The chair at the foot of the antique bed has been described to me to be built in the Queen Anne style. It dates from around 1850 and is in great condition for a period peace that old. It's a more of a love seat actually with faded yellow fabric that actually seems to have no rips or burrs in the fabric. It's lovely really and that's why you see me in full sprint towards that piece, nearly knocking over our tour guide and nearly destroying more of Queen Anne's things. Bacon Hoss has decided that perhaps he would like to jump on it. And after that, I'm sure he will want to puke on it to complete the destruction of this antique. In his dairy he will write "Successfully destroyed priceless antique today. Dad has to mow yards of mansions for 30 years to pay it off. Mission accomplished. Tomorrow I invade China and their famous dishes."
I grab the boy right before he gets a foot up on it and thankful that I have kept myself in a state of constant panic before we stepped into this 1857 historic mansion. We get out of the car, I give him a pacifier so he won't scream, I pray to as many God's that I can think of preferring to hedge all my bets and then throw away any anxiety pills that are left over from the last historic house I did. I need anxiety on the inside, I need to be in a state of constant fear so that my reflexes are sharp.
"Oh, don't worry, he can actually sit on that" our tour guide says. She tells me that they have several pieces that they allow people to sit on during the tour. It's very sturdy she says so don't worry about him sitting on it.
She's young and I smile remembering my youth, the life before I had children. Yes, children sit. How quaint. Perhaps they would like some tea in a priceless china cup that sits on a small saucer and doily.
Toddlers don't sit. They run, they bounce, they jump, they destroy. They do not place their bottoms nicely on antique furniture while listening to historic facts. That would be awesome if they would though. I do that but I don't need to be constantly entertained by cartoons and bribed by skittles. Toddlers start out sitting then they think, hey if my butt fits so nicely here I bet my feet and dirty shoes would fit even better. And since I'm already standing, let's give this bad boy the complete test drive and start jumping. And once I'm jumping, I bet I can fling myself right through this 150 year old hand blown window in no time flat That mirror over there is a period piece and is special because it has diamond dust backing? You don't say! Why don't we move this bouncy seat thing over that way and you can critique me on my technique.
That's what toddler do and I'm ready for it. Somebody is going to sit on my lap until they punch me in the face and I have to start swatting hands as I get into a hissy fit fight with a 2 year old that likes to feed the dog yogurt from his own spoon.
I thank her for her patience and hospitality and assure her that I am really enjoying the tour and I really am. There's only so many playgrounds, bounce houses and sing alongs that good old Dad can go to before I want to start puncturing my ear drums with twigs. So for the next two weeks we are taking tours of old historic mansions and learning a bit about the local history. I could do this all day and luckily sometimes I get the chance to. I just have one condition: take a 2 year old with me and hope that I don't get asked to leave before the police show up. No problem, I got this.
Besides, as a side job nowadays I am writing for the local tourism website designed to promote my city. It's pretty cool actually, the pay isn't much but it is enough to cover the cost of adventures that I would be doing anyway. Shit yeah I can write about it. When the idea of touring local mansions came up I thought it would be a good way to break up the playgrounds, expose my son to culture and add spice to my life. Hard mode parenting, I should be earning medals for this.
The tour guide now wants to move to the dining room to show me their collection of silver. She seems very proud of it. I assume that the word "priceless" can again be applied to it. I also assume the word "shiny" can also work.
I set my son down. 2 houses down, 5 more to go. I got this.
Where did my son go? Shit.