Yesterday was the first day of school for local students. This meant my Facebook newsfeed was full of cute kids holding printed signs and rejuvenated teachers posting optimistic status updates. In recent years, the first day of school has made me feel sad because I'm not in the classroom. This year, I feel sad because I anticipate it being my last year home. I've come to embrace my role as stay-at-home mom. I'm currently in denial that I will need to begin applying for jobs in the spring and Jackson will start kindergarten next August.
For all those reasons, I wanted to be out of the house taking advantage of all my favorite places with the kids. We spent most of the day exploring the children's museum, playing on a playground, and running through the fountains at another park.
I pride myself on giving the kids a variety of experiences. I let Jackson watch television too much and I spend more time on my phone than I should, but I at least know my kids will have a wealth of background knowledge and be able to make connections from all their real world experiences.
We spent the morning at Discovery Place. The first thing the kids run up to is the interactive globe. All four of them love pressing buttons to light up different geographic regions and listen to music.
My favorite exhibit is the aquarium, particularly the jellyfish. Jackson and I both noticed the jellyfish looked different than we remembered. I don't know if their tentacles grow longer or if they were different fish altogether. Either way, I love how observant and curious Jackson is.
I certainly wasn't expecting the museum to be crowded considering it was the first day of school, but I was surprised at how desolate the museum truly was. We were really able to take our time in each area and explore freely without the pressure of being in others way.
The rainforest is another favorite area. We looked through the list of animals and found the tropical birds and geckos along the trees and vines.
Jackson also figured out he could use his hands and feet to move through the net bridge like Spiderman.
In the next exhibit, I actually sat down with the trio to help them build structures, rather than run around to repeatedly put them back on the stools or pick up blocks they threw. They were very focused.
In the same building section is a really cool touch screen computer where you can become an architect. Each building (school, fire station, police station, etc) gives you a list of requirements and you have to design it according to the checklist. Jackson designed the fire station while James, Amelia, and Maddie continued building with blocks.
We totally took advantage of this already built fort and played a game of hide and go seek.
I got a bit too ambitious trying to get the trio on the bed of nails. It didn't go over as well as I'd hoped.
Jackson made the connection that the "air chair" was like a vacuum.
The temporary guitar exhibit ends in a few weeks, so it was nice to have the whole area to ourselves to explore. The trio loved playing the "World's Largest Playable Guitar". I tried to teach Jackson about sound vibration (in kid terms) but he wasn't interested.
The trio also loved playing the orff instruments. Unfortunately, this was the last time Amelia smiled the entire day. She'd had a rough few days, acting especially cranky and tired. She was having such a good time up until I took her away from the instruments. She literally rolled around the floor and crawled away from me, and truly never recovered the rest of the day.
Wanting to take advantage of our all-day parking, we walked two blocks to First Pres and played on their playground. You can only play if there are no preschool classes on the playground. I assumed we'd be alright since most preschools don't start until next week.
We had a light lunch in the shade.
We walked two more blocks to my favorite park so the boys could run under the fountains. There was a mom and daughter there at the same time as us. The mom quickly befriended us and even tried to get the girls to splash in the puddles. Maddie loved the attention and laughed with the other mom and I. Amelia continued to sulk in the shade, even when I picked her up and rocked with her.
I remembered a change of clothes for everyone except Jackson. Thankfully Jackson was a trooper and never complained while walking the four blocks back to the van in soaking wet clothes. With the exception of Amelia's fussiness, we had a perfect day not kicking off another school year.