Thursday, June 27, 2013

San Diego (part 3) - More of Being There

One day I decided that, while we weren't going to any theme parks I was going to take the kids to the toy railroad museum in Balboa Park. I think I noticed it in a pamphlet I was flipping through in the hotel. The kids, especially Enzo, are very into playing with trains.

Ana, however, fell asleep for her nap on the way there and didn't wake up until later when we had left and were at a cafe in Balboa Park eating.

Here is the funny part. This was a big museum for small toy trains. Almost immediately upon entering Enzo was asking me where the trains are that we could touch and play with. I told him I wasn't sure where they were or if they had any but we would look and see if they had some. He asked several times in the first 50 feet of our travels. And then we found this little area for kids with Thomas trains to play with. He was delighted! He didn't want to leave. We had barely seen anything of the museum and all The Kid wanted to do was play with toy trains just like the ones he has so many of at home. That was all he needed out of that museum. I decided to let him play for a while. His sister was sleeping and I had to realize that I brought him here for his amusement and so even if I wanted to check out the exhibits the trip was mostly for him. In the while that we were in this area, I got to here other parents say aloud the exact things I was thinking like: come on, look at all these other trains, let's go see what else there is here, I wonder what other trains there are to look at, but you HAVE all of these trains at HOME!, okay 1 more minute but then we are going to go look at the displays. Eventually, I did say we would go explore in 5 more minutes and then we did.

What got the kid excited? There was a tile train track on the floor with names of financial donors to the museum and Enzo thought it was fun that we pretended the stroller was a train on the track as we toured through the train displays. Seriously, playing with the Thomas toys and cruising the tile track in the stroller were the main exhibits for him. Kids are funny.

And then we hit the big prize. We stopped in the gift shop where Enzo became amazingly excited about an "up and down train." "Papi, an up and down train!!!!!! Remember my up and down train broke? Look at this up and down train, can we take this with us?!!!!" It took a few questions of mine and his attempts at patient answers before I understood. But then I got what he was explaining to me. This particular toy train had the side rods (I just looked up the proper name on the internet, also called coupling rods) that connect the wheels and go up and down as the wheels roll just like real steam trains have. He was SOOO excited about this. I handed him the money his Grandma and Grandpa gave him for the trip and he paid the nice lady at the counter for his new Up and Down train.

Best money spent on the whole trip, it was. That train practically became a part of the family for the rest of the trip. It was always close at hand if not actually in his hand. He held it at all times in the car seat whether to play with or to hold as he slept. At nights it was next to the bed on the night stand. It joined us for every meal. At parks it traveled every concrete edge. If he needed to put it down to climb a ladder for a slide he would run up to me, place the train in my pocket, and then go. It didn't get placed on the floor at beaches or parks if he wasn't playing with it. And now, back at home as I write this, it is his favorite toy and is his main train on his wooden train tracks.

(You can see the train here in his hands as we play at a playground in Balboa Park. This was after the train had circumnavigated the playground twice.)

I loved having so much time with the kids. It was wonderful. And each day, it was wonderful to meet with Tami for more exploring and dinner and family time.

(Ana climbing the flag pole supports in Old Town.)

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