Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Horrifying Hyde Park

The Tot (Who's Not) is less than 3 weeks away from his 5th birthday. This means, of course, that he's teetering on the edge of a developmental cusp, which is making him irritable, irrational. and just plain cranky. Yesterday's tantrum through Trader Joe's, which gradually abated after a well-meaning older gentleman told him that The Tot's screams were hurting his ears, was nothing compared to the doozy he threw today in Hyde Park. 

For some reason (my dad!), I have an enduring affinity for Hyde Park and the U. of Chicago. This started long before Obama lived there, or his kids or Emmanuel's went to Lab. I have been on campus on only a handful of occasions, and have little occasion to even visit Hyde Park these days except on a casual detour on the way to or from MSI

But with a trip to MSI planned for today, and a late start caused by a too-late bedtime (mine), I was able to make such a detour this morning. 

Hyde Park will never want to see us again. 

We ate lunch at Medici on 57th Street, splitting two huge sandwiches between the four of us to save room (and cash) for dessert from among the bakery's delectable pastries. Unfortunately, this arrangement did not suit The Tot and he spent the next 20 minutes screeching while a steady stream of UC students, grad students, and their parents looked on with reactions ranging from bemused understanding to confusion to annoyance to abject horror. I'm taking a page from the Scandinavian parenting playbook and resolutely ignoring this behavior, allowing my child to act like a child even in public. 

The Tot's tantrum continued to the car, across the Midway Plaisance to MSI, ad for 5 minutes after we'd parked, punctuated only by ear-piercing screams and the removal of his shoes (and socks) to fling at me. Eventually, after The Girl, The Boy, and I sat on the curb for quite some time, he realized that he was cold and deemed to put on his socks and shoes and walk (quite nicely, I might add) to the museum with the rest of us (holding hands, in chronological order, as The Girl pointed out. It was like someone had flipped a switch. 

We let our MSI membership lapse due to a glitch with Groupon and the membership department at MSI (I'm not paying $100 every 6 months for a membership), so we entered the museum today on a CPL pass, and purchased tickets ($10 adults, $8 kids 3-11y) to the Mythbusters exhibition separately. We got to the museum at just before 1, and our entry time to Mythbusters was not until 4 p.m., so we spent a very long three hours in the museum, waiting for the chance to see the big stuff. It was crazy crowded with families on spring break from within the city and outside of Illinois, and several private school groups. We ran into some school friends in the line at Finnegan's Ice Cream Parlor, where The Boy, The Girl, and The Tot enjoyed $3 ice-creams-in-a-dish and I finished the other half of our sandwich from Medici.

I kind of thought the Mythbusters exhibit was overrated, but The Girl and The Boy, marathon watchers of the show itself, really enjoyed it.  The Tot just ran around like a maniac through the walking-versus-running rainwater space. There were a few "try it yourself" interactive stations within the exhibit, lots of props, and a live Mythbusters-style show. It was as well done as the MSI's previous special exhibits that I've seen, such as Harry Potter and Body Worlds.

We were all pretty exhausted by the time we finally left the museum at just after 5 p.m.

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