This museum is fantastic. It's built in an old army barricks and the different buildings are differently themed/organized so there's an art room and a train room and a tot area and a big room with a rotating exhibit (it was the Magic Treehouse when we were there) and there's also a big outdoor play area.
The girls had such a good time and it was so sweet to see Zuzu kind of take care of and lead Coco around a place with other kids. It makes me glad they will be at the same school next year, even though Coco will be in the Toddler House.
We went there right after lunch and were there about two and a half hours. We really could have stayed longer, but we wanted to drive over to Muir Woods. The girls had snoozed in the car on the drive to Sausalito, but Zu still kind of hit a wall around 3:00 pm when she was obviously tired but instead of being droopy she got wired and kind of bratty. Anyway, we decided to pack it in and wrestled/cajoled the girls into their carseats.
Of course, by the time we got to Muir Woods, both girls were snoozing and we were reluctant to wake them up to traipse through the redwood forest because we knew how unpleasant they could make the experience, not only for us, but for every other redwood forest inhabitant within earshot. We kept driving, talking about whether we should go back and wake them up or not, and then ended up in the parking lot of Muir Woods Beach. David stopped the car so we could look at the ocean and Zuzu woke up. He asked her if she wanted to go to the beach. "No fanks." I pointed out that she didn't actually know what a beach was, and when he explained it was the water, her eyes lit up. "Can I go swimming?!"
The weather was chilly and overcast, and I knew the water would be cold, so I said that we'd just wade in and get our feet wet (famous last words).
A few minutes later, we were traipsing down the walk to the beach, David carrying a sleepy Coco, and Zuzu holding my hand and skipping with excitement.
She immediately ran down the beach to the water, squealing as the foam curled over her toes. She was so amazed and delighted by the waves. She'd chase them out to the low point of the wet sand and then run, shrieking with joy, as they chased her back up to the dry sand. She kept saying, "I can't believe this!" because she was so amazed.
Talk about experiencing something vicariously through your kids. It was incredible to see the ocean and the surf through Zuzu's eyes, to marvel at this amazing body of water and its endless waves, to feel the joy of a narcissistic almost-four-year-old who thinks the world revolves around her and the ocean is there precisely for her enjoyment.
Coco, predictably, had a different reaction to the waves. She was very uncertain about the water licking her toes and fussed a little bit, clinging fearfully to my legs and demanding, "Uppa! Uppa!" in a somewhat panicky tone. I picked her up and held her and she observed her sister, running, skipping, and dancing in the surf. It took a few minutes, but Coco decided to join her. And she loved it as much as Zuzu, though she was unwilling to get in quite so deep. Each time we'd run back from the lapping water, she'd request, "More? More?" in her sweet baby way: "Mo-ah? Mo-ah?" (it's kind of weird that both of our girls seem to have a slight Boston accent, particularly notable at AT&T Park when Zuzu wanted to "slide down the bee-ah!").
We all had such a great time that it was hard to leave, even with a gray and overcast sky and chilly waves. I should have just let the girls put on their swim suits because Zuzu fell (it was technically an accident, but she didn't really resist it) so she was completely soaked, and Coco and I got surprised by a wave while wading, so my pants were drenched up to the knees even though I'd rolled them up, and Coco was wet up to her waist.
We were later getting back than we'd expected, so we ended up not meeting up with Sarah and Owen (though Sarah assured me her need to go to bed early had nothing to do with Coco and the red marker) that night, but we made plans to meet up with with them at a park (safely away from family photographs) the next morning before we left Oakland.
It ended up working out really well, because it gave us time to eat some leftovers we'd stashed in the vacation house fridge, and give the girls a bath, and get our suitcases reorganized and ready to go. We bought a bottle of wine and David and the girls also made lemonade with fresh lemons they picked from the tree outside (we love California!).