Tag - nyc

Twins Take Manhattan, Part 2
Twins Take Manhattan, Part 1

Twins Take Manhattan, Part 2

So, Night at the Museum. My sister is awesome and she knows my boys. She knows, for example, that if the theme night of “A Night at the Museum” is Come dressed as your favorite mythical creature, then Sam MUST be there. Not only is she a special education teacher AND the principal of her school, but she adores my boys and they adore her.

There are a million reasons why John would hate it. More. So we hatched a plan. The two of them would ride the subway into the city that evening (Sam’s first!) to SLEEP AT THE MUSEUM and John and I would stay in her adorable Brooklyn apartment reliving my city days.

But first: the costume. What mythical creature could he be? His first choice was a Chimera. Well… my sewing skillz are mad but not that mad (a fire-breathing monster: a lion’s head, a goat’s body, AND a serpent’s tail? No.) His second choice was Pegasus and for the sake of brevity, I will not tell you how much money and time I poured into the all-white costume only to have it look like a fluffy unicorn — not at all like the fierce warrior horse it was supposed to be. I will instead tell you that, with just five days to spare, I went back to the drawing board (Sam a little worried but fully on board), and began creating a Gryphon.

Body of a lion. Head and wings of an eagle. Pretty simple, right? These are the mad steps I took:

  1. I found a simple child’s pattern and faux tan fur.
  2. I studied the directions and inexplicably sewed the wrong sides of pants together (confusion and delay, up until 2 a.m. ripping stitches).
  3. Finally figured out how to measure and sew elastic into pants waist. Did I mention this is the first outfit I’ve ever made? I’m a whiz at curtains though.
  4. For the wings, I used pliable wire that I found in the garden section and fashioned wing shapes the length of Sam’s arms, then I inserted an old cardboard tube at one end so that he would have something to grab when he wanted to move the wings by raising his arms.
  5. I covered the wire structure with some very cool mummy-mesh type fabric and then glue-gunned a feather boa down the middle. Since the wings were the first part I made for Pegasus and were originally all white, I got a bag of brown feathers and added several to look more like an eagle (well, not really since eagles wings are black, but to make them less white). I sewed up the hood with some white felt and was spare with attaching additional feather boa pieces to the top (because, you know, I wanted to avoid making him a fluffy gryphon). 
  6. The beak took shape with a piece of yellow foam board. I hand sewed it to the top of the hood and pinched the tip (assisted by glue) to make it “hook” and then added googly eyes on a couple pieces of felt.
  7. The tail was made with extra fabric and stuffed with polyfill. I hand-sewed it to the back of the pants (see below).
  8. Feet were borrowed brown shoe covers and I attached six “claws” made out of black felt. They look pretty authentic, I think.
Walking to subway, carrying rest of costume in bag.

(If anyone ever tells you that a home-made costume is cheaper — it is definitely not.)

How I wish I had been there to see the joy on his face in person. All reports indicate that not only was he not overwhelmed by the crowd and the sensory stimuli, but he was in his element. He loved every minute of it and was quite independent. My sister reports that “Sam knows his limits and asked to rest when he needed it.” It was a big costume night and nomination slips were everywhere. Several people came up to ask his name in order to nominate him for a prize (first place in the hybrid category). I wish I had been there to see how proud he felt, to see how he liked being the center of attention (my guess is immensely). But there are pictures!

Love you, sister.

Twins Take Manhattan, Part 1

This weekend we packed up the minivan and headed north to NYC. Months ago my sister invited us up so that Sam could attend the American Museum of Natural History’s “A Night at the Museum.” An unbelievable event inspired by the movie of the same name. Explore the museum by flashlight? Sleep under a big blue whale? Yes and yes!

* * *

But first we had all day Saturday to explore. Sam had two things on his list: 1) Visit the Empire State Building and 2) Climb the 354 steps to Lady Liberty’s crown. Although climbing the steps without a reservation was highly unlikely, we settled on the latter in the hope that the crowds would be less intense for John’s sake.

Who knows what we were thinking — the line was endless. It took more than two hours to board the ferry to Liberty Island. As long as John had space to jump and skip and move at the edges of the line as it snaked around Battery Park, he was okay. But as we neared security, it became exceedingly difficult for him as the queue narrowed. Sensory overload, a crush of people, and security was high. He was not allowed to walk through the scanner with Elmo — instead Elmo had to take his own ride through the x-ray machine in a bin with coats and bags. Because, you know, Elmo might be a terrorist. I am grateful for the security, just try explaining it to John. 

Once aboard, he refused to go up to the deck, even though he’s been riding ferries since he was three. So the two of us stayed below and watched Lady Liberty through the windows. What an awe-inspiring sight as we neared. I sang softly in his ear “Come and play, everything’s A-okay…,” the only tune I could muster to quiet his sobs.

Should we have pushed so hard? I don’t know. I know that we’ve bailed on other events for much less. How on earth could I have disappointed Sam by giving up? Once we arrived and were off the boat, he was thrilled. So much open space to run around in, a perfect breeze on his face. We’d do things differently next time. Reservations perhaps? Get there earlier? We are not often spontaneous — it’s just not how we roll, but you know what? It worked out in the end. I am so proud of both my boys and even better, I think John was proud of himself.

To be continued…

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