Saturday, June 7, 2008

School Trips

Yesterday was the big school trip to Liberty Science Center. Wow, what a day! Gus was so excited I thought his head might start spinning a la Linda Blair. The car ride was long, long, long, but thanks to the meds, Gus fell asleep for a few minutes. The angst (amplified by the five-year-old mantra of, "Are we there yet?") didn't start until we unwisely decided to use my GPS to get ahead of the school bus because I had to find a bathroom ASAP. We survived, dry and in one piece and finally connected with the rest of the class.

LSC has four floors of hands on exploration, amazing exhibits, a huge IMAX theater and scheduled shows. And while it seemed that every school in the tri-state area was visiting, it was relatively uncrowded. I don't want to imagine what it would have been like otherwise.

We started on the first floor at the skyscraper exhibit. Gus promptly lost it. He wasn't misbehaving, rather he was so over-the-top excited, he was trying to pull me in every direction at once. Then he saw one of the interactive exhibits: kids strapped into harnesses and then allowed to walk across construction beams. I thought about letting him do it (he was about to rip my arm out of the socket trying to get up the stairs) but then I had a vision of him going out onto a beam and either a) freaking out when he realized the height or b) enjoying it so much he wouldn't come back. We left the skyscrapers.

The second floor had an exhibit of animals - one of Gus's favorite topics - called Eat and Be Eaten. He raced through the animals in their tanks, but was completely immersed with the presentation. He got to see a sponge, starfish, scorpion (which he wisely did not attempt to pet) and a giant cockroach (which, ugh, they did touch).

Another big hit was the Germ exhibit. A model of a human head randomly sneezed on the kids, and they of course were tickled senseless by this! I was pretty amused myself, just watching the glee at being splattered.

The best part of the day was the Science of Fear exhibit. That finally engaged him enough to calm him down. It was pretty darned cool. There were four booths set up, each to test different types of fear. The first had you stick your hand into a dark opening just below a tank with a snake and a sign that said Can you feel if an animal has climbed into the hole? Neither of us was that brave. Next to that was a big Jacob's Ladder of electrical current that asked you to stick your finger into a casing and allow yourself to get shocked. He declined and I took quite a while to get up the nerve. Then there was the Fear of Loud Noises. You sat in front of a video camera waiting, waiting and then BOOM! a sound like a shot came out of nowhere. Then the video replayed in slow motion to show you how you looked. Hilarious! He loved that. The best was last of course. The Fear of Falling where you get strapped to a table that tilts slowly back before suddenly dropping you to a cushion. Better than an amusement park ride. Gus took it like a champ, but more impressively, he waited on the long line with the patience of a Buddah. Score!

Just a word on how the Strattera didn't really. He was as hyper as he ever is in that type of situation and the car ride home was pretty nuts. Instead of crashing like we expected, he was totally revved up, even more so when we got home. I didn't expect that the medication would have done much.

All in all a fun day. He's asking if there's a Science of Fear exhibit closer to us. So I guess I'll stop writing and start looking.

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