I could not hear the thresher coming yet... but oh it was coming...
...waiting outside in the rain for 45 minutes...
As we begun our journey to the museum, the children in the back of the van began inquiring as to which museum we would be visiting.  "The Museum of Natural History" I replied... thinking foolishly that this was a good idea.  I'm not sure about you, but just the title of that museum sounds boring... I never really noticed it until the children started revolting in the back of the van.  All I heard were cries of shock and horror - as if some great injustice has been inflicted upon my children.  "The museum of NATURE?!", they wailed, "Mom said you would take us to the CHILDREN's Museum!  The FUN one!"

"Well, it's easy for MOM to say that, she isn't here.  Besides, to get  to the children's museum would take way to long because we would have to get through downtown during rush hour, and it's already after 4pm", I stated.
He looks happy, but don't ask him to leave this display...

... logic falls on deaf ears when passion is involved.  Needless to say, the next 15 minutes in the van were filled with protests and complaints... and all I'm thinking is "you luck little buggers, when I was growing up in Northern Manitoba in a small mining town called Flin Flon, the ONLY museum we had was the museum of MINING.  That's right, we could go and look at rocks.  And not even NICE rocks.  There was like 1 core of Iron, and a lump of slag, all in a single room which smelled of alachol and cigarettes."

Flin Flon Station Museum (from:  http://www.cityofflinflon.ca/attractions.html )The Flin Flon Station Museum is housed in the former Canadian National Railway Station. It exhibits items from the pioneering period as well as tools and minerals belonging to Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting. It provides an overview of Flin Flon to visitors interested in the unique history. Located at the Tourist Bureau Park on Highway 10 in Flin Flon, the Station Museum opens for the summer season around the beginning of June till after the September long weekend. You can reach the museum at (204) 687-2946.

Sewer Boxes (also from the 'attractions' section of the Flin Flon website - yes, the SEWERs are listed as an "attraction")Flin Flon is the only city in the world to locate their sewage lines above ground. This is necessary in some areas of the city because of the masses of near-impenetrable bedrock. Instead of burying the pipes, they are surrounded by a wooden casing and run above ground to create a unique snake-like appearance. Early settlers first built these above ground sewer and water lines, becoming the settlement's first "sidewalks". They are still used regularly today as fully usable sidewalks.

We finally arrive at the "boring" museum and wander inside.  Only to find out that on Thursdays, the museums were free after 5pm... not after 4pm like I had initially thought.  The plan I had continues to fall apart.  I was not faced with a dilemma... pay 56$ for us to enter the museum now, or wait 45 minutes to get in for free.  Being a little broke at the moment, I decided to wait.  After all, the perky desk girl pointed out that we could pass our time in the Gift Shop while we waited.

Yea, 5 kids, in a Museum Gift shop for 45 minutes... I'll let you guess how THAT went.  Needless to say, we wound up standing outside in the cold rain for a good portion of time... I'm not saying we were KICKED out... errm...
Having fun... in about 3 seconds,
the next photo has a *very* angry Ping
and an all to smug Bing who made her angry.

Well, by the time 5pm rolled around, I was ready to go home.  However, the fun was just beginning, and my plan had still lots of room to fail.  But since this post is already too long, I'm going to just go bullet point over my many failures as a parent this particular Thursday...

Highlights of failure:

  • museum was not free at 4pm as I thought - but 5pm
  • children had to wait for almost an hour outside in the rain
  • museum was absolutely packed because it was free, oh and it was Spring Break so EVERY family was there
  • children were not able to run free through the museum "zones" as planned because there were too many people
  • children were not fed diner before going to the museum*, so by the time we GOT in, they were all grouchy and hungry
  • they were also grouchy from being in the car for over an hour getting from our place to the museum
  • they were also grouchy from having to wait in the rain
  • by the time we were ready to leave, as a last hurrah, we decided to watch the extinction movie - only to see a family from church in the same movie, this was not an immediate failure, however, upon exiting the movie...
    • the mother stops to say "hi" and Bing decides to FREAK out.  Probably because he was grouchy for all the reasons listed above
    • we're talking DEFCON 3 level of tantrum
    • thrashing around on the ground
    • screaming
    • yelling
    • punching at me when I try to pick him up

Needless to say we beat a pretty quick retreat from the museum, I'm sure with the other Mom thinking I'm a horrible parent.

There was far more which went wrong than I'm detailing here, but I think I've painted enough of a picture of our failed outing.  There were nice moments in there.  We did have a good time.  It was just sprinkled with moments of ... well... screaming, thrashing around, yelling, etc.
Apparently the Dinosaurs scared him...
so I left him there, for about a half hour...
telling him the dinosaur was going to eat him
if he yelled at me again.
Hey, I said it wasn't my BEST parenting day.
But he stopped yelling at me.

I guess the important thing to remember, at least for me, is that I can't expect perfection from my kids all the times.  There are days they have where things just seem to go wrong for them at every turn.  Maybe there is something they are struggling with, something at school, with a friend, or sibling, or parent... maybe some adoption issues have cropped up again, or even just are tired or jacked up on sugar.

All I know is that at times, I'm just exhausted from trying to "deal" with my kids...
... and I'm sure at times they are exhausted from "dealing" with me.

If I'm willing to forget about my bad parenting day, and look for the good moments in the day and say "hey, today wasn't all bad", I have to be willing to do that with my kids as well.  To look at the fun and good moments we had in the day, even though there were tantrums and screaming, and say "hey, today wasn't all bad."

Yup... cup 1/2 full.  Happy happy.  Oh, and we ALL have bad parenting days... right?


C'mon, someone else tell me they have bad parenting days too!

Please?  Someone... anyone...

At least I didn't take the kids to see the Sewer Boxes...

* == My Wife didn't feed them before bringing them into the city... I didn't know they didn't  eat until we were already at the museum and wandering around.  


  1. We will all laugh at this post because, yes, we all do the same things from time to time and yes, the kids do the same thing to us sometimes. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Oh my, you DID have a deprived childhood. I have been to the Flin Flon museum, and yes - it is not very interesting. The sewer pipes however, needed to be seen to be believed. Sadly, we have an upcoming trip planned to take the kids to see the sewer boxes (along with seeing the grandparents).

    You would be slightly impressed going back now though, there is a Wal Mart and Canadian Tire - it is the big leagues there now ;)

    Don't worry, there will always be another opportunity for another outing to the museum, and I am sure there will be something exciting that happens then as well. Life is never boring!

  3. Oh, they have a Canadian Tire now too! I knew about the Wal-Mart, been there, done that... but I didn't know about the Canadian Tire. Well, I guess I'm going to have to stop making fun of Flin Flon then. :-) I showed some of my Chinese co-workers on Google Maps where Flin Flon is, and the places "up north" I've been... they laughed. Then they pulled up maps from China where they came from... so very different. But the end result is the same, we all miss home.

  4. You always make me laugh. I had a bad parenting day just last night at our school's Art Night. Instead of happily showing me their displayed artwork, my children started a game of tag, followed by a game of "annoy the crap out of each other" followed by a game of "Ditch Mom." All this in a crowd of about 100 people and right in front of their art teachers and the assistant principal. Still smarting from the looks of condescending pity I got from basically everyone within a 15-foot radius. Not getting Mother of the Year again this year...

  5. Ahhh... your storie brings in some memories....

    WE all have been there..


  6. Ahh, Rookie Mistake, taking five children, of varying ages, to a museum (a place filled with "don't touch that!"s and other "not-too-interesting-to-a-small-child" things ON EMPTY STOMACHS!!

    For shame, dude, for shame!

    Just Kidding, BT, DT, couldn't afford the T-shirt after paying for the overly-priced food bribes to keep the Minions of Chaos from destroying the entire building in their quest for food ...

    You did, after all, enlighten them ... right? Right?

    Glad to see the family is doing well!

  7. oooh this was good! The gift shop? The rain? The not eating? Flin Flon Rock Museum? The Church friends and the tantrum? All classic! Love this post!