Mariah was so excited. Today they were going for a long ride in the car! Mom said they were going to a museum. She said it was a place for people to look at pictures. Mariah imagined a giant refrigerator. That could be interesting.
“It’s going to be a long drive Mariah. Here are some fruit snacks and I’ll play your favorite music, all right?” Mom said.
Mariah had finished the fruit snacks before they were out of the driveway. She tossed the wrapper on the floor. “More?”
Mom sighed. “Wait a bit, Mariah.”
“Pwease?” Mariah clasped her hands together and made a sad face.
“Fine, fine,” Mom said. She stopped and gave Mariah another packet of fruit snacks.
Mariah ate more slowly. She wasn’t really sure if she wanted them. She put them down next to her leg in the car seat and looked out the window. There was a bird. “Biwd,” she said.
She saw the moon. Why was the moon out in the daytime? “Why moon?” she asked.
“Why are we going to the museum?” Mom said. “It’s a discount day and it’s good for us to learn new things. At half price.”
Mom made no sense sometimes. Mariah looked out the window and watched the moon. Mom turned on her music and Mariah was clapping in time to “hot cross buns.” This was fun.
By the time they arrived at the museum, Mariah was screaming to be let out. This was so boring. She was going to die of boredom. This trip was an awful idea.
Mom finally stopped the car and unbuckled the car seat. Mariah slid out of the seat unhappily. Her head hurt. “Mariah,” Mom said. “You didn’t finish eating your fruit snacks and they melted all over your car seat and your outfit. Where are the wipes?”
Mariah endured having her leg scrubbed, but she was really ready to get out of the car. Mom finally decided she needed to change Mariah’s outfit, and then finally they were walking down a sidewalk with an interesting pattern of bricks. They went zig-zag, zig-zag like stairs or waves. Mariah tried to turn her feet to follow the bricks.
“Stop spinning like that,” Mom said. “You’re going to fall over.” Mariah sighed and took Mom’s hand. They went inside a nice warm building full of people standing in a long line.
The carpet had a funny design of lines. Mariah wanted to walk along them and pretend they were paths. “Don’t wander off Mariah,” Mom said. She handed Mariah a book.
Mariah tried to sit and look at it, but the line kept inching forward, and she couldn’t sit for long before it was time to move. It was too hard to hold the book open and walk. She hit the book on her leg and sang “Eensy Weensy Spider” instead. She couldn’t remember all the words, but that didn’t really matter.
They finally got to the front of the line. Mom paid some money, and she and Mariah got stamps on their hands. It was a blue star. Mariah rubbed on it to see if it would smear. “Stop that,” Mom said. “Hold my hand.”
Mom lifted Mariah up to see some of the pictures. She’d point out a cat or a bird. Mariah would agree that there was a cat or a bird there, then they’d move on. There were things in glass cases they couldn’t touch. There were statues missing arms or legs or clothes or bodies. They just kept walking and walking and walking and looking.
At lunch, Mom held Mariah up so that she could drink out of the drinking fountain. The water was so cold and it went up and then down like a rainbow. Mariah put her hand in the water to see what was holding it up like that. “Don’t play in the water,” Mom said.
“Why up?” Mariah asked. How did the water do that?
“I held you up so you could reach the water,” Mom said.
“No, water up,” Mariah said.
“No, no more drinks Mariah. Let’s go eat lunch.”
That sounded good. Mariah followed Mom to a park bench. They had cheese and crackers and grapes. A sad looking bird hopped up close. Mariah wanted to share her crackers with the little bird, but Mom said no.
Mariah tossed it one when Mom wasn’t looking. The little bird pecked at it. It looked happy. Mariah smiled. “Mariah,” Mom said. “I told you no. I guess you’re done eating. Let’s go back inside.”
Lots of walking later, Mariah was being buckled back into the car seat, despite her protests. “Come on, Mariah, we need to go home. Your yellow bear is waiting for you.”
Mariah stopped struggling. It would be nice to see Yellow Bear again and tell him about her day. “Beaw now,” she said.
“Not until we get home. Did you like the museum? What was your favorite part?”
Mariah thought about it. “Watew. Biwd,” she said.
“I’m not sure which painting that was,” Mom said. “Was there a boat too?”
Mariah sighed. Then she yawned. Maybe it was time for a nap. It had been a strange day and she was tired. And she never did see the big refrigerator.