1 year, 7 months & 4 days into Daddyhood

We took Talise to the Thinktank yesterday – Birmingham’s premiere child-friendly interactive museum. There was lots to see and do, which for a child Talise’s age amounted to lots of button-pressing, squealing and giggling at various items of machinery and picking up, waving, banging and splashing anything that could be picked up, waved, banged or splashed. She had the proverbial whale of a time, although this wouldn’t always have been immediately evident to a passing observer, as she is the kind of child (much like Yours Truly in his formative years) who often expresses her delight in a particular activity by concentrating very hard and having a very serious look on her face. Believe me, if you bear witness to this look, Talise is having fun.

The highlight of the day was the “state-of-the-art digital Planetarium,” which offers “a totally immersive fulldome (360-degree) experience.” What it doesn’t offer, however, are any refreshments or entertainment during the 55 minutes in which we had to queue to see the next available show. Which is a problem us queuing adults may have just shut up and put up with (or complained quietly to each other about), but when most of the audience is young children… may I just herewith say thank Billy-O we didn’t have a Toddler-incited riot on our hands! This is definitely something I’ll be commenting upon in the Your Comments leaflet. That said…

As mentioned, the Planetarium was the “highlight of the day.” When they finally opened the doors for us, then those of us with push-chairs parked them in the incongruously big-empty-room next to the Planetarium, we plonked our queue-weary bottoms down on the reclining seats and the show began. Said show, entitled The Little Star That Could, was reasonably entertaining and offered a reasonable level of education – to whit, the toddler-friendly rudiments of cosmology and astronomy. For me, though, it wasn’t about being edu-tained by this colourful 360-degree cartoon, nor even being able to sit in relative comfort and peace for 25 minutes (have I mentioned how chaotic and ear-assaulting the Thinktank is on a half-term Saturday?)… but rather the fact that, once Talise had become aware of what was happening on the screen above and in front of her, she was utterly entranced. She was, by this point, getting tired, which no doubt helped her to sit still – but for about half of the show, as I reclined on my seat, she reclined back on me, her head on my chest, my hands around her lovely little belly, and she watched, with barely a peep, The Little Star That Could.

She pointed, fascinated, up at the screen.

She noticed the glasses of one of the “stars” of the show, said “ga-ga” (her word for “glasses”) and pointed, in turn, at Daddy’s “ga-gas.”

Some of the other toddlers in the audience cried or fidgeted or fell asleep.

At the end of the show, as we were leaving, she waved and said “Bye-bye!” and “See you soon!”

I was so proud!

I wonder when there’ll be a new show at the Planetarium?