Friday, August 15, 2008

Portland - Day Two (Pt 1)

Day Two Portland Children's Museum and Oregon Zoo

When we got back from the Japanese Garden, the gals that checked us in were leaving for the day. One of them said that it was supposed to be 99º the next day so whatever we were doing, remember water! Oh joy, 99º. Emi and I went back up to the room, and almost literally we both crashed for the night. It had been a long day of driving and we were beyond ready for our beds. I had requested a crib, as I so didn't want to lug the Pack-n-Play with. Fortunately, they had one (and had they not, I was going to punt by making a 'nest' on the floor and crossing my fingers). I was wondering how she'd do in the crib but she went down like a champ. Exhaustion works miracles. She did wake once in the night, she had wet through her diaper, her pj's and the sheet (not a surprising occurrence these days, with all the water she drinks). So, I changed her, got her into clean jammies and had no choice but to bring her in bed with me. Oh the fun! But she did settle down (finally) and actually went back to sleep. She slept until almost 8 am! (Why doesn't she ever do that at home?)

After a great breakfast (she had her scrambled eggs, some of mine, yogurt, banana and milk ... this kid can eat!), we loaded up and made a stop on the way out. Since getting the news of the impeding heat, I had made the decision to change around my plan. Air conditioning Tuesday and hope that Wednesday wouldn't be so hot. So we were heading to the Children's Museum, but first I wanted to stop at Target for water (luckily there was one quite near the hotel). Also, in the good news department, while having breakfast the weather report came on. It was 60º 'now', going to get to 80º by noon and by 5 pm it was expected to get to 99º. Okay, I could work with that! Still, we'd do the Children's Museum.

We arrived, paid the entrance fee (for both of us, ouch!) and went in. It is nice, but confusing. It looks like it was, or is supposed to reflect, a warehouse. It seemed you just follow room to room, with some corridors and after awhile I just decided to wander around and find things that Emi might like. It also seemed to me more play areas than a true museum. Fun, but not what I was expecting. I also wonder had I been there with older children if I would have looked at it differently.

We found a room where there was this cool bus where the child could go inside, drive, push buttons, etc. Emi loved that and happily spent quite a bit of time in there. There was also a table where a wooden train (kid powered) was set up. When we arrived a sister/brother was at that table playing. They looked to be about 4-7 years old (but I am really bad at guessing ages). They moved to another corner of the room (books and building blocks of some kind), and Emi wandered over to where they had been playing.

She was happily grabbing the train pieces and bringing them back to 'her' bus. I figured, big deal no one else is in here and the other kids are doing something else. Besides, sooner or later she brings things back. They might all end up in a pile but they'd be back on the table. She does this kind of thing at home all day long. Unfortunately, the little boy of the duo decided that he wanted to drive the bus. Except, in Emi's mind that was HER bus, even though she wasn't really playing with that part of it any longer. She lost it. Completely. She didn't understand sharing (how could she?) and the little boy didn't understand that Emi didn't understand. I finally had no choice but to scoop her up, grab the stroller and leave the room. All the while the other mom was glaring at me. I wanted to say 'what, your kids where never toddlers?!' Pffft. We found the next room, with no people in it so we sat down on one of the benches. By now I'd found her sip/water bottle and she was sucking on that thing like crazy (we are starting to wonder if these aren't a form of lovey for Emi). So we sat for a bit, Emi drinking her water and Mama talking quietly to her. Even though I figured she couldn't understand, I wanted to explain the situation to her and that sometimes we share toys and play together.

This encounter broke my heart, and it was all I could do not to cry for her. While in China, the closest thing to playing with other children was (maybe) bumping into them while in their respective walkers. Here, she has almost no interaction with other children so hasn't even learned to parallel play. This drove home for me that we need to get Emi into something. Even if it's a daycare kind of situation, maybe two mornings a week. She needs to learn things that I cannot teach her, like how to play when other children are around. I'd love to find something more 'learning' but in the area where we live, most pre-school type places don't start until three, or even four. She needs something before that. She needs something now.

After she calmed down, she played a bit in the room we had been sitting in. It was a tree-house themed room and would have been perfect had she been a bit older. The stairs to climb the tree-house made my heart stop ... and Emi want to climb! So climb she did, with mama trying to help as much as Emi would allow while not breaking anything ... like an arm! We stayed in there a while and then wandered to the next area. There was a stage and a puppet area for larger groups, school outings, and camp is what I was thinking. Then we came to the Water Works Exhibit. Very, very cool. For those who have children who are about four and up, great fun! They even had little plastic smocks to lessen the drenching. There was not one area in there that Emi could reach, and no stools. I tried to hold her (knowing I'd get soaked) but she didn't want that. She wanted to reach by herself! But she couldn't, and the frustration just got to her. Again, the tears and the temper came out and again, I had to drag her out of the room crying and shrieking. At least this time the other mom in the room was sympathetic and gave me a 'been there' kind of smile.

At this point, I gave up. I could see there were other rooms, but nothing Emi-appropriate. So, we left. I felt like a failure, it was a pretty crappy moment in the whole motherhood thing. We sat on a bench just outside of the museum, while I tried to think of some way to salvage the day (at this point, it was only about 1030 am). Sweet Emi decided to crawl out of the stroller and into my lap. Perfect timing my dear, mama really needed that Emi hug right then.

Since the zoo was, literally, right across the parking lot from where we were and it was still quite nice I decided to do the zoo that day also. But I will save that post for tomorrow (with luck) as I hear Miss Emi stirring in her bedroom.

I want to leave this post on a positive note ... we did have a nice time at the zoo.

Lesson learned: Find out suggested ages for activities. If they are not listed on web sites or in travel books, call!


Louanne said...

Sorry she had such a rough time. Nadia sees and plays with the kids each Sunday morning during church. Then a group of new moms at the church get together each week for some kind of playdate. Is there any thing around you that you could find like that. Any mom's groups even if not at church?

Kiy said...

Thanks, and yes I do need to find something. I've been looking but not finding a whole lot here. I did find something after an Internet search, so going to look into that. I am hopeful.

Thanks again,

Lythrum said...

I have the same concern for mine. I know there are things for 2-3 year olds like you said, but they need to get used to interacting with others their age earlier. Our church has a lot of babies her age so we'll probably try to do some playdates.

Barbara said...

I hope you find a group, have you heard of the Noodleboro games by Hasbro? I don't think they are released yet, but they'd be good to look at.

It has to be hard when she's at an age where she wants to assert her independence and not always being able to do so (too short in this case). It's a Children's Museum, they should have stools in every room.

Kiy said...

Barbara, thanks for the heads up on the game. I took a look at it, sadly it's for kids 4 and up. Ah well.

As for the stools, yeah, I feel they should also but it was quite wet in there. I could see the reasoning that the stools, when wet, would become a hazard. In that case I feel they should have had a couple of lower level areas. But then, they didn't ask my opinion when designing the room! :)

Thanks all, for the kind comments.