May 30, 2009
Mint Condition: A Trip to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia
Since my kids are obsessed with coins, I thought that a trip to the U.S. Mint in downtown Philadelphia might be interesting for them.
I was wrong.
"This is boring," wailed Cortlen as we watched newly minted pennies move along a factory conveyor belt below us. "Are you going to buy me something from the gift shop?"
"I'm super hungry," cried Kellen. "And my belly hurts!" he cried, clutching his stomach. "Did you bring any snacks?"
"Are they going to give us money at the end of this tour?" Camber asked. After answering everyone in the negative, two out of my three mobile children collapsed on the ground. "My legs hurt!" whined my daughter. "I can't walk anymore! Can I ride in the stroller?"
Before disturbing my sleeping eight-month-old to make room for his six-year-old sister, I clarified my daughter's request.
"You really think it's a good idea to wake the baby up so you can get in there?" I asked.
"Yes," she said seriously.
Fortunately, the tour was self-guided. After politely "excusing" our way through a school group, we exited the building and made haste toward the car, which was parked at a parking meter ALL THE WAY across the street.
"A little further, a little further," I said encouragingly, as I lured my slouching brood across the crosswalk with a bag of licorice whips.
After much whining and gnashing of teeth over the hardships of field trips and cruelty of parents who refuse to buy bags of souvenir chocolate half dollars from the gift shop, everyone made it safely to the car and into their seats.
Time it took us to get to and from the U.S. Mint in traffic: 2 hours
Total time spent inside the U.S. Mint including a trip to the bathroom: 12 minutes
Total distance walked: approximately 300 paces
Number of children who claim to have suffered permanent psychological damage from this experience: 3
Number of moms who secretly bought a bag of chocolate half dollars and ate them after her kids went to bed that night: 1