Yesterday I decided to take the kids downtown. Laura is on the other side of the country with our good friend Marianne whose mother dies. That leaves me home alone with the five young kids. Rather than simply sit around the house all day I solicited ideas of what to do. Going to the aquarium was the best idea so that’s where we headed out early-ish. Well, we were on the road before 9, which can be an accomplishment in itself.
This was something my wife would never attempt. She wouldn’t want me to do this necessarily, but I wasn’t afraid. I knew I would have to be cautious and alert keeping track of each of the kids. And this is why she wouldn’t want to do this, and I understand. It can be, no, it is scary being downtown with just yourself in charge of a group of kids. The chance for them to get lost or worse increases exponentially the more of them you have.
What I do in situations like this is take a picture of the kids either before we go out or right as we get to our destination so I not only have a current picture but also I have note of what clothes they are wearing. If I need to contact anybody for any reason I don’t need to be flustered trying to remember which shirt which child is wearing. Also several times I stop to impress upon them all as a group to stay together.
I am constantly looking around, being aware of my surroundings, which child is right next to me, which one is behind me, etc. I don’t get to enjoy the sights but, and this is the whole point, the kids get to have a fun outing. I was thinking of my grandparents, my grandmother in particular, who would not be able to get around so well in her later years. She would still love to go out and do things with her grandchildren, but mostly sit and watch them have a good time. I can only imagine how much joy she would get from watching all these great-grandchildren have a good time.
It was in that spirit I decided to go ahead and venture forth with 5 children. Our first task was getting out off the house. If I can’t wrangle 5 kids out of the house, how am I going to be expected to keep track of them downtown?
We found parking by the Pike Place Market. It was just after 9am and I figured maybe we could spend a little time at the market on the way to the aquarium. As we blew through it was apparent most of the stalls were not set up yet. Many were unloading their cars and trucks. This felt… weird. Shouldn’t Pike Place Market vendors be ready to go at 9, even on a weekday, especially during the summer? There were plenty of tourists there already.
Moving on to the Seattle Aquarium, the kids had a blast. We almost always have a set path we take when visiting – tide pools first, octopus, the fish tanks, marine birds, giant underwater dome, etc. The Seattle Aquarium almost seems to be laid out in such a way that it is meant to be visited in a specific order.
While we were having a great time we wound up having to cut our visit short. We saw everything but could not linger as long as we would have liked. Why? Because the parking meter was going to expire and I needed to go get in the van or pay for more parking. A trip back to the aquarium before the summer is over is necessary.
Since it was close to lunch time I decided to blast through Pike Place Market one more time now that stalls have opened and visit the Italian market. DeLaurenti sells pizza by the slice and I figured it would be a decent enough lunch in the market for the kids. I didn’t have any cash so we couldn’t get any of the doughnuts from Daily Dozen (and if you know what I am referring to, you understand how disappointing that is) but there is a bakery (aptly named Pike Place Bakery) in the market we were able to get desert from.
Everybody got home (in time to put Tevye down for afternoon nap) and felt we had a great outing. Then I had to go and push my luck.
Today Ciaran’s orthodontist appointment went quicker than expected. So quick in fact we didn’t know what else to do with our morning. yesterday we had discussed possibly going to the International District and Uwajimaya, so I decided to go ahead and give that a try.
There are no pictures of this outing because it was a disaster. A complete failure of a trip. Tevye kept screaming, Ciaran complained because he couldn’t find Pokemon cards, which is the only thing he was interested it, and everybody simply was on the edge of bad behavior. Nothing truly bad, but it was borderline enough that we pulled the plug on lunch and simply headed home in defeat.