At the beginning of summer, before camp started, I took the little Goofs downtown to go to the Museum of Natural History. The subway stop nearest the museum spills you out into the massive courtyard of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. There was a summer concert series, so we bought some lunch and sat there for a while. My children looked around in wonder, my son announced, "I never knew Washington DC was so interesting."
That they were wowed by the (admittedly impressive) courtyard of a federal office building means that I have been negligent in introducing my children to the wonders of our nation's capital.
The rest of that day went well. My daughter wanted to see skeletons of animals and so we did. The manatee skeleton was particularly important to us.
One of the not-so-secrets of travelling with children is that they can get tired of interesting stuff extremely quickly – whereas, in the presence of such interesting stuff, seemingly boring things fascinate them. So after some skeletons and trying to find the queen bee in the insect room, they were ready to get out. Since we passed by, I dragged us in to see the Hope Diamond.
I told the kids that it was the largest diamond in the world. My daughter was unimpressed (let that be a warning to any lad who seeks to court her). I told her to compare it to mommy's diamond ring and quickly added, "But don't say anything about this to mommy."
We topped off our 80 minutes at the museum with about the same amount of time in the gift shop, kids find gift shops at least as interesting as museums – if not more so (see note above). Then we headed home. I told my daughter that I used to take the subway downtown everyday for work. She looked at me incredulously, "You worked?"
"I work now, you were at my office yesterday," I said wearily, "Remember we watched a movie in the conference room? But I used to come downtown everyday on the subway. Wouldn't it be neat to do that?"
"People take this train everyday to go to work? That's ridiculous," my daughter said, incredulous. Commuters sitting close to us chuckled sadly.
We arrived home at about the same time as Momma Goof came home from work. My daughter immediately took her hand and examined it. My wife happened to wear her engagement ring that day. Goof Girl looked at if for a moment and yelled, "You're right daddy! It is teeny-weeny!"