Let’s take a break from the school-musings to talk about a different subject, because once again I could use some advice. A PR company has invited both Riley and I on a complimentary trip to DC in order to participate in a corporate-sponsored event promoting the “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” movie. The event includes flying out to DC, touring the Smithsonian Air and Space museum at night, and probably some other festivities along the way. The tour lasts about an hour and the event ends at 12:30 AM.

So here’s my question: would you go for it? I mean, there’s the whole flying-across-the-country-with-a-preschooler thing, the late night aspect of the event, and the fact that while he’s not nearly as uncontrollable as SOME of my children (I AM LOOKING AT YOU DYLAN) he has definitely mastered the art of triggering Spontaneous Parental Brainstem Combustion via Turbo-Whine (see also: the “Why” Factor).

He might think flying in a plane is awesome, he might lose his shit. He might love the museum beyond all reason, he might lose his shit. He might really enjoy staying in a hotel and hanging out with just Mom for a while, he might . . . you get the idea.

Book it and hope for the best, or hope we get another invite a few years down the road?

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Rhea
Rhea
13 years ago

This could potentially be one of his earliest children memories….I would totally go!

Sarah
13 years ago

Why don’t you ask him if he wants to go? I know he won’t get the whole magnitude of the trip, but I firmly believe that kids understand more than they can express. So, ask him. If he seems excited, go for it. If he is reluctant or afraid, don’t do it. If he’s non-committal, then it’s up to you!!

cindy
cindy
13 years ago

Another vote for skipping it. My 3-year-olds would totally lose their shit, thus causing me to lose my shit, and we’d all have a horrible time. Not to mention that 12:30 am is WAY late for a little one.

Keri
13 years ago

If you don’t go, I’ll go with MY three-year-old who will LOVE it! =)

Lisa V
13 years ago

Go baby, go. It will either be a great experience or a great blog post. Either way, win.

Mandee
13 years ago

Book it.

My sister is a single mom. My nephew’s first trip was a roadtrip to Naples, FL from Atlanta when he was 3 weeks old. We laugh about that now–admitting we were just clueless–but my point is that she has never hesitated to take my nephew with her somewhere. Since Naples, he’s flown to Orlando, Las Vegas, NYC, LA (twice), Seattle and Jacksonville.

The potential for total meltdown is definitely there, but the potential reward far outweighs the draw backs!

Dude–Air and Space after dark? You HAVE to accept that!

jessica fantastica
jessica fantastica
13 years ago

I would not pass up the opportunity! But I don’t even have one kid, so what do I know?

sara
13 years ago

I have three little kids, and have flown on several occasions with all of them (the oldest is now 8) at once and individually. The hardest age in my opinion was about 18 months. I’d say Riley would be fascinated with the whole thing and might surprise you with angelic behavior given that he won’t have to compete for your attention. GO!

Lisa
Lisa
13 years ago

Go. Go. Go. I travel frequently with my 3.5yr old twin boys by myself. Security is a nightmare with all the stuff and a child with a pacemaker, but people have always been more than helpful and understanding. My advice for the plane is to bring his carseat for him to sit in and he will not realize it is an option to get down and go nuts. Also, download a movie or two into your ipod for him to watch and then bring a few new toys and he will be fine. Give him the chance to surprise you and as for the “he won’t remember” stuff, YOU will remember and either it will be one of your best memories or it (if it goes badly) will be a funny story in 20 years.

Daily Tragedies
13 years ago

As a DC resident and frequenter of museums, I do wonder how much tolerance any kid under the age of 10 would have … late night? More than say 60 minutes of required attention span? I doubt it. (Of course, you know your kid far better than I do.)

However, I think the experience would be pretty cool, and if you don’t mind cutting it short (at like 8 pm when someone’s having a meltdown), then go for it.

laura
laura
13 years ago

you should definitely go. bring a stash of new toys/treats on the plane that he wouldn’t normally get and dole them out throughout the flight. bring a dvd player, only way to survive a trip with small kids.

have fun and enjoy your alone time with him.

Mandi
Mandi
13 years ago

I am another of the minority voices here. I have to say skip it this time. That is a HUGE trip for a 3.5 year old and one parent to take on. And if it’s only for one night? Even if he is as good as a child his age can be, you’ll not relax the entire time and by the time you get home, your nerves will be shot. You can count on a major melt-down from him at some point simply from sensory over-load and exhaustion.

You know your child best, of course. How does he normally react to upsets in his schedule/routine? In general, can he handle staying up later than his normal bedtime without a melt down? How does he handle big crowds? Does he seem prone to sensory overload?

It would be an awesome trip for an adult or even a child as young as 5 years old. But he’s soooo young. You have to ask yourself if the trip will be worth it in the end if he ends up losing it on the plane, at the museum, at the hotel and on the plane ride back home?

Kendra
Kendra
13 years ago

Book it! And bring some Benadryl in case he’s a little shit. ;-)

Kim
Kim
13 years ago

Um…I see room service ice cream sundaes in your future. Do It!

abby
abby
13 years ago

get some balls and go on the trip!

Scott
13 years ago

Personally, I would probably not do it, but my wife would. That’s where things fall in my family. I can positively guarantee that Sofia would lose her shit on a schedule like that, so I would have to decide if it was worth it, and I’d probably decide it wasn’t.

If you do go, I would look at it as a chance for you and Riley to have a fun time together, and treat the planned agenda as optional. Do whatever you can to have a fun time and avoid a meltdown. If you get there and he starts getting fidgety in the movie, just leave and do something he wants to do. Go take pictures, or eat ice cream, or whatever would make him happy. Make it Riley-and-Linda time.

And if you decide that it’s too much work to do the DC trip, why not have Riley-and-Linda time at home? Tell JB to take Dylan for the weekend (BWA HA HA), take Riley to Yakima or wherever and stay in a hotel, go to the park, go to a monster truck rally, whatever. You can have a memorable time with him anywhere; he’s going to be the same hilarious kid wherever you are.

Johanna
Johanna
13 years ago

I say go for it, and take a stroller. When my oldest was three we flew to the North of Sweden, and he was just fine – he rose to the occasion. My experience is that kids in general are more co-operative in new exciting circumstances.

Back Nine
Back Nine
13 years ago

Your mother and your aunt have conferred, and our assessment: ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY? NO WAY! SAVE YOURSELF! RUN FOR THE RIVER! Much love, Mom and AL

thejunebug
13 years ago

To be honest….

Riley won’t remember it. Unless he has super-human memory powers, anyway. But you will, and you will take (completely awesome) photos, and it will certainly be a super-cool thing to show him when he’s older, if nothing else.

Me, I would take the opportunity and go for it, but your mom & aunt (who know Riley in person and not on the internets, heh) seem to think otherwise. ;)

Jennifer
Jennifer
13 years ago

Loved your mom and aunt’s comment!

I’d say the biggest risk to going would be if Riley might get really scared of the plane (remember how he got all scared of planes after the Blue Angels a couple years back…) If he were to get scared during takeoff, or scared of the noise or the rumbling of the plane… he might seriously be crying and hysterical-frightened and he’d be stuck on the plane for several hours and I don’t know if he’s old enough for rational discussion and calming. Of course the Blue Angels thing was, what, a couple years ago and he’s a bigger kid now so maybe that’s not a risk – you can do that assessment!

If the only fear is that he’ll lose his sh*t in terms of tantrums etc, I say that’s worth the risk. He’ll come out of a tantrum fine (not sure you will, but you’re strong!)

Jen
Jen
13 years ago

Git. What a great opportunity.

Deanna
13 years ago

GO!
Do they have wagons? (“to carry your bags”) so he can fall asleep and you can put him in it and continue with the event. Maybe bring a blanket to drape over it.

Sarah
Sarah
13 years ago

Go for it!! Sounds like an awesome opportunity. If he likes it and does well, you’ll know you’re in the clear for future events. However, if he doesn’t, well then you know that too!

Amanda
13 years ago

Go for it. Preschoolers tend to surprise you when something super cool that you expect them to lose their shit over is going on.

Melanie
Melanie
13 years ago

I would go for it! It could be spectacular and you could have tons of fun and make wonderful memories… it also could be a giant disaster, but you won’t know unless you try it out! :)

Teralyne
13 years ago

You always said you write this so your kids can read it when they grow up, well WHEN you do this with him you can write about it and with the pictures he can remember the experience. And of course we get a fun entry to.

Becky
13 years ago

Do it! It’ll be fun!

Laurie
13 years ago

Book it! It will be a special time for you guys! I think that is awesome!

Korinna
13 years ago

I admit, I cringed when I heard about the late night and attempting a child to endure the time change.

But, you know, it’s free. And I’m willing to tolerate a lot more crap for free. So, even if it all does go down the crapper–it was on someone else’s dime.

Shannon
Shannon
13 years ago

Even if it’s horrible for you, and crappy for him, he will always remember this trip and remember how cool his mom is.

kim
kim
13 years ago

GO!

erin
13 years ago

GO! GO! GO!

Sure you might regret it, but you probably won’t regret the ENTIRE experience. There will be moments you’d rather be home, but that’s what next week is for.

lumpyheadsmom
13 years ago

Oh my god you have 132 comments on this post. I guess signs point to yes.

Sarah0
Sarah0
13 years ago

Yes it’s a late night…but GO FOR IT!

Jennifer
Jennifer
13 years ago

I’d go for it! Odds are it will be blast.

Plus, just think, even if it’s awful, you’d get a mighty fine blog post out of it!

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

That’s a tough one. My oldest is the same age as Riley and I’m still debating on the wisdom of getting on the metro and taking him to the Smithsonian. However, this sounds like a great opportunity, and I think you should do it. Even if he’s not as cooperative as you would like, but the opportunity is definitely worth it.

cbrks12
cbrks12
13 years ago

Book it. I think it will be an experience you will always cherish. :)

Christine
Christine
13 years ago

I was totally in the “go for it” camp until I saw that the event ends at 12:30am. That seems like a disaster waiting to happen. I can’t imagine bringing my daughter anywhere after 9pm, never mind after flying across the country. But perhaps you are braver than me!

nonsoccermom
13 years ago

I say go for it. The one-on-one time will be good for you both, and I’m willing to bet that he’ll be less likely to lose his shit if he has your undivided attention. Sounds like fun!!

Joan
13 years ago

I think he is too young to appreciate a trip like that. We all know how much he liked the air show. This may not be as loud, but it’s just different.

laura
laura
13 years ago

Here’s another for the do it camp. He’s probably just getting old enough to remember this. It will be a great bonding time for you both. Has he been on an airplane before? We took my son from Virginia to San Francisco last summer, the only thing he didn’t like was the airplane seatbelt. He got over that. He was really a champ and a wonderful traveling partner. He loved the cable cars … imagine how much Riley will love the Metro!

My belief is that he’ll surprise you. And you may surprise yourself. Even if he loses his shit, he’ll calm down if you feed him some M&Ms or something.

Brenna
13 years ago

Go for it!!!! It’s free, you can’t loose! Plus, you can always leave if the little one starts to get cranky…

kcornett
kcornett
13 years ago

Go for it! You BOTH will have a fabulous time!

kristin
kristin
13 years ago

Wow! I was NOT expecting to be in the minority here. But I guess I am. I would not do it. I’m another child-free reader so feel free to disregard… But I’m thinking about my 3 nephews who are 11, 7 and 4.5. I don’t even think the 11-year old would be bearable at 1am — he’d be so cranky and tired. The 4.5 year old would just fall asleep and need to be carried from 10pm on. The 7-year old would be overstimulated and exhausted an would probably act out like crazy. Ugh. Sounds like a nightmare.

lydia
lydia
13 years ago

DO IT! Just think of the memories that you might make. I think it’s awesome that you have the chance to expose Riley at such a young age to an experience such as this.

Violet
Violet
13 years ago

Is it just for a day? Or can you stay longer? I fly with mine from DC to CA to visit, but I’m not sure I’d do it for just a weekend – they need a couple days to recover from the plane trip, I think. But if you can stay, I’d totally do it. Plus, there are a ton of awesome things to do here.

My advice is try to fly the red-eyes. They are sleepy and less active, and if you are lucky he’ll sleep. Good luck, and have fun!

Yet Another Jenny
13 years ago

I’d say go, especially if you can rope someone into accompanying you on the trip or even just meeting you there in DC. Should the Suspicious One have a meltdown, I have the distinct feeling he wouldn’t be the only one, especially at that hour.

Shelley
13 years ago

I’m in the glaring minority “DON’T GO” camp. It is a huge, short, trip for a 3.5 year old. And though he might enjoy it (fingers crossed) will he remember it in 5 years? Doubtful. So will it really create ‘memories you both will cherish for years to come’ – again, doubtful. Though I can be certain it will create memories for YOU, one’s that you will cherish I’m not so sure about.

Megan
Megan
13 years ago

Book it! Either way your going to get a great story out of it.

Catherine
13 years ago

Go. And I say that as someone that just returned from a road trip with my friend and our 4 kids. In a car. For multiple hours. We all lived another day. You will too. Also? How freaking AWESOME is this opportunity? Take it.