I’m lucky to have moved to a very kid-friendly area. There are TONS of parks (and as you have read, it’s my goal to go to each and every park in the county while we live here), museums, fairs and festivals and the like.
Some people ask how I can possible go anywhere with five kids, and the answer is that I have to or I’ll go nuts. Also, my youngest non-baby is four now, so they’re all old enough to be responsible. When we go somewhere, I make sure we have water and if I’m really organized, I bring quesadillas to eat.
Here’s an example of my day at a local kids museum. Getting there is the easy part; keeping track of everyone is another story. I don’t mind if Animal and Mineral run off, since they’re older, and The Informant can usually be found doing arts and crafts. My Masterpiece stays with me (by her choice). Porcelain is usually in the Ergo or another such baby carrier.
Aside: baby carriers have made my life more manageable. Without my carriers, I could not get anything done. Porcelain loves being so close, and I love the use of my hands! I was totally obsessed with baby carriers when I was pregnant and now I know why. I’m considering selling my Becco and buying a Boba. My Ergo is the go-to, but she likes to lean back and nearly fall out.
So, we’re at the museum, everyone is having fun — including me — and it’s a great day. Then it’s time to go home. This is where life gets challenging. The process of leaving takes about forty-five minutes. First I find My Masterpiece, who has to pee. As I take her to the bathroom, I come across Animal who is running off somewhere. I tell him we’re leaving in five minutes, and ask if he knows where Mineral or The Informant is. He shakes his head and darts off. I have 2/5 children.
After My Masterpiece’s bathroom trip, she wants to go to the baby area for a few minutes while I gather everyone else. I make her promise to stay there. I have 1/5 children (and that’s a given since the one is attached to me).
I find Mineral playing on a replica of a battle ship. I drag him away. He has no idea where Animal is — I’m always like, “You’re an identical twin! Use your twin intuition!” and they both look at me like, “How the eff would I know where he is? You watch way too many Lifetime movies. Twintuition isn’t real.” I have 2/5 children.
Mineral and I find My Masterpiece at the arts/crafts table, away from the baby area where she promised she’d stay. I have 3/5 children.
Mineral has to pee. I tell him to stay in the lobby after he uses the bathroom, and I’ll meet him there when I have everyone. I have 2/5 children.
I look for Animal and The Informant, certain that every time I go upstairs, they’re behind me going downstairs and we’re just missing each other. I cannot find either of them. I still have 2/5 children.
I have officially looked EVERYWHERE for Animal and The Informant. I can only hope that Mineral is staying in the lobby. I still have 2/5 children.
I finally find Animal in the middle of the lobby. He wants to go off while I look for The Informant, swearing that he’ll stay where he says, but I insist he stay with me. He pouts. I have 3/5 children.
We catch up with Mineral, who is not in the lobby like he said he would be, but instead has gone back to the battle ship. Animal shrieks about the unfairness that Mineral gets to play while he has to be dragged around, so I give them both five more minutes on the battle ship while I look for The Informant. I have 2/5 children.
I have really really looked EVERYWHERE for The Informant. She is not at the arts/crafts area. She is not in the dress up area. She is not in the bathroom. She is not in the baby area. She is not in the stuffed animal area. She is obviously just behind me, going upstairs when I go down, and vice-versa. I head back to the battle ship. I have 2/5 children.
Porcelain needs a diaper change. My Masterpiece wants to wait in the lobby while I change her. I have 1/5 children.
After the diaper change, I catch up with My Masterpiece, and we pick up Animal and Mineral at the battle ship. It’s a damn miracle. I have 4/5 children. The most unfortunate part of this scenario is that we’re at the very back of the museum, which means we have to walk through the entire museum to get to the entrance/exit, and my chances of keeping track of all four children while walking through the entire museum with its enticing exhibits and fun stations are not good.
We manage to make it to the lobby without incident, and with promises of coming back in the next couple weeks (we have a membership). The Informant is still missing. The museum isn’t THAT big. I literally have no idea where she is, so I sit and wait in the lobby, sure that eventually she’ll show up.
Five minutes later we’re still waiting, and I make my children swear upon pain of drinking baking soda and Floradix that they will stay there while I go find The Informant. I ask them all to look me in the eye while they promise. (Will it work? Maybe. When I get serious and it’s time to go, they usually understand.)
I finally find The Informant at the giant chess and checkers station. She has 234523525 pieces of artwork she wants to bring home. She makes a pile and carries it, and we walk to the lobby, where — it’s a miracle! — my three other children are waiting somewhat patiently. I treat them each to a candy bar from the gift shop.
Now we just have to go outside and walk to the car, crossing several main streets, and we’ll officially be on our way home.