The children's library uptown recently installed an interactive Clifford exhibit. Since Clifford has been Jackson's best buddy for years, we thought he'd be excited to explore the exhibit. The plan was to go to the library, have a picnic lunch, and walk to the science museum.
The description from the library website stated:
Like tourists visiting Birdwell Island, visitors will start their journey to the exhibit aboard the Birdwell Island Ferry, complete with seagull sounds and clanking ship bells. As visitors pass by the lighthouse and enter Birdwell Island, they discover the world of Clifford, Emily Elizabeth, and the people and places of Birdwell Island. Visitors can be restaurant workers at Samuel’s Restaurant, play in the sand box with T-Bone at the beach, slide down Clifford’s tail, write and mail letters to island residents, create art in Clifford’s dog house, put on a show in Mac’s backyard theater, engage in interactive activities in Cleo’s small tot play land, and of course read Clifford stories and learn about artist Norman Bridwell! All of the exhibit “sites” are environments based on locations found on the PBS Kids Clifford The Big Red Dog television series and should be recognizable to visitors familiar with the television show.
We had to park the strollers and wait in line to enter the free exhibit. I'm so glad Jesse was with me because I don't think I could have kept everyone occupied in line. Once inside, the kids went through the different areas at their own pace. James and Maddie fought over a shovel in the garden.
Jackson was initially excited to see the giant Clifford, but later disappointed because there was no live Clifford to greet.
There were plenty of fun areas for the kids to play, read, draw, etc.
We asked a stranger to take a picture of us. Jackson was becoming increasingly uncooperative and hid under the legs. I guess the person accidentally changed the camera setting to square, since this was our failed family photo.
Unfortunately Jackson's attitude only worsened. His latest phase is "hating" things, He shouted:
"I hate Clifford! I don't want a statue." (He's carried a stuffed Clifford everywhere for over two years.)
"I hate picnics. I want to eat at a restaurant!" (In the past two years, our family has probably eaten at a restaurant five times, so this would not be an expectation.)
"I hate sandwiches. I will not eat! Now you don't talk!" (He loves sandwiches and he did eventually eat.)
I don't know why Jackson was using such ugly words and acting bratty, but we certainly don't give in to his demands. We gave him several chances to make better choices, but he continued to complain and yell. At one point he even let go of the stroller and sat on the sidewalk. (Keep in mind we were in the heart of uptown Charlotte during lunch hour, so this was not a very safe move.) We ate our picnic in a shady park across from the museum, then walked back to the van.
Of course, Jackson promised he'd be a good listener and use nice words as we were passing the museum. The entire walk back to the library he kept saying, "But I want to go to the museum!" We reminded him that we have a membership and can go to the museum any day this summer, as long as he makes good choices.
What began as a fun morning ended with everyone in a bad mood. To make mattes worse, we forgot to get our parking ticket validated at the library so it cost $11 for parking!
The most upsetting part of the afternoon was knowing that Jackson's actions prevented his siblings from going to the museum. It wasn't a big deal to them and I'm sure they didn't know any different, but they still missed out. As a classroom teacher, you're never supposed to punish the whole class when one child misbehaves. As a parent of several children, I don't really know what the rules are.