How I Almost Ruined
Our Trip to the Baltimore Aquarium
7:00 a.m. Stu brings Ethan to my bed. Ethan snuggles into my out-stretched arm. Hand him sippy of milk. Turn on MMCH (toddler slang for Mickey Mouse Club House).
7:10 a.m. Check email on phone with one eye. Pretend it’s normal to have more than one blog comment waiting for me and immediately reply.
7:15 a.m. Get up. Exclaim to Ethan “We’re going to see the fishies today!!! Get excited!!!” Brush teeth. Wash face.
7:30 a.m. Head downstairs for breakfast. Ethan requests applesauce. I give him frosted mini-wheats. “I drink milk?” he asks. “Not till the cereal is gone” my daily response. He eats half the cereal, removes rest with his hands, discards on table and announces, “Now I drink milk.”
7:32 a.m. Come to terms with being outsmarted by a 2 year old. Decide I can’t argue with this reasoning.
7:40 a.m. Get dressed. Decide my air-dried, bed-head hair looks fine. Get Ethan dressed.
8:00 a.m. Pack extra diapers, granola bars, full snack cup, fruit gummies, camelbak, keys, and winter hats as I have no idea what the weather is supposed to do and don’t trust The Weather Channel.
8:10 a.m. Read Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel to Ethan. Sing “No Steam Shovels” song by request.
8:20 a.m. Empty dishwasher while simultaneously “eating” pizza that Ethan brings me from his kitchen.
8:35 a.m. Favorite part of the morning…making my latte. With whole milk. And Splenda.
8:45 a.m. Time to walk out the door! Get down two steps before catching a whiff of Ethan’s diaper.
8:50 a.m. Change crazy-gross-paste-like poopy diaper while Ethan acts oblivious. Explain once again he should tell me when this happens. He says, “Mama, have poopy diaper.”
8:55 a.m. Dealing with nasty diaper. Accidentally turn my diaper sprayer on too high and spray poop all over the toilet and white shower curtain.
8:57 a.m. Take down shower curtain. Wipe down toilet. Put diaper in hamper. Put curtain in washer.
9:05 a.m. Try to carry too many things to the car WHILE holding Ethan’s hand and end up spilling my beautiful, untouched latte all over the side of my car and the ground. The whole thing. Somehow Ethan and I are (mostly) spared.
9:07 a.m. Back inside to wipe off coffee drips, throw travel cup in sink and make new latte…this one is iced.
9:12 a.m. Head back out to the car with just coffee and Ethan. Strap boy in, hand him a book, get in car, start driving. Animated movie themes CD blaring, latte being consumed, everyone is happy.
9:35 a.m. Book is traded in for iPad. Toy Story now blaring in backseat while I tune into Sirius Coffeehouse.
10:15 a.m. HELLO Charm City! We do a drive-by of the Aquarium and check out the HUGE boats parked near by. Ethan has cast aside the iPad to take it all in. “Big boat!” he says.
10:17 a.m. Find the parking garage that offers “aquarium discount”. Pull in. Look for a spot.
10:20 a.m. Suddenly realize I FORGOT MY WALLET.
10:23 a.m. Find parking attendant to void my ticket so I can get out of the garage for which I have no money to pay. Not One Dime.
10:25 a.m. Realize how bad I’ve screwed this up. Realize Ethan just spent his morning sitting in a car with the promise of fish and now we have to just turn around and drive back. Realize I only have a quarter tank of gas. Panic sweat and disappointment begin as I point my car towards home.
10:26 a.m. ”Mamma, see fishies now?”
10:27 a.m. Heart melts. Pull over and search every crevice of car for currency.
10:28 a.m. Decide I can make this happen.
10:29 a.m. Wonder if I found a branch of my bank they’d let me withdraw money with no debit card or form of ID. Think about asking someone at a hotel to loan me money with a promise I’ll send them a check. Wonder if I post my predicament on Facebook someone I know will happen to be in town and can loan me money.
10:31 a.m. Realize I’m insane. Call Stu, tell him I forgot my wallet.
10:32 a.m. “Mama. Fishies” Ethan is getting restless. Hand him snack cup to buy another ten minutes.
10:35 a.m. Remember the aquarium has online ticketing!!!
10:40 a.m. Pull into metered parking hoping for a call-in payment option. No luck. Decide to risk the ticket.
10:45 a.m. Start walking with Ethan in stroller. Realize in my flustered state I parked WAY too far from the aquarium. (It’s 32 degrees outside and windy)
10:48 a.m. Load stroller and Ethan back in car. Promise “only two more minutes” of driving.
10:52 a.m. Arrive at metered parking two blocks from aquarium. Don’t pay. Start walking.
10:53 a.m. Realize some form of identification may be necessary. Go back for car insurance card from glove box.
10:54 a.m. Walking. Try purchasing online tickets. Told my “transaction cannot be completed at this time.” Mutter obscenities at phone. Decide I’ll ask to use the ticket counter computer.
10:57 a.m. Arrive at giant ticket “kiosk” outside aquarium. Realize how embarrassing my story is going to be in front of line of people. See nice-looking ticket-security-person and approach. Tell him my story.
11:00 a.m. Follow incredibly-nice-ticket-security-guy past ticket line, straight into aquarium. He tells me to have a great visit. Hold myself back from bursting into tears and hugging him.
11:05 a.m. Forced to use stroller check, no strollers allowed. Good thing it’s free.
11:10 a.m. A solid hour of fishies ensues.
12:20 p.m. Lunch time. Present granola bars, fruit gummies, water, and snack cup to Ethan.
12:22 p.m. Ethan eats everything. He gives me bites. We gaze out over the Baltimore harbor.
12:30 p.m. Time to check out dolphins. Find out there are SIX of them swimming around in giant pool. Realize Ethan’s never seen a dolphin and watch as he proceeds to FREAK OUT.
1:00 p.m. Find seats for dolphin show. Nervous since we have now reached Ethan’s nap time.
1:05 p.m. Find out how to become a dolphin trainer and consider talking to Stu about going back to school for a Life Sciences degree to be followed by scuba certification.
1:10 p.m. Dolphins start doing stuff. Ethan smiles in delight the whole time.
1:30 p.m. Show ends with grand finale of super-high dolphin jumps. Ethan announces “I love dolphins”.
1:40 p.m. Arrive at stroller check. Realize I’ve dropped my check ticket somewhere in the aquarium. Attendant asks for ID. Hand over insurance card. Explain missing wallet.
1:41 p.m. Fill out form identifying self and stroller.
1:45 p.m. Chase down over-tired Ethan and restrain in stroller.
2:00 p.m. Arrive at car. Load up.
2:02 p.m. Do a dance because there’s NO PARKING TICKET!!!!!
2:05 p.m. ”Dolphins jump way high. I like dolphins.”
As you can see, not all our “exploring” trips go as planned. I’ve learned it never hurts to ask for help. Most people will be more than happy.
My only tip? Always take extra granola bars.
**And, in case you were wondering, we made it home with gas to spare.