The Little Man’s Birthday Weekend

This past weekend, the Little Man turned two.

In a few years, the exact same sentence as written above will have an entirely different meaning (as in, he turned a double-play), but for now it means, quite literally, he is two years old. We decided not to have a party this year, but tried to make it a special weekend for him. On Saturday, we drove up to Baltimore and spent the morning at the National Aquarium at the Inner Harbor. I was rather impressed by the aquarium. It is well designed and has a lot of cool attractions. Of course, the sharks were among the coolest things to see there. Part of the aquarium is a multi-level tank which you spiral down into from several floors up. You start above the surface of the water and the tank surrounds you on all sides. The walkway then spirals down and you go deeper and deeper into the tank. At one point, we were watching the sharks. There were several great whites and some of them were probably four or five feet long. I had put the Little Man up on a landing to see he see them. One of the great whites turns and looked right at us, and that was as menacing a look as I had ever seen. I was happy for the thick glass.

There were sections that included rain forests and river life. There were giant turtles and snakes and eels. One of the tanks had some¬†piranha. It reminded me of my uncle’s fish tank. He used to have a couple of piranha. (Yes, I know they are usually illegal, but this was decades ago.) Once a week, he’d go to the pet store and buy a bag of 100 gold fish which he would dump into the piranha tank. Talk about a feeding frenzy!)

We also attended the dolphin show and that was a lot of fun. The Little Man enjoyed watching the dolphins perform all kinds of tricks. What was unusual about the show was the audience. The amphitheater was jam-packed. But some of the dolphins recently had calves and the calves were bonding with the mothers so the crowd was asked to keep quiet. And remarkably they did. Where you would expect a roaring round of applause, there was nothing by a gentle whisper, no clapping, no shouting. It was a very odd experience.

After the dolphins, we headed to the Inner Harbor where we eventually met up with some friends for a late lunch. After lunch, we all headed over to the Children’s Museum. It was one of the nicer children’s museums I’ve been too, with a magnificent, multistory climbing apparatus that defies description, but that was incredibly fun. The Little Man had a blast at the museum, and didn’t want to leave. But leave we eventually did, just as the museum was closing. We’d spent nearly 10 hours in Baltimore and all of us were worn out.

Sunday was the Little Man’s actual birthday. He opened his big present from Mom and Dad: a massive 100+ piece train table and set (wooden, a la Thomas) that took me 2-1/2 hours to construct last weekend. He was so excited when he saw the train table, all he could do was shout, “Trains! Trains! Trains!” over and over again. I think he’ll get a lot of mileage out of that one. Late in the afternoon, we had friends over and I grilled up chicken and burgers and we celebrated some more. A powerful thunderstorm passed through, and the Little Man grew nervous, as he tends to do when he hears thunder. (“Booms!” he calls it.) Once it was done I started the grilling. As I brought the food into the house to eat, the power went out. What followed was the longest power outage I’ve experienced since 2003: 3 hours. Fortunately, it was early evening and still light out, and we had candles. The celebration continued unhindered and the power came back on just before 9pm.

All, told, I think the Little Man had a great birthday weekend. I doubt he will remember it. (I can barely remember when I was two.) But of course, there’s plenty of pictures and videos we took, to say nothing of these blog posts to remind him of the fun we had. Some of the pictures and videos are available over on Facebook.