Monday, October 13, 2003

It’s Field Trip Day!
Let’s hope the rest of the gang is as excited as I am. The Milwaukee Public Museum has always been my sentimental favorite. And it is a fabulous museum.

The younger children haven’t been there, so I am tickled to share my favorite exhibits. My testimonial that when I was a child, the MPM was as good as Disneyland to me was greeted with looks that categorized me with Rod and Todd Flanders emoting about “Imaginary Christmas.” But really....a cutting edge museum is a superb amusement park for children with vivid imaginations.

I’ve given up on the Smockmama concept of having the children dressed in ‘uniform’ for our forays into the world. This is based on the legendary (in von Huben circles) experience of the big family field trip to the Lincoln Park Zoo. The GAP had an extraordinary deal on bright orange T-shirts, in all sizes, XXL down to 24 mo. baby. So I snapped up shirts for everyone, figuring that orange would be lively and visible and just so excellent for our group cohesiveness. The children felt differently, linking orange shirts with criminals and road side garbage clean-up crews. I thought we looked precious, right down to 24 mo. size baby Eddie in his stroller.

Emily and RIck went along with it to be good sports.
Fran and Bridget spent the whole trip alternating between complaining about the shirts and begging to rent a paddle boat. At one point I found that Fran had switched into the sweatshirt she had tied around her waist and was trying to dispose of the orange T in the monkey house. Nice try. So I made her put the T-shirt back on and I confiscated the sweatshirt.
Martha and Chuck didn’t care too much.
Eddie was 8 months old and totally under my fashion influence.

Martha claims she still has bad memories of being menaced by a peacock. So I tried to change the subject by reminding her that Flannery O’Connor was quite enamored of peacocks. Martha redirects conversation by proclaiming the Flannery O’Connor’s mother never dressed her like a convict to wander about the Lincoln Park Zoo. So there.

Today should be good. Just good, educational fun.
No uniforms.
No live peacocks.
Also no swearing and no smoking. Please.
(Yes, I’m still dealing with the disgrace of standing on the steps of the Museum of Science and Industry with flocks of smockmamas and their quiet uniformed progeny. I simply ask one of my group, “Where is Bridget?” The answer, “She’s over there - she needed a cigarette.”
I know she smokes.
I don’t approve.
She was old enough.
But to have my maternal failure proclaimed in front of my peers...another lesson in humility.

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