This weekend was the annual white-tail Beaver sleepover at the Museum of History. With much sadness, I must report that Ben Stiller's documentary "Night at the Museum" has proven false as a roadmap. Not a single exhibit came to life. Oh well.
It was still a good time. There was a talk on the fur trade and half the kids got to be natives and the other half were the Europeans. They negotiated their own fur trade and the natives (which included Nathan) did pretty well, negotiating some pretty tough deals for metal goods like a bucket, axehead and fire kit, as well as some beads and metal brooches.
After a rather spectacular example of free market trading, the kids each got a drum and participated in telling a Nigerian folk tale about a little caterpillar who wanted some sleep and pretended to be a monster, scaring the other animals.
We got to see the IMAX film, Galapagos, which was pretty cool. (I love nature films so I was having a blast even though my 3D glasses didn't quite focus.)
Nathan did incredibly well. He paid attention, he participated and he was well behaved.
At least until morning.
My little dude did not sleep at all through the night. He was incredibly quiet but every time I woke up, his eyes were wide open and staring at the ceiling. And another mom near us noticed the same thing whenever she woke up.
The night was a short one anyway with campfire finishing after 11 and lights back on at 6. He was quite upset in the morning and had a lot of trouble getting himself ready. I decided to bow out on the morning activities and bring him home early.
He made it through most of the day but by 5pm, his little eyes were closing and I insisted on an absurdly early bedtime. That sparked a tantrum (mostly expected) but by 6, he had calmed down and was tucked in bed. Usually I leave my kids alone to work through their tantrums. It saves emotional wear and tear on both of us and discourages tantrums for attention. Once they've calmed down, I go back and offer negotiations to get what they want.
This time I stayed with Nathan and held him until he calmed down (although I suspect I lost some hearing from shrieks). I talked about how I sometimes had to go to bed super early after a sleepover when I was a little girl. I talked about how proud I was of him for behaving so well. I explained the theory of evolution (since we'd seen the Galapagos film). Anything I could think of to distract him and get him thinking instead of reacting. For the record, the theory of evolution worked. The simple tale of a young man named Charles Darwin who spent a lot of time thinking about why animals looked different from each other. I used the example from Origin of Species of different types of finches on the Galapagos (although it's been a really long time since I read that book and so I may have gotten some details oversimplified.)
After my discourse on why Galapagos finches have different beaks suited to their prey, Nathan was calmed down enough to get into his pajamas, have a story and his bedtime song. And my parents worried my degree in Humanities would never actually be of any practical use. Showed them.