Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Please [Don't] Touch [My Kid] Museum

I admit it. I have had very few incidences so far in my little boys' lives where I had to go into Mama Bear Mode. You mommies all know what I'm talking about -- you see your child in a threatening situation, and you do whatever it takes to protect him or her. I had been pretty lucky, and Mama Bear had been hibernating.

Until recently.

We received a wonderful gift of four tickets to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia from one of Eric's lovely aunts, and we were all very excited to go. The museum is designed specifically for little kids and is an amazing combination of play, experimentation, and education. The boys loved each exhibit better than the last, and they were truly in kid heaven.

Statue of Liberty Torch made out of toys

Drs. Peanut and Pumpkin, at your service

Playing, exploring, learning...

Peanut using a pulley to raise his plane creation

to the ceiling in order to watch it fly

Pumpkin's favorite part hands down: the pretend grocery store. Watching my little man with such determination in his eyes as soon as we got him his own cart was both unbelievably sweet and hilarious at the same time. He was in the zone!

Both boys really enjoyed the water area. We saved this part for last. The kids could experiment with the water toys, and they had all types of contraptions the kids could maneuver to experiment with water energy. Peanut was a pro in no time!

I had to pull out all of the mommy tricks I know to get Pumpkin to leave the special three and under play area. He loved this tree slide and the lilypads that made frog noises when he jumped on them to hop across the pretend pond.

Looks like the best day ever, right? I mean, nothing could put a damper on this day!

Oh. Except maybe this:

So, both boys were completely excited to play in the McDonald's area. Most of the kids were lined up along the back wall, busy using various assortments of play food to make all types of hamburgers and Happy Meals. Then, this sweet little girl walked up to the counter and just stood there, looking around. So, compassionate mommy that I am, I asked Peanut to be the cashier and ring up her order. Why can't I learn to just leave well enough alone?!?

Peanut happily obliged, and he skipped over to take the little girl's order. He was announcing each item into the microphone as he pressed the buttons on the register to announce her total. It was so cute that I had to take a picture. The above shot is now known as Exhibit A.

See the bigger brunette boy to the left of Peanut who was easily at least a year older? Yeah, the one in the green jacket. Well, he may or may not be the kid I am referring to in this story. If that was the same kid, I would know his name since I did hear it; however, since I am certainly not saying that was the kid, we will just call him "B.B." (for "Bully Boy").

B.B. was playing nicely beside Peanut for a few minutes until he decided that he had to have the microphone. Unfortunately, Peanut was still wrapping up the little girl's order, and he told B.B., "Hey! It's still my turn." But B.B. wasn't really interested in the whole taking turns concept. No, instead, he put all of his weight into pulling that microphone away from my son while -- compassionate mommy that I am -- I tried to intervene from my booth a few feet away and tell Peanut to allow Bully Boy to have a turn for a minute.

Too late.

Bully Boy -- and I am not using that name lightly -- decided he had a better solution.

After he pulled the microphone completely away from Peanut, he then focused all of his force on my son (who, by the way, morphed into my firstborn helpless infant in my brain), and Bully Boy pushed Peanut to the floor. Please congratulate me right now for resisting my motherly urge to demonstrate what happens to bullies who dare to touch my children. It was not easy to suppress the Mama Bear in me who wanted so desperately to give him my own Quarter Pounder. Anyway, Peanut was wailing at this point, and when I flew over to him, he said, "Mommy, he's so mean!" to which B.B. responded, "And you're so dumb!"

No, I am actually not writing this post from a prison cell, so please offer me congratulations yet again. First you dare to harm my child, and now you insult his intelligence?!? This kid had a guardian angel looking over him, for sure. I quickly swept up Peanut in my arms and consoled him in the booth. I felt guilty doing it, but I told Peanut that unfortunately there are a few mean people in the world, and that I was sorry that he had to meet one.

What? You are wondering where B.B.'s parent was in this equation? Yeah, me, too. A few minutes after "the incident," a mousy man brought B.B. over "to apologize."

Yeah, I put that in quotes. Because this is the masterpiece of an apology he offered my son:
"Sorry, piggy eye."

Yes, I did have to remind myself to breathe in and out repeatedly.

But B.B. had some audacity calling Peanut "dumb," because when he went back over to his dad, his father obviously sensed my disapproval and asked what he said in his apology. And then B.B. told his dad exactly what he said. Good job, Genius.

So, Mousy Dad begrudgingly brought B.B. back over to us. Again. At this point, I had seen enough of this kid's face to last a lifetime, and his presence was making Peanut's state of mind worse with every encounter. He finally mumbled something that sounded like "sar-RAY" with an attitude that somehow pleased his father enough. Thank goodness; they were finally gone.

It really took a while, but Peanut eventually got over it.

Mama Bear, on the other hand? She had nightmares for weeks about people hurting her children. Retelling the experience still brings tears to my eyes. And I cannot with any sincerity guarantee that any future children with a penchant for bullying will get off so easily.

But for now, Mama Bear is going back into hibernation. And I hope she doesn't have to awaken that growl again for many, many winters to come.



Kelly said...

It's a shame that a bully and his non-parenting-parent had to ruin an otherwise fun-looking day at the museum. Great pictures! :)

Gemma said...

First of all, let me say that the museum looks like a magical place for kids. Heck, even for grown-up kids. Great pictures! I almost felt as if I were there! Secondly, "B.B." can thank his lucky stars that Gemma Bear was NOT present. It may not have been pretty. And, lastly, what a great piece of writing! Very well done, K.

Kathy B. said...

"sorry, piggy eye" !?!
Soooo sad.
Sad for C., sad for you and sad for B.B., too.


L a u r a said...

What a great hands-on place for kids. Okay, so B.B. took the "hands-on" part a little too literally. It's unfortunate and frustrating that there are kids like B.B. At least your boy is resilient.

My oldest boy had something similar happen to him at our children's museum...when he was only 1 year old. Go figure, same type of parent too!

From one momma bear to another, I've stopped many B.B.s in my day...backing off now that our kids are getting older.

My favorite line to tell B.B.s after I've intervened is, "I'll be keeping my eye on you." And I do!

The Beaver Bunch said...

"It was not easy to suppress the Mama Bear in me who wanted so desperately to give him my own Quarter Pounder. "

Girl, that part CRACKED ME UP. Wow. I loathe when I take the kids out and there is always that ONE kid who is obnoxious.

I glare at their parent until one of two things happen:

1) I parent their child for them (verbally of course, not at ALL like I would parent my own child if he/she were acting in that manner).

2) The parent GETS A FRIGGIN' CLUE and comes over and escorts their child away.

Wow. Gotta love all people up for Parent of the Year out there.

peggy said...

What great pictures and what a wonderful place, except of course for B. B.! I could have almost guessed that the Dad would be a mouse. You handled the situation beautifully!

Tracey said...

I'm glad the boys had fun, it is a great place to take the kids as long as BB is not there.
It makes me sad to think this is the way people raise their kids. Good for you for holding back and not going into attack mode. I'm sure you were in shock that a child was acting like that, I know I was while I was reading the story.

Kirsten said...

It has been a while since I was on here, but I loved this post. We have museum very similar to this in Oklahoma and my daughters love it! We replicated the shopping cart idea. You can get great ones for around $25 on Then, when we finish a food item in a box, I save the box for them, or jar, or whatever else is salvagable. They keep it in their "kitchen." I will put a pic of their kitchen on my blog soon. I did not want to pay the money for one from pottery barn, so I took the catalog to my local high school and the carpentry kids made me a whole kitchen set for $100! I painted it to match my kitchen and it is great! Tons of fun "cooking" hours!

Lisa said...

That is unbelievable. It looks like a place near us (probably bigger). It seems like strange things with other kids always happen there. My kids that never fight with others will suddenly be beaten up over a plastic ball. Hope you are doing okay with your recovery. Wow.