Sunday, 19 October 2014

El museo de los(t) ninos

We're on holiday in Buenos Aires at the moment, having a late break, trying to catch some sunshine just as an autumnal feel falls over the UK. It's a gorgeous place; romantic, soulful and arty. Try telling that to the McBaby who wants to do nothing but "do running please mummy" along the busy streets (avoiding the copious amounts of dog poo) and to eat the Argentine favourite "dulce de leche."

So, after a couple of days of walking, watching Tango and generally getting a feel for the place, we took a long walk up Avenue Corrientes to the Abasto Shopping Centre, home of the only Kosher McDonalds outside Israel and also home of the Museo of Los Ninos. MrM jokingly called it the Museo of Lost Ninos. How prescient that would turn out to be. Earlier that same day, he had the McBaby on his shoulders and managed to trip over a paving slab. Somehow, I turned around to see this and managed to catch the McBaby who was plummeting towards the ground head first.

The Museum is brilliant - highly colourful, and pleasingly more expensive for children to enter than for adults. It's set out like a little city so that children can sit in cars, stop at the bank, try working at the docks or in supermarkets and see how the water system works (complete with giant toilet and pipes).

The McBaby particularly enjoyed piloting a boat (and setting off the ship's horn) while some other children loaded fruit crates onto it. Then we entered a tactile room with lots of soft, rubbery green fronds hanging from the ceiling. I took a photo of the McBaby and put my camera away. When I looked up, he'd completely vanished. Unfortunately he is not the sort of person who feels inclined to return when you shout his name, not matter how loudly or panicked. And after a minute we truly were panicking, checking the exits (my way was blocked at every one by the staff encouraging the children to run across in front of me - I almost thought it was deliberate at one point in my hysteria), and my brain was going crazy by reminding me that I'd been reading about the fate of aviator Charles Lindbergh's eldest son).

I was screaming the McBaby's name now, imagining the worst and wondering if I'd ever see him again. MrM was much calmer and strategically looked in each different part of the "city" rather than running and screaming indiscriminately. I seem to remember wondering why the staff weren't more concerned and trying to ask in if they could have a look on the cameras, while desperately constructing sentences such as "I've lost my son" in grammatically dubious Spanish.

Eventually, someone said they'd seen him go into another room where we found him, completely unfazed by the panic. I was so relieved to see him I nearly crushed him with a bear hug. I tried to thank all of the staff that had experienced by terrible Spanish with one of them telling me that it happens quite frequently. A member of the public told me that she had six children and hadn't lost any of them - I only had one! Not helpful. Perhaps her children actually come when called?

We tried to cheer ourselves up with a pizza in the shopping mall (keeping a hand on McBaby's shoulder at all times). Don't let our experience put you off visiting this brilliant attraction which will keep young children entertained for hours.

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