Forgetting Fries in the Science Museum

I promised Robert a trip  to the Science Museum.. He kept asking for it persistently since Monday afternoon.  In the past he kept repeating, “Museum, Museum”  Now he was more precise demanding, “Science Museum”.  Except that his speech was so unclear, that it took me a while to understand him.

In the morning, we studied together mixing subjects and grade levels. Second grade science ( water cycles), fifth grade math ( decimals), and third grade reading. We  followed with our daily routine of  practicing  long vowel  sounds, talking in sentences, expanding them, and asking questions

I planned to leave for the Museum after lunch, but  since  I did not feel well, I waited for my husband to go with us.  During the summer, the Museum remains  opened until 7PM.  We got there a few minutes after five.  Robert immediately pulled his father toward  the cafeteria which, to his chagrin, was already closed and thus did not have fries.  Robert, however,  does not give up  on fries easily.

As we walked through Math section of the Museum watching different surfaces made by the soap bubbles on varied shapes, Robert loudly reminded us about the whole purpose of his trip, “Fries, fries, fries.”

“What did you say?” We taught Robert to answer that question with one word or phrase instead of repeating the same words many times. We pretend  not to understand him, until he says just one word.  Usually, he articulates that one word much clearer than three quickly repeated sounds.

“French Fries” said Robert.

“Robert, we are now in the Museum.  We are not talking about food. We will look at this funny train that goes on both sides of the tracks.”  I pushed the button to demonstrate to Robert  one-sided surface.  He patiently waited until the train stopped and then went to his father.

“Fries, fries, fries”, I heard him from another corner. He was determined and loud.  Robert’s dad was evasive, “No Robert, not now.” “Fries, fries, fries” , Robert mistook  evasiveness for weakness and kept insisting.

I joined them, “We won’t get fries today.   We can go home or stay here and see more.  What do you want, go home or see more?”

“See more”, said Robert, only to ask for fries yet again on the way to the playground section of the Museum.  As it is usually the case, this section is occupied by children even when other parts of the  museum  are  empty.  Robert is too big to mix with excited, running  3, 5,or 10 years old, so instead he checked the strengths of his jumps on the platform connected to the screen by watching the waves he created on the graph.  That caught his attention.  He noticed the connection between his jumps and oscillating curve and kept jumping and watching.  Still, before we reached a section where you build a computer model of a fish,  place it in the water, and direct its movements,  he called for fries, yet again.  This time I ignored it,

We built the fish, maybe even two, and then walked to see other models.  Most of the computers were already abandoned, as the visitors were slowly leaving, so Robert could move from one to another, to another.  And he did.  Sometimes, just for a second or two.  Enough to push a button and see what would happen.  Other times,  he sat and observed longer, as it was the case with computer models of different regions from Alaska to Yosemite. As he moved from monitor to monitor, he forgot to ask for fries.  We wandered through the museum for twenty more minutes searching for the skeleton on the bike and live chicks hatching from eggs.  We stopped at every place that attracted Robert’s attention, and resumed walking as soon as Robert lost interest.   We did not find the skeleton on the bike or live chicks.  Supposedly they were undergoing a renovation whatever that might mean.

We paid for the parking, got in the car and hit the traffic on a way home.

“Fries, fries, fries”, said Robert meekly.  I did not bother to answer.  From the tone of his voice I deduced he had given up on fries already.

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