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Finding My Type

alec vanderboom

This week is the grand opening of the Smithsonian’s Ocean Exhibit. My kids were tired, hungry and exhibiting major allergy sneezes at Rosary Group. A normal Mom might sound a quick retreat back to the safe confines of home.

Undeterred, I yanked my three up forty-five stairs to the Museum of Natural History. How can we waste a trip to the City, I thought. Especially since there is a grand opening this week!

I was vindicated. A quick hotdog and some gummy dinosaurs revived my drooping crew. The problem was that there was just TOO much excitement.

I’ve realized that I reached the stage where traveling alone in a Museum is next to impossible. Mimi is loudly discontent in her stroller and insists on walking herself. At almost 4, Alex has suddenly lost his ability to stay with a group. Everything around him is too interesting and he wants to go his own way. Meanwhile, Hannah has reached that critical age where every single scientific video is fascinating. “But I want to see the whole thing, Mama. It’s not done yet!” This plea accompanied every single interactive exhibit at the Smithsonian, even the incredibly dull videos on Soil Erosion!

Still we waddled along together, a little disorganized, a little discontent. Along the way some marvelous things happened. Alex remembered the concept of ‘exoskeleton’ during a tarantula feeding demonstration, Hannah got to gaze longingly at the Hope Diamond, Mimi got to wander around the same exhibits as her Mom, and I got to justify hours spent watching Superman this week with “Look, the San Andreas Fault! Remember how Lex Luther wanted California to fall into the sea?” (Who said that my Netflix choices weren’t educational?)

In the middle of the Volcano exhibit, when I lost sight of each one of my children multiple times, I suddenly discovered my people. There were so many other mothers who dawdled over exhibits with dense type while their young kids arched their backs in their strollers.

“I’m a Smithsonian Mom,” I decided. I don’t do pre-school athletic teams or gymboree or catered birthday parties. The “soccer mom” label is never really going to fit. But man, give me a giant Plaster of Paris whale and some microscope slides of plant algae, and my inner geek is so satisfied!

Feels so good to finally know my mom type! I’m can’t wait to revisit my people at the renewed opening of the American History Museum this Fall!