I love taking the boys on adventures. The desire stems in part from my commitment to broadening their world outside the four walls of our apartment and then in part from the fact that I get so bored with the daily humdrum of life that I, too, need something different to shake my routine up a bit. This weekend we had some new experiences that were enjoyed by all.

On Saturday, I took the boys to a jelly bean warehouse. My initial plan was to take them to a gummy bear factory, but they postponed tours this month in preparation for Easter. So I googled “candy factory tours” and came up with the jelly bean warehouse. Penguin has been going through a serious love of jelly beans phase and so I knew it would be a hit with him. Plus, you drive through the warehouse on something called an express train. Two for one on the “likes” chart there. When I told him we were going to take a tour of a jelly bean place, he jumped up and down and pulled on my arm, exclaiming, “I’m doing this because I’m so exkited!11!!!111”

When we started the tour, we were given paper hats. My head is very large and the hat has desperately clinging to the strands of my hair. Owl and Penguin promptly ripped theirs off the minute I put them on their heads. I made the agreement that Penguin did not have to wear the hat while the ride was in motion, but he would have to wear it once we got off if we wanted to eat anything. He hemmed and hawed for a moment but then agreed. He can be very pragmatic when it comes to candy.

The tour involved us driving for 15 seconds and then stopping to watch a 3-5 minute video on some aspect of jelly bean production. In my head, we were going to be tooling around the warehouse on the train cars. In reality, we were stopped a lot. Owl was climbing over me, whining, every time we stopped. The company, to their credit, placed a lot of eye candy decorations around, which helped, but I think Owl was actually trying to get down to them to play with them/destroy them. Penguin remained seated the entire time, but every time we pulled up to a screen and stopped, he said “Oh, not another video again. When are we going to get to the candy?” Since there were about 10 video interludes, this repeated itself about 10 times. The people near us were very patient and gracious as I wrangled two boys who really wanted nothing to do with Ronald Reagan’s love of the sweet little treat.

After the tour, you make your way over to the gift shop and – wow – what a gift shop. Jelly beans, candies and jelly bean festooned gifts galore. I am pretty sure Penguin’s jaw actually dropped and then they were off. We took ample advantage of the samples bar and tried a number of tasty beans and candy. Penguin tried, and loved, chocolate malt balls and blue jelly beans. I can’t remember the flavors, just that they were blue and we needed to buy “a whole bunch of them!!!” I gave Owl tiny pieces to sample and he seemed to like the yellow lemon flavor the best, thought OI don’t know that he had a favorite. Penguin saw a photo booth there and wanted to take a picture of all of us, but sadly, I had no cash. So, sugared to the gills, we headed back home with blue jelly beans, chocolate malt balls and a present for Daddy in hand.

On Sunday, we went to the museum. It is a place we normally enjoy going, so that was not the new adventure part. The new part was that Penguin and his Daddy attempted to view an IMAX film while Owl and I walked about the rest of the museum. About 20 minutes into the movie, I get a call from Papa Bird telling me that they have left the theater and I could come back to collect them. From Penguin’s report, the theater was dark and scary and loud. But the train was neat, but then he wanted to leave. From Papa Bird’s report, Penguin started fretting about the height of the theater and his fear of falling from the first moment he sat down. He kept telling Papa Bird, “Oooh, this is scary” from the moment he sat down, much to the amusement of his neighboring seatmates. He settled in once the movie started, but wanted to leave halfway through because he got hungry and wanted to eat.

Later that evening, once we got home, we could not help but notice that the evening was beyond gorgeous. I was outside with Owl, who was diligently taking rocks from one side of the sidewalk and placing them on the other, then clapping after every effort. Penguin came outside and started riding about on a toy fire truck. He then noticed that his friend’s tricycle was outside and he shouted suddenly, “I want to ride that!” This was the first time he looked at the trike with anything other than disdain, so I was also excited. He popped himself on and started peddling away. I called to Papa Bird and he came out to join us. Owl, not to be overdone, took my hand and took his first walk outside. We stopped every few feet to pick up a pine cone or a stick. In fact, every time he picked up a new treasure, he would shout and hold it out, speeding up to show his daddy and brother. It was pretty adorable. As was watching Penguin tooling around on a tricycle. Methinks a trip to the toy store is in order.

As I was watching Penguin, I was struck by how little-big he seemed in that moment. There he was, peddling. There he was, figuring out how to do it on his own. And Owl, walking about, laughing and screeching. Papa Bird actually out there with us, his homework put aside for the day. It was wonderful. It was one of those moments that I will savor forever in my memory.

Advertisements