Last weekend, Saturday to be precise, hubby and I took sonny to see two of his favorite things in the world: Trains at the National Rail Museum and Planets at the Nehru Planetarium. To be honest, trains were sonny’s passion of 2014, this year (as I mentioned in one of my earlier blog posts “What a mess!“) is the year of celestial objects.
Sonny’s school is closed for a couple of weeks (before the start of next session) and he was getting bored staying home all the time. The weather is still not too hot in Delhi and we thought, why not? After a while, it will get impossible to get out of the house, so this time of the year is as perfect as it could get.
On Saturday, we left home immediately after breakfast and reached National Rail Museum pretty soon. Despite the crazy jumble of roads, the GPS lady 😉 was able to get us close to our destination quite well! The rest of the distance we covered by getting directions the usual way we always do it here in India 🙂 …through our friendly neighborhood paan wallahs, security guards and rickshaw-wallahs.
Anyway once we entered the museum complex, sonny was excited to see the red and black engine at the entrance. As we proceeded further, though, we realized that the exhibit part of the museum was closed for renovations. Unfortunately, the museum’s website is also in need of some serious renovation and did not provide us this information when we were planning the visit. (Some other sites did talk about construction work schedule of 2014 but we thought it was just stale news!)
Nonetheless, the outing was not a complete bust. Despite the construction work going on in parallel, there were many, many engines which caught sonny’s attention. And the best (as always) was the toy train ride of the premises.
The visit took about 1.5 hours tops (If the exhibits were open, it would have taken twice that time, I am guessing). We left around lunch time after getting sonny his umpteenth train engine from the souvenir shop on our way out.
Sonny had a great time, and as for us, the grown-ups, we felt proud of our heritage, though it still needs to be seen how we succeed or fail at showcasing it vis-à-vis the renovations. We could see the promise of a great museum there, but how it scales up once the exhibits reopen, is something for the future to tell. So we vowed to come back again once the constructions were completed.
After Phase-I of our day trip was over, we decided to eat lunch at Connaught Place. Sonny had already filled up on a chocolate milkshake and a glucose wafer bar on the way to the museum and food was the last thing on his mind. He promptly fell asleep hugging his toy train within the first five minutes of our 30-minute drive to CP (20 minutes to reach there and 10 minutes to find the perfect parking spot 😉 ).
He was still asleep when we walked into a Chinese restaurant (I have no idea what its name was….Zen or something! We were looking for a TGIF but could not find one, so gave in and entered the first restaurant that piqued our attention). Credit goes to us that we dared to enter another restaurant so soon after sonny’s “puke-fest” the last time we went (not counting a rushed dinner at Haldiram’s last to last week), but sonny was still sleeping soundly and given that he had had quite a morning running around locomotives, chances were good that he would not wake up from his nap anytime soon.
And that’s exactly what happened. For the first time in a really…really long time, our conversation did not get limited to requests of “please don’t do this or please don’t do that”. Instead, we were free to talk about grown-up stuff without getting interrupted by a “jealous” 3.5 years old 😉 Although, I must admit, for the first 10-15 minutes, I was quite certain that he would spring upon us, literally and figuratively and start entertaining us with his “plate & fork music”. But he kept snoring on. It was as if he were saying: “If you keep me happy like this, I will leave you guys alone from time to time!”.
So blessed with our son’s magnanimity, we had a leisurely lunch. It was a nice break from the “chugga-chugga choo choos” and “red train, blue train, green train, yellow train” chants from sonny. So much so that by the time we exited the restaurant, we were almost ready to give up on Phase-II of our trip and just go on strolling aimlessly in CP.
We still had just about the right amount of time to catch the 3:00 PM show at the Nehru Planetarium and despite some happy inertia, we decided in favor of going. Sonny was still asleep but we knew he would be up by then.
And boy, were we glad we decided to go! I woke sonny up at the entrance of the planetarium telling him we were going to see the planets. He was immediately up and excited by the prospect. He forgot all about his sleep-induced irritability.
There was a huge line outside the planetarium for entry tickets. Hubby stood in line while I looked around to see if there was any restroom I could take sonny to (He was on a liquid diet of water, milkshake, and juice mostly throughout the trip and I was sure he needed to pee). Unfortunately, there was none outside the planetarium, but the security guard at the entry told us that I could go in with sonny while hubby stood in line.
Sonny’s eyes widened the moment we were past the entrance. I took him to the restroom but he refused to pee…there was no way he was going to miss even one second of his “astronomical” experience. So, despite my extreme worry of a pee accident waiting to happen, I was forced to give up and bring sonny back to his planets.
And boy, was he hooked! Be it the telescope on display or the astronaut’s uniform or just plain old photos of planets and stars, he kept gazing at them with the awe that only a child could muster.
When finally it was time for the show at the sky theater, sonny was so excited and happy that we were extremely glad that we’d come. The show was mostly about Mars and the history of the search for “Martians” and the various Mars expeditions. For me and hubby, it was boring (more so because I had hoped for a show involving all the planets and not just one! Perhaps next time we will come to the appropriate show 🙂 ). But our lack of enthusiasm was more than made up by sonny’s exclamations and we enjoyed watching him more being awestruck than the actual show.
Anyway, the show was around 50 minutes in length and sonny was captivated for the most part of it (not a big fan of history, though, I could tell). After a quick tea at the planetarium cafeteria and another milkshake for sonny (he refused to eat any solid food, what’s up with that?), it was finally time to go back home.
The ride back home consisted of numerous countdowns leading to blast off to Mars and vigorous, extremely loud whistle-blowing from sonny and hubby (On our way out of the planetarium, hubby had bought two whistles from a street vendor, one for himself and one for sonny…as if regular ruckus from sonny was getting boring and old! Sometimes I wonder if I am the only adult in the family 😉 ).
Since we were still a long way from home, I tried “pee-in-an-empty-bottle” technique with sonny in the car (I am sure people who have frequently traveled long distances in their vehicles with kids know what I am talking about!). Unfortunately, sonny developed a sudden shyness about this method (executed many times flawlessly in the past) and so once again, I was left worrying about an accident waiting to happen inside the car.
I was wrong. This kid is capable of holding “it” in from 9:00 am in the morning till 5:00 pm in the evening if he puts his mind to it (rather off it). Anyway, once back home, he went straight to the bathroom and peed forever!
As for the planets, all of a sudden, they are an even bigger part of our lives than before! In fact, that same day, when hubby went out in the evening with his friends, sonny’s immediate reaction was: “Oh no, Papa gone to Mars. Blast Off! Took red car!“. I was not sure if he was more concerned about his father blasting off to Mars or the fact that he took our family car with him!
That was Saturday last week and today is Wednesday. And sonny’s love for planets has grown by leaps and bounds since then. In fact, now, he is no longer satisfied with watching just cartoons about planets. He got a taste for the “real” photos/videos at the planetarium and “cartoon” planets no longer come close to quenching his thirst in the area.
I, being his “research assistant” and “head minion”, now have the additional responsibility daily of searching for new videos of planets and stars. (In case you have one such Curious George in your home, National Geographic and NASA have some of the best videos. In fact, NASA has an interactive app that you can install on your laptop which lets the kids explore celestial bodies based on mouse clicks or touchpad inputs.)
As much as I love the bragging rights of having a self-motivated (and somewhat obsessive compulsive, if I may add!) 3.5 year old who can name all eight planets and some of their salient features, I am already getting tired of hearing “Ma, planets. Show planets.” the moment I wake up in the morning. (In case you are about my age or older and wondering what happened to the ninth planet Pluto, well, it has been demoted to a dwarf planet and is no longer counted as a “main” planet of the solar system. Thank you very much for asking! Quite sad, if you really think about it…..it’s still exactly there the same way it has always been, but now nobody calls it a “real” planet anymore!).
So, there you have it! A weekend for the memory books. A weekend to infinity and beyond. Until the next time, ciao and keep exploring.