Thursday, August 20, 2009
You'd think that getting inside the Aquarium would be a piece of chocolate cake. You walk straight up to the building, you push or pull open the door, you walk yourself inside. Ta da! Should be simple, right? Right.
But not for my family.
Its not that we couldn't find the entrance, we found it just fine, but once we got there-
Its almost as if, with each step that we took toward the door, the ground beneath us began to thin and crumble, and by the time we got there, we were standing on a single floating stepping stone in the middle of nowhere. Yes. That's exactly what it was like.
Eleanore's best friend Charlotte (along with her Mama and Papa of course) had made the trip from Abilene to Dallas as well, so we pulled the stroller off to the side to wait for them while they payed for their parking. Pedestrian traffic had no problems detouring around us, as we stood at the base of the beginnings of a winding jungle path, inconveniently putting ourselves directly in the sun. I knew that I wouldn't have a better opportunity to force feed grumpy baby, so I quickly whipped out my never before used travel bib (a gift from my friend Jessica), and some banana-apple-pear goo, hoping that he'd open up and say "aah", putting all fussing aside. It never works out that way though, does it? Somehow I ended up wearing twice as much of the yellow slime that originally was put into the package. Did any of it even make it into his mouth? I'll never know. Meanwhile, our friends had showed up, and then before I could finish feeding and cleaning up the fruit puree, drifted off down the winding path, taking Christopher and Eleanore with them. Charlie and I lagged behind, wiping ourselves clean from sticky Gerber residue. Wait, wait, we're coming!
Finally, Charlie and I caught up with the rest. By the time we got inside, Christopher had already bought our tickets (a small fortune, but luckily the kids were free), Eleanore was screaming something about seeing "divers", and Elie's bff Charlotte was heading towards the sardine sized elevator that the Aquarium staff was expecting us all to fit into, at the same time, together. "Take it to the third floor", they told us. *DING*, goes the elevator bell. We all stepped out of the metal box, 'we all' being ourselves, and a few other folks with strollers in tow, and there setup before us, was a beautiful artificial Amazon. All of the stress that had been building up melted off with the sweat from the humidifier. Until-
"I have to go pee pee". Ugh. Of course you do. We just got to where we need to be. Of course you have to go pee pee now. I couldn't remember at that point, if I had asked her downstairs or not, so I kept my cool, took her hand, assigned Christopher to the stroller/baby, and went off in search of the bathrooms. Christopher had said that in the elevator he had seen a sign that said restrooms 2nd floor. Great! We were on the 3rd floor, so we'd just take the stairs down, it would be quick, no setbacks. Little did I know, taking the spiral stairs with a 3 year old, surrounded by new and exciting strangers with lots and lots of kids her exact age, while holding it, wouldn't be as easy as it sounded. We got to the the level below us... there is no bathroom. I look over at the elevators on that floor, to see a sign that says restrooms 1st floor. Are you kidding me? I'm already sweating, and trying to hurry, because I know that everyone is waiting for us back up on level three, and I really don't want to have to clean up an accident within the first 10 minutes of our first family outing since 1958.
More running down stairs, more "you're doing great, you can hold it, we're almost there, keep holding it", and then eventually we find THE BATHROOMS. There wasn't even a line, thank goodness, and they were still clean (the place had only been open for an hour). Accident avoided, operation get daughter to the bathroom was a success.
I looked at the stairs, down at Eleanore, back at the stairs, back at Eleanore, and decided this time we were taking the elevator. I could handle being squished in with strollers and stressed out parents more than I could handle climbing a thousand twisty steps with an impatient freshly emptied little girl. Too bad the elevator took just as long, if not longer, to actually get down to us, and then stopped at 3 stops along the way. How was there 4 stops on a 3 level ride? I don't know, but there was.
When we reached the third floor, Christopher was sitting on a bench not far from the elevator, baby talking Charlie, right where we had left them. Soooo glad they hadn't gone ahead without us. If they would have, we'd never see them again. This place was packed. People by the hundreds. Thousands. But wait- where were Charlotte, Marie, and Anthony? ...Crap. They went ahead didn't they? Yes. Luckily, Eleanore was too distracted with all of the bird caws and squawks, to notice that her best buddy had gone missing. Maybe we'd catch up with them farther down the path? Not likely, but, maybe.
We stopped for a quick one handed family portrait, and then we launched ourselves into the branches of foreign trees and mosquito's.
To be continued...