Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 2 in New York City with Kids: Alone for the afternoon

Friday night, after our arrival in Brooklyn, Helen and Connor had some trouble falling asleep. In fact, they didn't fall asleep until around 11:00 when Ed went to bed. That's about 3 hours later than normal. For Connor, it probably wasn't so bad, because he napped for a couple of hours in the car and he had slept quite late that morning. He was probably just about even on sleep. Not so for my little darling though, who was probably down about 3 hours of sleep. She's 2. That's a lot of sleep to be missing.

The original plan for the day was to head to some fantastic kids place in Queens with Vickie. Ed would leave for the baseball game around lunch and I'd meet him and the rest of his family for dinner. That was a plan I could handle. But since Teo was in the hospital (getting better, thankfully!), Vickie would need to spend the day with her husband taking shifts at the hospital rather than entertaining us. She handed us a package of City Walks for Kids cards, which are these fabulous little day trips for kids.

Our revised plan was to head to some train related museum near Vickie's house, visit Teo if we were allowed into the hospital, and then Ed would head to the Bronx to meet his family. (Notice, I did not say uptown or downtown, because I do not understand directions in NY very well.) The train museum was closed, so we opted to head to the only thing we could find for kids that was open on Saturday morning - some firefighter museum in Manhattan.

We rode the subway.

Then we stopped to admire a trash truck, because those are cool everywhere.

And you know? Our day could have ended right there and Connor would have been happy.

Had I not told him that a museum with old train cars existed.

We were still a little early for the opening of the firefighter museum, so we walked down to a pier to see the Statue of Liberty. We were, after all, in New York.

And then Helen tried to launch herself into the Hudson. Luckily, Ed is quick, even though I told him to wait until I snapped the picture. Sheesh. Doesn't he know I have a blog to keep up with and I need exciting stories to tell? Just pretend his hand isn't in this photo, because it wasn't when she was teetering on the ledge even higher up.

And then Helen found a penny on the pier and taunted Connor.

And at this point her day could have been complete. But did I mention the time? It was 9:30...AM. That is not quite a full day.

Finally, the museum opened and we were the first ones in. It was mostly lame because they wouldn't let kids (or adults) climb all over the antique firetrucks. That would've been cool. Helen and Connor did manage to slip their hands into cases containing some memoribilia, and thankfully no alarms went off.

And now I needed a plan for the rest of the day. The part of the day when I wouldn't have Ed. I think it was starting to hit me that there was a legitimate chance that by the time I met Ed and his family for dinner, I might very well be down one cute, blonde-haired child.

Ed escorted us to lunch and then he took us to a very cool children's art museum that has lots of projects and a small play area. As I went to pay the entrance fee for the kids and me, I started wheezing. And then I could not get any air in, and midway through the transaction I was really questioning what was happening and I coughed out "I have to go get a drink", which I did, as I coughed and coughed and coughed as if I had a very advanced case of TB. And then I spent a while coughing in the bathroom drinking lots and lots of water, and then I was a little dizzy, and every time I lowered my head I thought it might fall off. It was at that point that I wondered if I was having a panic attack. I don't know if the ability to diagnose one's self means that one is not actually having a panic attack, but whatever. It was a little scary. I made my way back to the front of the store and Ed asked if he minded if he left. He noted that he was late for the game.

I paused, decided I was in a place with few people, mostly staff, and all of the staff seemed nice and to like kids. I decided if something happened, like I fell over and stopped breathing, these nice people would surely take care of my kids. So I assured Ed I was fine. What I thought about doing was asking him to get me some Motrin, but when he seemed in a hurry, I decided I would be fine. In retrospect, that was stupid. I should've sent him to a store.

Despite my blinding headache, Connor, Helen, and I had a ball at the art museum. Really, what was there not to love? Watercolors, scissors, tape, a dude who made Helen a pink clay cat, and basically individual attention from a whole host of artists, one of whom was totally impressed when Connor asked her if he could do some pottery. He wanted to learn how to use a wheel. I had to explain that I have a wheel in my backyard that he's interested in learning how to use it.

There is also an area roped off with lots of pilates balls that kids can run around in. Connor found someone to play with him in there for a while while I set Helen on a bean bag with her bottle. I had a small hope at that point I could close my eyes for a few minutes to try and get rid of my headache, but that's didn't happen.

Finally, we had all had our fill of the art museum. I had bandied about the idea of getting on the ferry for naps, but that would mean I'd have to take an extra subway ride, and I didn't think I could manage it. Instead, I decided we would go to Central Park and rest.

We got on the subway, went the wrong direction, got off, went the correct direction, and then I mistakenly thought the dinner location was at 91st not 71st, so we rode all the way from SoHo to 96th, which is a nice long ride. I kept thinking my head would explode. When we exited the subway, there was a magical little store that sold all sorts of great things. I acquired Motrin, gummi bears, Starburst, and Gatorade. I had determined that this would make me feel better and keep the kids happy.

I ate the Motrin, chugged some Gatorade, and then we headed up to street level. I had told the kids that it was rest time for everyone and we would all lie down at the park. For some reason, they agreed. We passed a Starbucks on the way and I acquired an enormous coffee drink and a fruit salad.

When we got to the park, I knew my day was headed up. For starters, my headache was abating. And...I don't know the liklihood of this, but we actually ran right into a playground. How lucky is that? We found a shady spot, the kids gobbled the fruit up, and I sucked my overpriced coffee down.

And then we rested briefly. Wow do I have fabulous children. I had told them earlier that I wasn't feeling great and I needed to sit for a few minutes. They were totally happy to sit there and play the game of "will more taxis or regular cars pass us" for several minutes. The answer? Typically on this little pass, the ratio of cars to taxis is 2:1, but occasionally, there will be more taxis. Only once did a bus come by. I gave you that information because I knew you would not sleep tonight if I left that question hanging in the air.

After counting cars and taxis for a while, we went to locate a public bathroom. There was none. Helen ducked behind a dumpster.

This is the point when I knew we were going to make it to dinner. Which we eventually did, only a few minutes late. I consulted my notes to see that I was 20 blocks away from the restaurant, not 5, so much to Connor's delight, we hopped on the subway. This time, I was totally relaxed because my headache was gone and neither of my children were, and we were within a few minutes of our final destination.

I wasn't sure the day was going to end well. But you know what? We all had a really fun time. Nobody whined (even though we were short on sleep and nobody had a nap), everybody got to do things they enjoyed, and for possibly the only time in her life, Helen was quiet for about ten minutes which was just enough time for my headache to subside.

The only thing that could've made the day better was if I'd been able to deliver on the promise to see the old train cars. But at the point I decided to skip the ferry, I also decided to skip nap option 2 of heading back out to Vickie's place and the old train cars. Connor did ask about the train car museum, but he understood that the hours just didn't work out.

Be warned, New York City, we'll be back!

1 comment:

  1. You are amazing. What a great day you gave your kids - and that totally sounds like a panic attack to me !