Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

June 10, 2007

really playing


I just got back from a quick trip to St. Louis with Georgia and Maya to visit their famous children's museum, called The Magic House, and I have to say that this is what I meant when I said that I wanted to have children. They're so independent now- they can do all the basic living skills for themselves like feeding, dressing, etc. and they can transition from car to hotel room to pool to car to museum with minimal emotional assistance. And their hard-won, strong little plants of spiritual qualities are shooting up so fast. Witness a gem of an interchange today:

Maya (to Georgia after G. has finished her cookie): Here, you can have a piece of my cookie.

Georgia: Wow! Thanks Maya! It even has chocolate in it. That's so caring of you! You're so kind.

(Maya gently beams and stands a little straighter.)

Georgia: That makes me want to do something caring for you too. Let's see, what do you want, Maya?

(Maya thinks for a while and makes up some strange request that outsiders like me would not understand, but that they agree on wholeheartedly. Something about a game and getting called away and continuing for someone else. Nothing to do with material things or future cookie paybacks.)

Life is really good in moments like those.

And I highly recommend The Magic House. We spent 11 hours there, minus quick snarfs of Subway to maintain energy levels for playing, and we kept discovering new great things to do up until the minute they closed. It's got a homey, twisty-turny layout because it's a crazy old Victorian with many additions and they really get a lot of things right where they've distilled the fun parts of childhood into activities that are irresistible and well-thought out.

Here's an example: There's this fishing pond where you fish for like metal fish with a magnetic fishing pole. I've seen this done lots of times in children's museums but here's where the details make it so much better than average. The 'fish' are in real water and after you catch one, you run over to another pond and throw your little fish back, and then it goes right into this little stream which runs right through the floor with plexiglass over it so you can watch it bob along all the way down the stream until it finally floats back to the pond you caught it from and you grab your fishing pole and do it all over again. The fishing pond is part of the Children's Village which has so many more great things about it, and again, mostly in the details. Like a little library where you get to be the librarian and give out real library cards and a real scanner that goes 'beep' when you scan a book, and due date card stamp machine that really stamps the cards with something ('Books are magical' instead of a date, but that's good enough). And the library has very good actual books in it, with library binding and call numbers and everything. (Can you tell that I like libraries? And maybe that I spent a lot of time in one growing up because my mom worked there, and later that I had my first job there?)

And can you tell that actually got to play with my kids instead of just herding the older ones to activities and then trying to entertain/nurse/lull to sleep a baby/toddler while distractedly answering their questions? Nothing against my sweet babies (and, in fact, I recently had a great time 'teaching' all three of them how to make mud pies, regardless of toddlerhood), but this was a really great thing. The three of us bonded in a new way.

Posted by Bahiyyih at June 10, 2007 03:47 PM

Cool, that sounds like the best children's museum ever! I'm so glad you all had such a great time together! Good stuff.

Posted by: layli at June 11, 2007 10:00 PM