Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Working Wonders

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Working Wonders

Brian and I decided we need to get out and do more now that Erik is (a) eating more normal food and (b) is not crying like he did. It is much easier to go places and do things now. For months we were pretty much stuck in our own home, and we are accustomed to being homebodies. It wasn't a bad thing, but we are ready to get out into the world again. Erik is generally up for anything now. There is a children's museum in the new, trendy part of town (which I normally avoid like the plague) called Working Wonders, and we have wanted to try it out for some time. It was promising to be a very hot day, so we set off early just as Erik was wanting his 3-hour nap, hoping the distraction would make him forget he was losing consciousness and wanted to be in his bed. I strapped him in the car with his book about wheels, and he was happy as could be. When we arrived, there was hardly a car in sight, and I was afraid the museum wasn't open. We were quite pleased to find we were their first customers of the day. The interior of the museum is arranged like a tiny town with storefronts and even a park in the middle with a big trunk of costumes, a stage for kids to perform on, and park benches for the parents. We first went inside the grocery store, complete with miniature shopping carts and faux food on the shelves. Any child is free to don an apron and get behind the checkout counter to man the cash register or just shop around. There was a big tub of rice with scoops and such, and Erik played with that for some time. He doesn't really know how to scoop up things and dump them out yet but filled cups with rice using his hand, which I thought was rather impressive. He even pushed a shopping cart for a short distance before suddenly dropping to put his ear on the ground to watch the wheels on the cart turn. Just outside the store was a construction zone, and Erik was quite thrilled with the magnetic gears on the wall that could be arranged and turned. There were giant Lincoln logs and foam blocks to stack and a little home under construction with paintbrushes, pretend paint, and plumbing and wiring that could be installed. There was a post office with letters that needed to be delivered. There was a travel section with a little Japanese home you could visit, complete with a futon, dishes, and little Japanese shoes to take off at the door. There was a pizza parlor with "ovens," a pizza making station, and fabric pizza fixings. There was a corner featuring the great outdoors and fitness with climbing wall, tent, kayak, and large and small stationary bikes (Erik didn't reach the pedals but looked ADORABLE). There was a corner for toddlers with a tub full of plastic balls in it, and Erik settled down into that like a woman of leisure taking a bubble bath, relaxed and happy in front of a mirror so he could gaze at himself, sinking lower and lower until I thought he would fall asleep, much to the obvious disgust of another toddler who was told by his mother to wait for Erik to finish playing on this exhibit. There was a veterinary office, complete with x-ray machines and scales. There were even stuffed animals in a pen waiting to be examined. There was an art studio where Erik once again demonstrated he could make marks on paper with crayons, even though he still doesn't see the point and lost interest immediately. There was a tub full of dirt and worms. There were a lot of neat things for kids to do and play with, and by the time we had seen a lot of it, there were a handful of families touring around. As Erik went up to the third stranger at the end and wanted to be held, I finally started to feel myself slipping a bit emotionally. I admit the fact he will approach anyone and put his arms up to be held is extremely frightening to me and makes me very uncomfortable. He has only been walking a matter of 3 months, which has opened up a new world for all of us, and I am still adjusting to it. I can see it is going to take some time for me. I remember the first time he did this at Barnes and Noble one day, when he crawled up into a woman's lap. It is interesting to see how adults react to a small child hanging onto them as if he has known them for years or is part of their family. All seem to be a little surprised, most of them very pleased, and some visibly slightly annoyed when they realize he is hanging on them or staring at them without any intention of stopping. I do know that I don't like other people touching my child, but most are only being polite and think he is very cute. Most people laugh when he is so unusually affectionate and make a big fuss over him. It is hard being a person like me who likes to be very polite but keep to myself, as I am now finding it necessary to interact more with people I don't know and fighting the urge to take him from them too quickly. This interaction is not necessarily a bad thing, as most people are wonderful, but it is still very hard for me. I think it will get easier with time. I asked Brian today if people can tell something isn't right about Erik when they ask how old he is. We are not really sure. In the end, I suppose it shouldn't matter to me, but I ask because I am very curious at how the world sees my kid. As he grows, there are definitely differences becoming more apparent. After driving home, we put him in his crib after an exceptionally messy PB&J sandwich, and I passed out on the couch in front of my crime shows for a much-needed nap. Oregon State is still in the College World Series, and Erik and Brian are now watching the game. I can hear happy hollering from downstairs, so it must be going well. Erik is finally feeling like himself again and has been cracking me up all day. What a character! His repertoire of funny faces is unrivaled by any toddler I know. I know his birthday is 3 months away, but this morning I placed a bid on a long loaf cake pan on eBay and am planning his party already. I am doing a truck theme and will be attempting a fire truck birthday cake I saw in a magazine. I am thinking red frosting might be the most hideous, unnatural thing I have ever concocted in my kitchen, but I'll do anything for my Skooby and his great love of the wheel. It's either that or a dump truck. I haven't decided. What this all boils down to is that I find it crucial for to me to have something to look forward to, no matter how small. That's the report from the Big House this lazy Sunday. I think my hair is turning into a frizzball from sitting next to this swamp cooler, so it's time to fire up the barbecue, get dinner going, and close for now.


Blogger Kerry said...

That museum sounds AWESOME.. I am extremely jealous and wished we didn't live across the US.

We get a lot of "wow, he's small!" when people ask how old our 8-month is. I told my husband we should start saying he's 2-months old and let people marvel at how alert he is for a 2-month old!

7:57 PM  
Blogger John A. Frye said...

It's good to hear that you guys all got out after the stomach bug. Reading your blog is a daily ritual and one of the highlights of my day. I think a LOT about you! Post more pictures of Erik if you have them.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Lisa R said...

I Love the Poem... And the museum sound so cool I think we may have to visit;)....I think Eric is a beautiful healthy two yr. old and I am sure everyone that sees him out thinks the same. I also worry about what people think, but if Tatum looks as good as Eric I guess I shouldn't.

4:22 AM  

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