The past couple times we’ve attended Variety events, they’ve been to see a movie in the theater. This time, it was at the Betty Brinn children’s museum.
We love Variety. (I don’t mean departure from routine, but that’s nice occasionally too.) There aren’t always events that Namine can attend, so we try to jump in when we can. We haven’t been to Betty Brinn in years — I think the last time was when she was two — but this was the perfect opportunity to return.
We arrived a little early, so we had to wait for the folks from Variety. Once we got checked in, we headed up the elevator to the second floor to start looking around the museum.
The first place we checked out was the shopping center. Namine is a big fan of food toys — she’s got a plethora of plastic food both at home and at her grandma’s — but this was some next-level stuff. There were toy versions of nearly everything you can find at Sendik’s. There was your standard fare of things like boxed cereal, plastic fruit and vegetables, and canned foodstuffs. But there was a ton more, including honey, pasta, and steak. There were departments set up just like in a grocery store too, including a deli and even a florist. Jessica and I were almost beyond words, and Namine was in heaven.
After filling a shopping cart with stuff and checking out (after which we helped Namine put said stuff away), we kept on looking around. There was a bus, so I helped Namine into the driver seat.
Moving along, we found a pizza station. Namine familiarized herself with the ingredients, and Jessica made an order.
It was about this point when Jessica had to go attend a meeting. Or something like that, it was for parents and caregivers on children’s development. One of us had to attend, and she drew the short straw. (I’m kidding. She opted to go and let me walk around with Namine.)
Namine and I continued exploring. We found a construction area, where there was a series of plumbing tubes. We sent a bunch of golf balls down the tubes to see where they ended up. There was also an area where we could lay down floor tiles. I gave Namine a little direction in establishing a pattern, and she took it from there.
Next to the construction site, there was a car and motorcycle repair shop. Namine grabbed a pneumatic gun and tightened the bolts on the car’s hubcaps. (When pressed the trigger, it made a “Vew! Vew!” sound.)
Namine couldn’t sit on the motorcycle for very long — her hips didn’t like that very much — but she wanted to try it anyway.
We continued exploring. There was a TV news station which had a green screen. You could switch the backdrops and see yourself in different places. There was a kid already up there, but his family invited Namine up too. She grabbed a microphone and joined her new friend in front of the screen.
I asked Namine what she wanted to talk about — it could be news or a place, I said — she said “The zoo!” There was a hippopotamus backdrop, so we switched the background for her.
There was even more to see. There was a hand puppet station, where Namine put on a show for me with another little girl. There was a horse, which Namine could reach to brush while in her wheelchair.
There was a boat, which Namine transitioned into flawlessly from her wheelchair. She was able to climb back into her wheelchair with no help, too.
There was a cave to explore. Namine, ever imaginative, told me to watch out for bats.
And a camp site. Namine invited me inside the tent with her, but alas, I would not fit.
There were things that Namine couldn’t do, but there was so much that she could that we paid little attention to them. For example, there was a rock climbing wall, but I don’t think she even noticed. We spent over two hours exploring all the exhibits the museum had to offer. When we left, Namine was tired and hungry, but happy beyond words.