20 June 2012

Scientific evidence and family-size volatility...

Last year's visit to the Chabot Space and Science Center was shrouded in fog and, befitting a space museum, a total blast...

...and I wrote a whole pictorial poem about it.

On this year's visit, we were treated to beautiful blue skies...but lots of screaming. I still haven't quite recovered from the ordeal. It was sort of like the Apollo 13 mission...kind of failed but no fatalities. On the plus side of things (I guess), the outing provided yet another set of experimental data in support of my scientific hypothesis that when all four of my kids are involved in something it is always far more volatile than when one is absent. It is akin to adding fluorine to a compound, but our family volatility isn't kid-specific. I have almost collected enough supporting data to publish my findings...to what end, I do not know. I should have learned this lesson a long time ago, but denial is the most powerful force on earth...even more powerful than gravity.

Things started out with bang. Well, lots of noise anyway.

Miss C pitched an all-out fit in the parking garage. Something about not wanting to hold hands? As if. She stopped for about 7 seconds to catch her breath when we emerged from the structure only to recommence as we started to cross the road to the entrance because, of course, we needed to hold hands again. The peaceful serenity of the Oakland hills was shattered by her ear-piercing shrieks.

We entered and collected our tickets. It was freeeeeeee because our family has a membership at the Bay Area Discovery Museum which has a reciprocating one-time deal with the Space & Science Center :) The older kids wanted to see the surround-screen movie about the Mayan skies. Miss C was keen on the theater...until the lights went out and things looked like this...

It was over for her when the lightning started flashing and the booming voice started narrating. Fortunately, she didn't scream. She simply buried her head in my chest for about half the show and then quietly said, "Let's go." So she and I left the theater. No harm, no foul.

A brief skirmish ensued once the older kids emerged from the theater following the show. Some computer thing with Mayan calendar things that you move around with a button thing to make something. Elbow jabs, foot-steppings-on, shoving...toss in a few terse words... and...

hey! look over there! Smoke!!!!

Dry ice never fails to amuse. Until the 7-year old with sleeves that are 6 inches too long starts 'making weather' by flapping his sleeves around wildly and manages to whack his older brother once or maybe twice and then the screaming starts again. *sigh*

hey! look at that! gee, this astronaut was pretty short!

Q-man is lined up evenly with the feet of the astronaut suit and comes up to its shoulder. To my scientifically calculating eye, this indicates a height of approximately 5'2" on that astronaut. Of course, taking this photo generated fighting. Of course. I am chagrinned to admit that I was involved this time. Something about who was going to take the picture. Grow up, XL.

hey! look at that! they have freezer section!

We agreed that even though the toothpaste tube of pork and vegetables sounded pretty gross, these strawberries looked grosser...

Last time we were here we were lost in our giggle fits about the toilet...which was so asinine because of course they have a toilet. Imagine if they didn't...wait, no. Let's not imagine that. Anyway, we missed the cool custom plunger! Even space toilets get clogged. Imagine if it overflowed with no gravity...wait, no. Let's not imagine that.

So things were pretty fun in the freezer section. Lots of laughs about the gross-looking food (that I am sure is actually very tasty) and the human waste disposal unit complete with appropriately yellow pee-funnel, cozy poop-chute, and specialized plunger. Lest we get too comfy, however, time for some screaming...

The two-headed spaceman was a brilliant idea...in theory. How Big G managed to snap the pic before the blood was shed is still a mystery. Fortunately, the platform behind the suit has railings on either side or bones might have been broken as well. A mid-week visit was a smart move because that minimized the disruption-of-other-visitors'-enjoyment factor.

Another conceptually fun moment...three-foot tall space creature with really long arms, feet with no legs, and huge boobs... turned unfun when he fell over and then blamed his brother for it and they both started...you guessed it...screaming.

We concluded our visit in the Universe Room. I don't know what it is really called, but my kids call it the Universe Room. There is a lot of info about galaxies in here. And the black hole table thing. A lot of places have these...you roll money into them and kids love it. This one had a collection of balls... wooden, plastic, metal...all of which return to the player via an opening at the table's base, which is awesome because that way you don't spend all of your parking meter change. There are lots of balls... enough for everyone. Or so one would think...

Everything's great here because all the balls are in play.

Diving for the balls, heedless of personal safety.
That poor little girl had to witness the mayhem...she seemed unfazed...

...until Miss C got sick of trying grab from the bigger, faster kids and 
tried to wrest the ball from the poor little girl's hand.

Time to go.

We needed to cross the road to the parking garage again...which, again, necessitated holding hands. My little girl ran away from me and hid in the bike rack.

Which was cute.

I have to call the museum visit a success despite all the screaming...and the little bit of blood. Granted, I was a wet rag crumpled in the driver's seat all the way home, but all four kids were in great spirits talking a mile a minute about how fun it was. I let myself be buoyed up by their now-fun energy, and by the time we got home I felt almost normal. Of course, once we walked in the door...

They started screaming.



  1. Sounds like our trips to the zoo. And for some reason, they won't keep them with the other chimps.

  2. Children's Museum's are 100 times better than "real" museums. I love them! I wanted to vomit a little when I read "toothpaste tube of pork" and I'm a meat eater. Poor astronauts, lol.

  3. This is so my life! The girls resort to screaming at each other a lot, it's crazy and fun. Glad you made it and ended up enjoying the trip.

  4. Sounds like you made the best of it even with the drama. I don't miss the drama but I miss a good reason to go to a cool place and act like a kid.

  5. Nope, not mature enough for a kid yet. Thanks for posting this! :)

  6. Honestly- if there wasn't any screaming-wouldn't you be worried?? Sounds like a fun day! :)

  7. I'm utterly exhausted just reading about your adventure today. Seriously, there's a reason why old people like me can't have kids. :)

  8. Oh, the drama. It wouldn't be a day trip with kids without it! :)

  9. Whew, exhausting I am sure!

  10. I freaking LOVE that you wrote this post. I can't even tell you how much. Because sometimes I feel like my kids are the ONLY kids who act this way....

  11. lol your outings are hilarious! Imagining the meltdowns is probably my favorite. The meltdown on BART when you got your Bay to Breakers bib is probably my favorite, haha.

    hilarious on toilets in space! And yea I don't want to imagine what happens in zero gravity if the toilet clogs! Those strawberries do indeed look nasty! Sounds like a cool place though!

  12. This sounds like fun minus the minor mishaps of the day. I can honestly say I can't remember ever seeing a toilet that they use in space but now I have!


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