The kids and I took a vacation to Washington, DC last week. Himself had to work, so it was just the three of us. I was apprehensive about taking a long trip with no adult backup, but they are both getting bigger now, and I have been feeling a little better, so I took a chance.
We Amktraked there; walked, Metroed and taxied around DC itself and made a few attempts to ride a double decker tour bus, with varying success.
Overall, we had a good time: only three meltdowns for the whole trip (one for each of us!) and no major incidents. But of course, there were some lessons learned: A few little pointers or reminders that I will remember for the next trip:
- When travelling with two Aspies and only an analog watch, one becomes quite adept at telling the exact time by analog. A German tourist looked surprised when he asked me the time, and I looked at me little Seiko and replied "4:42 ...almost 4:43".
- If we are going somewhere, Grace asks the time roughly every seven minutes
- ...unless she is nervous. Then she asks pretty consistently every four minutes
- Lesson: Make sure both kids are wearing synched digital watches next trip
- When touristing in DC, I completely underestimated the advantage growing up in Dublin gave me for using the double decker bus. My kids could NOT handle the navigation and movement, especially going up and down stairs while the bus was in motion, whereas I was the lady with the cane hopping around that thing like I was born on it, catching stumbling children as I went.
- Because we saw about four or five homeless people during the entire week, Grace now tells everyone, in an outraged tone: "DC is full of HOBOs!".
- Considering DC is the seat of our government, I think this is hilarious
- The ticket booth in the metro does not sell tickets. You need to use a machine to buy the tickets.
- You also need to ask a kindly stranger to tell you how to use said ticket machine. Even if you have twenty years experience in the computer industry.
- Fortunately, there are a lot of kindly strangers in DC.
- I had a good look at the casts of Abe Lincoln's hands. Although he was 6'4", and Marfan Syndrome is speculated for him, His hand's didn't look particularly Marfanesque to me.
- Seeing Night at the Museum, Battle of the Smithsonian AT the Smithsonian, in IMAX, was pretty cool.
- Joe's bladder is the approximate size of a peanut
- Joe, in an apparent attempt to control or compensate for his peanut bladder, kept trying to hold it and wait for the last minute, which usually resulted in his HAVING to go at the worst possible time, like when were were finally near the front of the line, or the car/bus/train had just pulled off...
- Sharing a hotel room with your two kids is a strange kind of lonely
- When travelling alone with kids, Wet Ones are a requirement. Period.
- Good french fries can cure a variety of ills, from motion sickness to the blues.
- A child who had taken great care of a palate expander for months WILL accidentally throw it in the trash at the Natural History Museum
- ...and only remember four hours later
- The Natural History Museum generates a lot of trash in four hours (and no, we didn't get the expander back)
- It is impossible to ground one kid and not the other when you are all in vacation and living in one room.
- Joe is a slow walker
- ....unless you give him a wheelie suitcase to pull, then he takes off like he has a rocket strapped to his bum (heavy work, maybe?).
Some notable quotes from the trip:
"You are acting more like a Camp counselor than a Mom"
On the way OUT of the Abe Lincoln exhibit, after seeing ALL the exhibits and the pictures of the conspiracy and after hearing the story of the assination TWICE on the tour bus:
"Abe Lincoln was shot? I didn't know he was shot! ...who shot him?" (sigh)
"No we don't want to see the Star Spangled Banner. We heard the story already"
"Hey look! It's the Ruby Slippers from "Night at the Museum""
"So it went to the moon. Big deal!"
This trip was also a little experiment for me, to see how long I lasted without the computer and Internet. I deliberately did NOT take a laptop with me. This is the longest I have gone without a computer in 19 or 20 years.
I did great until Thursday morning, when there was a flurry of texts on my phone, and I realized someone in Ireland was trying to get hold of me (we go it sorted without a computer).
Other than that little start, I found the break refreshing. I was getting a bit too immersed in the virtual worlds, and not spending enough time in the real world. Although I do fully intend to keep blogging, I have definitely cut down my computer time since returning.