Small Hands in the Big World

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Aquarium Camp Adventures

I felt like a thoughtless bozo letting William pick a shark tooth necklace out from the Seattle Aquarium store the other day. It wasn’t until after we were in the car and driving home that it dawned on me that I didn’t know how that tooth was obtained. Lo and behold, sweet William was wondering the same thing. “How did they get this tooth from the shark, Momma?” he asked, so I called the store to find out. Thankfully, I learned that shark teeth are abundant in some parts of the world and can be gathered like shells at the bottom of the sea (shark “shed” their teeth and grow new ones on a regular basis) so no animal was harmed in order for William to acquire such a super cool sharp-tooth necklace. “Good, Momma, I’m glad no diver went down and gunned a shark for this tooth,” said my dear earnest boy. Now I’m left wondering if it was very wise to give a 5-year-old a sharp-anything to wear around his neck… sigh… by the time I get parenting figured out, he’ll be all grown up. With any luck, he’ll at least be one very compassionate grown up (with only a few shark tooth puncture wounds scars along the way).

Oh, and speaking of getting “gunned,” it has been a week full of lessons… or I should say, attempted lessons. Parking in downtown Seattle is outrageous. On the first day of this 3-day “Family Fun” camp at the aquarium, I hit the “Max Time” button on the payment station and paid $16 for 4 hours of parking. Ouch. (And by the way, this isn’t a spot in some nice parking garage; we’re talking street spot under the noisy, dirty Seattle viaduct that may collapse at any moment.) Returning to our car that same day, we saw that the person in the car next to us must have had the same reaction and opted not to purchase so much time. They were getting a ticket. All of this was very exciting for William and Sara, seeing a buff bike cop with helmet and sunglasses generate a parking ticket is big time entertainment in their world. Anyhow, their smug Momma explained in her all-knowing Mommy voice that those people didn’t put in enough money so they got in trouble.  (Yeah, karma is gonna get me….)

On the second day, I didn’t want to pay so much so we purchased less time and I explained that we’d have to go back to the car quickly after class so we wouldn’t get a ticket. So $11.25 later, we were on our merry way with time to spare but upon returning to the car, we see a bright and shining $46 ticket under my windshield wiper! Apparently it was irrelevant that the white lines on the ground indicated parking spots and payment stations located in both directions do not mean that parking is allowed in those spots. Smug Momma became deep-breathing, trying-to-respond-appropriately Momma. Poor William was terrified “what if you don’t pay it, Momma, are they going to gun you down?” Guess I hadn’t explained it so well the previous day after all… and sure enough, once I had the kids safely buckled and locked in the car I looked closer and found the low sign hidden by other parked cars, it was marked “No parking north of this sign.” BASTARDS!!!!  No, I didn’t say that out loud… I behaved and reassured my children that Mom would not be shot for this parking infraction.
Oh well, at least they had a LOT of fun.
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