I apologize in advance: You might need sunglasses to view the pictures I took today at the La Brea Tar Pits and L.A. County Museum of Art.
Turns out I had the camera on the wrong setting for the blindingly sunny day we had today. Usually, I'm much more diligent, but it was all I could do to actually take a picture given the flight tendencies of my hummingbird-like C.
What began as a sweet mother-daughter outing on a perfect October day turned into one in which my child tried to make a break for it at every opportunity, forcing me to chase her through not only the open grassy park area, but also through an actual security-guarded exhibit in the outdoor LACMA welcome area.
I'm not kidding when I tell you that a man in a wheelchair (a wheelchair, God bless him!) had a good laugh at me running full speed after the lightning-fast C. How badly did I want that wheelchair? Seriously. I think it had a motor, too. Oh, the irony.
"She's gonna be a track star," he said.
I couldn't even respond, I was so out of breath. I think I coughed out a "Yeah, don't know where she got those genes," before mustering all my energy to avoid actually passing out.
She even tried to go home with a father-son pairing when she saw that the little boy had his own bicycle. I know that children tend to think their parents are totally uncool, but I thought I had a good 10 years before I really had to worry about that. Ah well.
I did manage a somewhat tranquil, stationary shot of C in the grass. She was fascinated with the little daisies that sprouted up all over, even trying to eat one at one point.
What's great about the tar pits, the grounds of which seem to go on forever, is that they fold right into the plaza and park area behind LACMA. Children (and adults, who tend to be right behind those children) can run like the wind, and save for the occasional tar area, it's perfectly safe and freeing.
It's when we wandered over to the LACMA welcome area that I was sure I would get arrested. The space is an open, concrete square amid the actual museum buildings. There's a little kiosk for refreshments and a membership booth on either side of a sea of tables and chairs ... and the "Family Car," which is part of the Los Angelenos exhibit from Cheech Marin's personal collection. (The photo, right, is courtesy of C-Monster.net.)
I'm not exaggerating when I say that there was an actual velvet rope cordoning off this car. Of course, C limboed right underneath it just as my grasp on her was slightly loosened. Fearing that she would run out onto Wilshire Boulevard (which is a ways from this car, but still), I scooted under the ropes myself to chase after her.
After apologizing to not one but two security guards, I nabbed my little runaway and wondered if today would be the day I succumbed to spanking. (I didn't, but I did yell, I'm sure adding a tense element to the otherwise tranquil museum-going experience.)
Luckily, she settled down and we walked over to the museum booth to get her a free NexGen membership, good for the next 16 years, that allows her and an accompanying adult to visit LACMA anytime for free. Baby's first museum membership. Maybe it was all worth it, after all.