Phew! Back to blogging! Life and business has been coming at us full speed, so fun and just a little scary.
But for now, our trip…our adventure (and since more time has passed, we are passing into that phase where you start to forget all the little nuances and only recall the thrills – I will try not to be too rosey!)
Day 17: On our way to NYC – the BIG APPLE! Us – with nine young children – hitting the grandest city in the country! Did you know that NYC was originally purchased for $24! Yep – gotta love homeschool knowledge. (Won’t go into all the cultural issues associated with that purchase, that’s a topic for the highschool level!)
We started off after the morning rush hour passed (giving us time to get up, get the little ones fed and dressed, and get out the door) from Auntie Ria’s house, we packed everyone in the van, and drove to the Metro North station. We got tickets and played around, entertaining some folks on the platform. Then we caught the train into Grand Central Station. I still can’t believe that we were there! So far, so good – all 9 kids made it on and off the subway and up the ramp to that Grand place - thanks to Gripsterz! For most of our little guys, it was their first time there and the vaulted ceilings and grand scale of things was quite impressive for them.
After taking a few moments to “soak it all in” and look the place and the people over really good (and counting children, again) - we hit the streets of New York!
I have to break in here and tell you that I am the absolute BEST “counter to 9″ in the universe!!! My whole life (and 9 little ones) depends on it!
We strode down those city sidewalks and met up with a couple of cousins and some friends at the Museum of Natural History. … Can you picture our parade – not quite Macy’s but pretty close!
The museum was fun – lots of cool animals to see. Our favorite room to explore was the ocean room with it’s lifesize whale in the ceiling. Through the years, Dave and I have come to recognize that when you are visiting with other adults and trying the watch kids at the same time….bad things can happen! Your focus slips from the children to the adults and you just can’t count right! In our case, we had split up to tour different parts of the museum – and unknown to us…Dave’s cell phone battery had died and my walkie-talkie battery was dead! We were communicationless!!! So, me and my small group were standing in the very, very crowded entrance room, hoping that Daddy would sense where we were and come by. Eventually, we did meet and gather back in another room, however…our 7 yr/old missed the “move along” cue (he was distracted by boredom while waiting). All of our Gripsterz were occupied by smaller siblings and I was thrilled to be “together” again. It didn’t take long before Dave was counting to 9 (he is a very good counter also!) and he could only get to 8! Problem!!! In a flash, we acknowledged the problem (only 8!) and started the back-track search. Despite the large crowd of people, our 7 yr/old was quickly spotted by Dave, close to where we had been waiting in the entrance area.
Fortunately, while we were on the way into the city on the Metro North line, we role-played with all the kids what to do if you get lost or separated from the group, and we put business cards with cellphone contacts in their pockets, just in case something like this might happen. It was only about a minute before Dave noticed he was missing and circled back to get him. All was well, but the little guy got quite a scare and stayed really close for the rest of the outing! Thanks to the talk on the train he was able to keep it all together and not panic. I will share our tips about how to prepare kids for something like this at the end of this post.
After leaving the museum, we walked by Central Park and stepped in for a few minutes. What an incredible park!! After that great landmark we made our way back onto the subway and headed for Times Square! Are we not crazy!!! Our goal was to find somewhere to eat dinner, preferably somewhere nice. Times Square was crowded and busy (duh!). I kept having to remind the children to look up and capture the moment – take in the lights and all the signs. Nothing like the *bling* of Times Square! The dinner option was quickly blasted away by the 2 hr waits, so we opted for giant cookies instead! Cookies for dinner – how great is that!
Needless to say – the Metro ride home that night was rather solemn and quiet – most of our crew slept!
TIPS: Prepping your kids for crowded event or destination
- Dress the kids in colorful shirts or clothes, making them easily seen.
- Talk to them prior to going and tell them what to do if they get separated from you. Tell them to…
*Stay where they are, if they wander around looking for you they will only get even more lost
*If they see a police officer, ask for help – otherwise…
*Ask another mommy for help, a mother with a child will be least threatening to them and you and she will totally understand the panic that you and the child will be in. It is the safest option for reaching out to a stranger.
*Don’t be afraid to scream! Matter of a fact – do scream, call for Mommy or Daddy as loud as possible. Being lost is no time to get quite or be concerned about causing a scene!
- Place some kind of ID on your child(ren). There are great ones that you can buy, check out www.mypreciouskid.com or use whatever you have. Any sheet of paper, a business card, something that has your name and phone number on it. Tell your child what it is and when to use it. In a pinch, I have also heard of people writing on their child’s skin (back, arm, or leg)!
- Get a Gripsterz! Will help keep those little ones close and let everyone have fun! You just have to be a little careful in the most crowded spaces, wouldn’t want to “catch” someone in the strap – a good time to use the short Gripsterz strap!
–Note: For the following list of images, click on any thumbnail to enlarge the picture—