A Visit to our Nation’s Capital

The sprinkles and raindrops came intermittently, and the winds cut hard that Sunday afternoon in downtown, DC, but  our agenda called for sightseeing at the Washington Monument.

With weather like this, Aloha Baby knew immediately that she was no longer in Honolulu!  Mommy and Daddy shed their coats and hers before creating a cocoon for the baby while they posed for family pictures.

Why don’t more Americans take advantage of visiting their national capital? The city’s architecture boasts amazing structures, and history beckons from every corner.

But what can a 13-month-old appreciate about architecture or American history?

She easily recognizes birds, airplanes and flowers. With a little practice and sharp listening skills, her parents and her grandparents can now even translate “Kelsey speak.”  All the adults offer praise as she identifies and names the things she sees.

But beyond that emerging vocabulary, the baby learns what her parents value.  On a drizzly chilly afternoon, instead of hunkering down in a hotel room in front of the television, the family drives to DC points of interest. The baby will grow up knowing that she began visiting her nation’s capital  as a toddler.

On Monday morning Aloha Baby’s Dad headed to Annapolis to meet with friends and Mommy went to attend her convention.

Picking up on the nation’s capital theme, Grandpa and Grandma put the baby and Grandma in the Bebop scooter and wheeled off in the direction of the Smithsonian.

Stopping at the National Archives, we took Aloha Baby to a room designed for children to touch and interact with documents. While it appears baby has happily colored, the truth is that Grandma had to keep taking the crayons out of her mouth. Still, she loved the room with its books and pictures. She even found the crayons tasty!

If a DC tourist sees the Declaration of Independence, there’s a natural follow-up activity… a visit to the Jefferson Memorial.

Getting down on the baby’s level, Mommy points out the imposing statue of the Declaration’s primary author.

Of course,  Aloha Baby doesn’t understand all she sees or hears now, but Mommy and Daddy will bring her back to these places. Her knowledge, as well as her understanding and appreciation will grow with each new encounter with her country’s history.

“Dinosaur Train,”  a children’s TV show, captivates our 13-month-old granddaughter, so our trip to the Museum of Natural History began at the gift shop.

Here, the baby could look at stuffed versions of triceratops and other heroes of the show while the show ran on the overhead TV set.

Grandpa offered a bright green dinosaur mask, but Kelsey wanted no part of it!

Whenever Mommy could get an hour or two of free time, we took in another part of the Smithsonian.

Whether the Spirit of St. Louis or a rocket, this museum made everyone happy.

Since none of us had visited the Smithsonian’s Museum of Native Indians, we spent the most time there.

The interactive wing for children, although not complete, permitted children and adults to use what was finished.

Kelsey happily waved from her kayak.

No water? That little problem didn’t bother her at all.

However, she did crawl out of her kayak and move on to the model of an igloo that could be made, destroyed and rebuilt.

Mommy and Kelsey went inside the igloo before Daddy did a bit of “reconstruction” of the Styrofoam blocks.

Notice, however, that the reconstruction project didn’t bother this little Eskimo at all.

As with most things in her life, Kelsey met the experience with a smile!

The last day of touring, Daddy had some serious  talks with his daughter.  Grandpa and I weren’t privileged to hear that conversation, but we left with confidence that Kelsey will continue to grow in her knowledge of our nation’s capital. Will she someday have an office in the Capitol? Perhaps. At least she will know more about her country than many Americans. Don’t miss what’s right in your own back yard. Let’s make sure the next generation knows its heritage.


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