Monday, January 5, 2009

Fight or Fight? or "Oh, no, it's family day at the museum"

Sunday afternoon at the science museum. It seemed like the best laid plan. My friend "T" and her son "J" would meet up with Sayer and I and cross the river over to OMSI, the great science museum in Portland. Our family has been an OMSI member for years, and on our last trip as a foursome, "T" joined as well.

So, membership cards in wallet, we set off. Our first sign that something was different was the traffic guard pointing us to the overflow parking lot for the overflow parking lot. Mmmn? Was it a new exhibit? Our question was soon answered by the "Family Day" banner.

Family Day is the first Sunday of the month, we found out, with deeply reduced admission fees. Let me say right off that I think family days are very important and a great way to reach out to people who may not otherwise be able to enjoy a cultural attraction. That said, as a mothers of a child on the autism spectrum, my heart beat quickened and my hands started to sweat. Crowds, noise and autism - a precarious combination.

The museum was packed. The kids actually handled it fairly well, but I was on high-level alert the entire visit to make sure Sayer could cope with the excess stimulation. His attention span was even briefer than usual, and he and I made the circuit of his favorite spots pretty quickly. Not quite like going to the Met by myself and gazing for minutes at a Monet.

Since we were all members with unlimited admission, we didn't feel bad that we didn't stay as long as we usually do, or get to see a show at the planetarium (they were sold out). Luckily, we were able to lure the boys out with the promise of a trip to Ben & Jerry's for ice cream. Good thing - I needed some Cherry Garcia to recuperate. My own tolerance for noise and crowds is decreasing as I get older.

When Sayer and I got home, I finally relaxed, well, OK, fell into a deep nap. "T" and I both agree to avoid OMSI visits the first Sunday of the month in the future. Sometimes the greater good and instinct for individual survival collide!

1 comment:

Pam said...

Hi, I so agree about crowds. And yes, I also find that I don't tolerate them as well as I used to. Pam