Storytime with Hop and Bun, the Imaginary Bunnies

Photo: Stuffed white rabbit sitting on a bookshelf. Text: "Storytime with Hop and Bun, the Imaginary Bunnies / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So"

This is actually Snowball, our “pet bunny.” But good luck getting a photo of an imaginary friend.

“Tell me a Hop and Bun story,” Sprout says, his pants around his ankles as he’s sitting on the toilet. Perched on the side of the bathtub, I look off into the distance, as if I can pluck an idea from the mirror above the sink. “Hmmmm, well,” I stall, wracking my brain. “Once upon a time, there were two bunnies, named Hop and Bun. They were best friends. One day…”

Eventually, I always come up with something. The plots have ranged from the hapless bunnies getting lost on the subway to saving up money and buying a scooter.

While I love telling Sprout stories – despite the odd circumstances – that’s not my favorite part of this routine. No – it’s the fact that Hop and Bun are utterly from Sprout’s imagination. I played no part in their creation. They aren’t drawn from a book or TV show. One day, Sprout just declared that he was a bunny named Hop and Bun was his friend.

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Wegman’s Wonderplace Children’s Area at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

Photo: Replica of Julia Child's kitchen as a toy kitchen for children with pots and pans hanging on the wall; Text: "Wegman's Wonderplace at the National Museum of American History / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So"

Despite having more museums per square mile than anywhere in the country, Washington D.C. doesn’t have a museum dedicated just to kids. In our ongoing survey of the children’s museums of the East Coast, there’s not a single one we can reach by Metro. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t kid-friendly spaces available. The Smithsonian is working to develop some exhibits that focus on small children, such as the Wegman’s Wonderplace in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. On a visit a few weeks ago, we found it to be a cute area for small children, especially in the context of a larger visit to the museum.

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Reaching My Mid-30s: Reflections on 34

Photo: Woman blowing out birthday candle on ice cream; Text "Reaching My Mid-30s: Reflections on 34 / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So"

For all the hoopla, I didn’t mind turning 30. But 34? Nobody warned me about 34.

34 is definitively in your mid-30s – a milestone that I denied last year on my birthday. At that time, I felt surprisingly sanguine. Despite 2015 being a pretty terrible year, I felt confident about the future. I was pregnant with our second child, was dreaming about potential future jobs, had a handle on my volunteer work, and was balancing work and life reasonably well.

Then the world threw me for a loop.

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What I’ve Been Reading

National Aquarium photo 2017

Our house has been dominated by colds, talks of birthdays, and our recent annual visit to the National Aquarium. Pro tip – on busy weekends, the National Aquarium in Baltimore issues timed tickets, which means you may not be able to enter the aquarium for hours after you buy the tickets. Second pro tip – the dragon boats on the harbor fill up with water if too many people sit on the same side. Wacky hijinks galore!

This week’s links include how to bring down the patriarchy on a bike, get a free book each month for your kids, and eventually stop feeling so damn tired as a mom.

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10 Ways a “Simple Afternoon” Can Go Awry

10-ways-a-simple-afternoon-can-go-awry

The afternoon stretched before me, ripe with potential. With Chris taking the car in for repairs, I had the kids to myself on a warm, sunny day. The park nearby beckoned. The seeds for our garden still needed starting, months before they could go in the ground. And we still had the make-your-own bird feeder activity I had promised Sprout that we would do since we got birdseed in church for some mysterious reason. Why not do it all? None of it would take very long, right? Silly me.

Here’s a few of the ways an afternoon filled with old-fashioned activities can go not-quite-as-planned:

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The Before and After of Motherhood

Text: "The Before and After of Motherhood / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So" Photo: Woman climbing on the side of a cliff.

I was never cool. All of those things women lament about giving up when they have kids? I never did them. Instead, my transformation as a mom has been more subtle but no less radical.

I never went out clubbing. Okay, I did, but I usually complained that it was too loud or too crowded or played music I didn’t like. My husband worked nights and weekends for years and I wasn’t going to go alone, so it was a rare occasion at best.

I never dressed up in perfect makeup and stiletto heels. Mascara makes my eyelashes stick to my face. Lipstick makes my lips feel weird. I’ve never even tried to wear stilettos. The only time I’ve ever been in full makeup was my wedding; it felt like a mask.

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Just Streetcars: The National Capital Trolley Museum

Photo: A Dutch electric streetcar with a Dutch and American flag on top; Text:

“I love things that drive and move and moons,” Sprout announced to me the other day. When you’ve watched trains and ridden the Metro so many times you’ve lost count, what’s the mom of a transit-loving kid to do? Bring them to the National Capital Trolley Museum in Colesville, MD!

While the D.C. region has a wealth of museums, none of the others have trolleys (aka streetcars) you can actually ride on. If the idea of a 15-minute trolley ride through the woods doesn’t thrill you, this museum probably isn’t for you.

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