Friday, June 25, 2010

The Vacation

After finishing with our wedding commitments, we drove to Williamsburg where my mother, brother and nephew had driven to meet us. We went to the Jamestown Settlement museum, which we would have enjoyed more if we hadn’t been delicate English flowers wilting in the heat of the New World. By which I mean it was really hot. “I’m used to English weather,” I thought. “Of course I can’t be expected to cope with this heat.” After a minute I realized the settlers must have felt the same way, getting off the boat from England into this oppressive humidity! I’d have been dead within the year, too.

The museum was great, though, especially the outdoor part. The next day we visited Colonial Williamsburg, though we only managed to see a small part of what was available. Heat, and lack of time. We really need to go back for several days next time, once K is old enough to appreciate the concept of something that happened before she was born. That child has no appreciation of history (but she really liked the three-cornered “pirate” hats).

After that my brother went home and we drove with my mother and nephew north to D.C. We were limited in what we could do with two kids in tow in hot weather, so we kept it casual and didn’t stretch ourselves too far. K still did a LOT of walking, though. She spent the whole time walking or riding on our shoulders.

While taking a break at Starbucks one afternoon, K had a conversation with a lady at the next table. They had a real conversation covering a range of topics (their names, what they were doing, sunglasses, pirates, umbrellas, forget what else?) in which at no point did I need to step in and clarify what K was saying – the stranger understood it all. K’s speech really is getting a lot more intelligible lately, and her sentences are shaping up with some more structure to them. I was impressed with the content, too: questions, answers, real exchange of thoughts. Fortunately the lady was patient with an extremely friendly little girl in a coffeeshop.

We would have loved to go to all the Smithsonian museums, but with time short and a two-year-old’s interest difficult to catch, we opted for the Natural History Museum. She LOVED the dinosaur hall. One small dinosaur she instantly picked out as “K dinosaur”. It said it was a 1/6 scale representation of a...triceratops, I think? She loved that it was small like her. The Tyrannosaurus Rex was the “Apo dinosaur”. Her other favorite section was the insects, where she got to touch a stick insect and hold a cockroach in her hand (!). I wasn’t going to do it, but she wanted to! Our other close insect encounter was the day before, when K got stung by a bee on her finger. She talked about both events for days. (We also dressed her in a dress with little bumblebees on it the next day. Was that mean? We were going for "funny". And in the store when she liked the umbrella with the bees, too...well...she needed an umbrella, anyway!)

The Slovak and I thought the forensic history section was fascinating, but K was oddly uninterested. She had had a long and eventful day by then, so we whipped through the animal and undersea sections and went on our way.

In the evening we went to meet one of the Slovak’s childhood friends, who lives 6 blocks behind the Capitol. We had a lovely visit with him and his wife, who is from Colombia. They are raising their 1.5 year old daughter with Spanish, Slovak and English. When they walked us to the metro stop, we drew a few curious glances with our mix of English, Spanish, Slovak and Czech depending on which adult was addressing which other adult or child… I thought it was great. I also thought it was great how much Spanish I still understand, when it’s addressed at a toddler.

I loved the tourism, monuments, battlefields, even more the time spent with friends, but the most important thing we did with our week was allow grandmother and granddaughter to spend time together. I'm pretty sure we could have stayed in the hotel room the entire week and it would have been a success!

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