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Oct 3 2013

At the Noah’s Ark Exhibit, a Different Kind of Flood

By at 9:49 am

noah's ark

A few weeks ago friends of mine, each with 15-month-old little girls, invited my daughter and I to the Skirball Center for their awesome interactive Noah’s Ark exhibit. It looked like so much fun. But while the gallery would be filled with pieces depicting the tale of the great flood, I was flooded with panic brought on by my great fears.

As I mentioned in my piece, “I’ve Got a Bad Case of Mommy Cabin Fever,” getting out of the house is a challenge for me. The longest distance I will drive to is my Mommy & Me class, 30 minutes away… and the museum was a bit farther. So the thought of taking the long drive to the museum with a hysterical baby in the back seat (resulting in a hysterical mommy) left me at a loss.

I do not want to stop living life. I do not want to deprive my daughter of fun, educational opportunities–but oh, the panic. I took a deep breath and accepted the invitation. I decided that since the museum was only 10 minutes farther than my Mommy & Me class, I could make a day of it all… how bad could it be?

My plan was to feed my daughter before class, enjoy class, and grab lunch with the other mommies after class while my little angel slept in her stroller. Then I would nurse her and we’d be on our merry way to the museum.

Well, that was my plan. My daughter’s plan was a tad bit different.

We went to class where she was Ms. Crankypants. She seemed tired and I naively thought that she would definitely nap during lunch. She, however, thought crying was a much better lunchtime activity. I walked around with her in the stroller… tears. I held her for a while… tears. Eventually, she calmed for a bit and when she went back into the stroller she kind of just zoned out, looking like at any moment she would fall asleep.

Sleep never came.

So… class wasn’t enjoyed because of Ms. Crankypants. Lunch wasn’t enjoyed because Ms. Crankypants now became Ms. Overtiredpants. But before she became Ms.Overtiredandhungrypants, I decided to feed her.

And that was when Ms. Fidgetpants emerged. Yanking on my nursing cover, whimpering at the mere sight of my bosom (a reaction I’ve always taken personally, from man or baby), peeking out to look around; basically doing everything EXCEPT eating. At one point I’m pretty sure she was riding a unicycle. And while impressive for a 10-month-old, it was still off course from the task at hand.

After our little game of tug of war, and hoping she was at least able to take in a few ounces, we headed to the car for the 10 minute journey from the class to the museum.

As we pulled into the museum’s parking garage, my little one promptly became Ms. Sleepypants, deciding now would be a good time for a midday slumber. Ah, timing. I pulled the car seat out, clicked it into the stroller and inside we went. I met up with my friends whose little girls were already gallivanting around the incredible exhibit.

After a 15-minute cat nap, my little darling woke up ready for action. As she was so clearly on her own schedule I was glad she didn’t plan to sleep through our entire stay.

She crawled around the pretend ark, playing with the plastic veggies (the ark inhabitants had to eat, right?) and did her best not to get trampled by the surrounding giants (ie: children who can walk).

She sat studying a plastic strawberry while I chatted for a brief moment with my friends. As my little princess crawled over to investigate the animals represented two-by-two, I stood with my mouth agape looking at a different kind of number two. My little lady pooped–the great flood had cometh! There it was, she somehow pooped right onto the museum floor!

I scooped up my daughter with one hand and cleaned up her poop with the other. I must have gone through a whole box of wipes trying to disinfect the tainted spot. I continued scrubbing long after the poop was gone.

I was MORTIFIED!

I rushed her to the bathroom to get her cleaned up and changed. Upon digging through my bag, I realized the only change of clothes I had was footy pajamas. And normally, I’d just put her in those, but the whole exhibit was hardwood floors. She’d slip and slide every time she pulled herself up. I opted instead for her to go bottomless. Somehow she managed to get poop on her skorts, but not her onesie. So, off the skorts came, and they went right into a plastic bag. Her diaper was carefully changed and Ms. No-pants was ready to go.

But was I?

I contemplated escaping through the bathroom window like one might do in a sitcom, but alas, no window. I thought about trying to acquire one of those light things from “Men in Black” that erases memory (to use on both myself and my fellow museum patrons).

But clearly, I went the opposite route… purging by confession.

With two big activities in one day, I learned that this might have been a bridge (or ark as the case may be) too far for me.

I spent most of the day nervous, sweaty, and panicked. I wish I could have come away saying that the anticipation was worse than the reality. But alas, I ended the day with a napless, hungry, pant-less baby.

Does this mean I have reverted to being a hermit, afraid to leave my home? Well… sometimes I relapse into my reclusive ways, yes. I don’t want to lie to you. But I am proud of myself for venturing out beyond my comfort zone. I think I will just pace myself a little better next time instead of plunging head first into the great flood.

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