Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dead Sea Whaaaa?

Last Spring Break, instead of going away on vacation, we decided to stay home and hit up all the museums and other things we never seem to have time for during the year. My husband and I didn't tell our three boys the next day's agenda, and the kids would find out the day's plans on that morning. Made for some frustration, but also provided that awesome element of surprise. Surprise makes any occasion special. Every morning they'd wake up and ask with true enthusiasm, Where are we going today? Baby E would be the most excited, things are still new to him. With every disclosed plan over breakfast, he'd pump his fist in the air and shout, Yes! We'd clean up the table, pack snacks, and go.

One day during the week our plans were to see The Dead Sea Scrolls. This trip required planning, advance ticket purchase, arriving at a specified time: a real coordinated effort and I was so excited to tell them. We are going to see The Dead Sea Scrolls! I announced while waving our tickets over their corn flakes.

I had to order the tickets for the exhibit two weeks ago and the exhibit is on loan from FOUR separate museums, along with private collectors. This exhibit has taken years of international negotiations, and cost a great deal of money in terms of insurance and being on loan. Cool, huh? I caught my breath but my eyes were still on fire. My mood was contagious, and they were fascinated. Baby E seemed to ponder the information, but with a quizzical look in his eye.

This exhibit contains articles that are over 2,000 years old! I had all their eyes and ears. These articles were stored in tall clay jars. A shepherd found them when he was throwing rocks down a cave. He said that every time he threw a rock into a cave's opening, he'd hear the shattering of a clay pot.  They stared at me, waiting for my next word. All in all, they found eleven caves full of these tall clay receptacles. When they opened the jars, do you know what they found? They found some contained the Dead. Sea. Scrolls! Still no peep from Baby E, I did find it unusual that the fist pump was absent to the day's featured event. Had he become jaded by all the fantastic fun awesome mama had planned?

While in the car on our way, the chatter continued.

Mom, how did they hold the scrolls together?

Mom, how do they know they found all the scrolls?

We can ask those questions when we get there, I told the older two boys.

I glanced in the rear view mirror, trying to catch Baby E's face. He was just taking in the conversation, but looked ill at ease.

You feeling okay, Baby E?

Yes, mom. But how do you know we'll like this?

Because it's over 2,000 years old! Cool, huh?

I guess so.

We finally arrived at the museum and rushed in to pick up our special Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit tickets at the will call Box.

Ah! The tickets! Let's go!

Everyone ran ahead, but you know who dragged behind.

What is wrong, honey? I studied Baby E's eyes for a hint.

Nothing. But, are you sure every one wants to see this?

Oh, yeah, this is huge, I explained, Big stuff. Like the kind of thing you'll tell your kids about.

He walked on, not saying much, holding my hand tightly. We waited in our assigned queue for the 10:30 exhibit showing.

There's a lot of people here, aren't there? I said, in attempts to get a conversation going with him.

Yeah. I just can't believe everyone wants to see this. He sounded so skeptical.

Of course! I said, who wouldn't be interested? Just think, 2000 years old!

He quietly chewed his upper lip as we waited. Mom, is that all we're going to see? he wanted to know.

Is that all? I echoed incredulously. We'll be here an hour, reading about the discovery, and how they pieced everything together. You'll love it -- I'll tell you about everything we'll look at. We'll even get the audiophone guided tour, alright? He still didn't seem reassured.

The velvet ropes were unclasped, and it was finally our turn to enter the exhibit. The mystic music was playing in the background, there were painted sand dunes on the walls, there were the placards, the grainy photos of the initial discovery, the stories, and finally, at the end, the clay jars! With the Dead Sea Scrolls!

Baby E stood in the middle of the exhibit, hands up in the air. Well, where are they?! His exasperated voice broke the silence in the exhibit.

They're all right here, I shushed him, see them?

No. Where are they? The dead sea squirrels you said we were going to see today. The ones they found 2,000 years ago? 

I give you Exhibit A-----The DEAD Sea Squirrel as in, the amphibious creature that lives both on land AND sea, and that has been DEAD for 2,000 years.

I won't even tell you how much he didn't enjoy the laughter he brought to that entire hall that morning.




  1. Hahahahahahaha! Way to go, Baby E! Definitely a "Memorable Moment".

  2. Aw, Baby E!!! Cuteness galore.

    (and also very funny!)

  3. So funny to see things through our kids' eyes. . .

    Amanda Hill

  4. BWAHAAHAHA! That is a great story, Miss Alexandra! That Baby E is hilarious. Unintentionally, but still. Thanks for sharing! I got to see the Titanic Exhibit when it was there a few years back. Thrilling to see that history come alive!
    Enjoy the day!

  5. I give him credit for getting in the car on his own free will!

  6. Ha! I would SO buy tickets to the Dead Sea Squirrels! (it did sound like a facinating trip, your vaca)

  7. lol....dead sea squirrel....oh my e...happens to the best of us...and honestly some of the 2000 year old stuff is just not very fascinating...a squirrel might be honestly...smiles.

  8. The Dead Sea Squirrels... I've heard of them! The Chipmunks prehistoric cousins, right? Too bad they didn't get a record deal. Only the special, in the know people actually know about them. E, you and I, we are in that group. **fist bump**

  9. Ah, poor kid! I'd be disappointed if I didn't get to see the dead sea squirrels, too!

  10. This is hilarious. Him wondering why all of you would WANT to see the dead squirrels of the sea. And you being so excited b/c come on, 2000 year old likely stinky, shriveled up DEAD SQUIRRELS. Fun times ahea, let's hurry to the front.

  11. OMG, girl. LMAO!!!!! Thanks for the belly laugh :) Needed this today. Hope all's well with you, momma.

  12. Aww, cute!! That is too funny - the whole time I was wondering why he was so unenthused. :) We saw that exhibit, though, and it was excellent!

  13. You know what you have done? Given him the perfect name for his BAND. You know... the one he's going to form and play DRUMS in when he's 14? The one that's going to have a 16 year-old female bass player with an eyebrow ring and tongue stud he's got the hots for and you're trying to figure out how to ship her off to Alaska before he gets up the nerve to ask her out.

    Or maybe I'm just projecting my future-teenage-son-fears, here ;-)

  14. *Smile* Absolutely LOVE this! (And I'm seriously thinking of cashing in on a sham showing of the Dead Sea Squirrels locally - that could well be my ticket to early retirement! :) )XOXO

  15. Oh, dear god . . . that's funny. Really, really, really funny.

  16. I just adore their little minds. You can tell Baby E that he also had some chuckles over here in Canada

  17. Love it!!!

    Now I want to get some tickets to see the Dead Sea Squirrels.

  18. Hi, everyone: Thank you so very much for the comments. I remember how much Baby E made people laugh at that silent exhibit. He didn't understand what was so funny.

    We are in D.C. for a week. I'll be home soon and catch up with all of you.

    I learned how to prepost posts for this vacation. HUGE huh?

    We've got lots of stories and lots of pictures, can't wait to see you all.

    Thanks for stopping!!!

  19. Okay, this is further evidence that you are a much nicer mom than I am.

    My idea of a morning "surprise" is to tell my kids that we'll be spending the day returning capri pants to Target no matter how long we have to stand in line.




  20. I think this was the funniest blog post I have ever read! Your poor son:)

  21. I was thrilled with the visit. I felt like I was there. I read your post out loud in my living room, so that all could learn about the Dead Sea Squirrels. D.C huh? I hear there are lots of museums there, not sure about squirrels though. Enjoy!

  22. Aw, poor little guy! No wonder he was trepidatious :)

  23. That is SO adorable! Thank you for sharing and how awesome! I'd LOVE to have seen the Dead Sea Scrolls (not the squirrels)

  24. What a brave kid! And you! A fun Mom. My way to get the kids to go to a museum was by browbeating them. Lotta fun that was.

  25. That nearly made me spray coke over my computer screen. Hilarious.

  26. Hahaha! That is great! Will he trust you ever again?! ;-)

    I love the way you plan your surprises! Hope you had a great time in DC! Would love to see your pics!

  27. Awesome!!! So, so funny and sweet.

  28. This whole post killed me (dead-er than a sea squirrel) but for some reason I can't stop laughing at the visual of you waving these tickets of dubious merit over Baby E's corn flakes...

    It's a detail that really puts me there.
    And hungry (naturally).

    Also, I want to hang out with YOU next spring break.
    That's all I know.

  29. Dead Sea Squirrel is freaking gold!! And also something I think Deaf kid would have come up with.

    Kids (Deaf or not) getting words wrong is my favorite.

  30. Heh heh heh. Dead sea squirrels. I hope you bought him an ice cream cone, he deserved it!

  31. HA! I wasn't expecting that one! I'd REALLY like to see those things (the real ones!) Another great post...

  32. OMG before I even got to the end I was already thinking about my comment back about how my son thought it was the Dead Sea Squirrels and then you said that! Brilliant.

    I work at the Science Museum here and we had the exhibit in 2010 so I'm extra amused about this.

  33. I LOVE E! That is so classic. Squirrels are so much more interesting than scrolls. DUH! We all know that, right? Great, great post!


    Fricking adore it. Hilarious. Love your goddamn guts, girlfriend.




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