Friday, June 12, 2009

The Time We Went to Moline (The Home of John Deere)

I'm really not sure why we thought it would be a good idea to go on a road trip with a 2 and 4 year old. I guess it's the crazy. Starting the night before, the 2-year-old wouldn't sleep because he was "Ready to go for our trip" as he reminded me for hours every time I went to his room to tell him to go to sleep and that we couldn't leave for our trip until he fell asleep and woke up when it was light outside. Of course an hour into the trip, both boys were saying they wanted to turn around and go back home.

We finally made it to Moline, which is a very strange town. It seems they have more bars there than any other type of business and anything that isn't a bar, hotel, or John Deere seems to be for sale or lease, even the court house. Everything is under construction and there are very few signs indicating where you are or how to get where you want to go. This is not the least bit stressful or irritating when you have two kids in the back seat yelling various things about having to go potty or wanting food or wanting to sit in another tractor. We even accidentally ended up on an active military base just trying to get across the river because the sign that tells you it is a military base was about the size of a speed limit sign with three paragraphs explaining it was the bridge to the base and what you needed for access and there is no way a normal person could read it all while driving up the on-ramp by which it was posted and trying to merge with traffic. At least we weren't arrested at the guard post, since this is (shockingly) a very common mistake. The boys seemed to enjoy most of the things we did, despite that Ryan and I were stressed and tired most of the time. They loved seeing all the John Deere equipment and the Mississippi River and riding in the hotel elevator and swimming in the hotel pool.

Although this trip was really for the kids, but we had a great time too. Before we had kids we stopped in Davenport, IA on our way back from Yellowstone and had dinner at this cute little brew pub there called The Front Street Brewery. Since Davenport is right across the river from Moline we did get to have dinner and some beer (well, just dinner, no beer for the kids) there one evening. We sat outside on their patio and talked to the boys about our Yellowstone trip and about how we would all go there and to the Grand Canyon someday and it was nice.

The strangest thing about Moline was the volume of retiree-type persons we encountered and how very rude and unfriendly they were. I understand that not all people like children and that doesn't usually bother me. Typically, these people just ignore kids or at least attempt to be polite if they absolutely must interact with them. Not the old people of (visiting?) Moline. These people did not even try to hide their contempt for kids. We had people give us dirty looks just because our kids were near them in a public place. Mind you, we are not those parents who let our kids run around crazy and get in the way of other people or disrespect that others are sharing a public area with us. We keep them close to us in public and remind them to watch for others and if they do happen to get too enthusiastic and run in front of someone we always apologize and remind our kids of the behavior we expect from them. None of that mattered. We had people sneer at us. Sneer at our kids. Cut in front of us in lines as though we didn't exist and hadn't been waiting patiently and quietly with our two energetic kids for our turn. People in general were not that friendly there, but the behavior of the older persons was actually shocking. It was bizarre. Not that any of this ruined our trip, it was just too odd to not mention.

Both of the boys loved Moline, but I think Owen had the most fun. He constantly walked toward a huge tractor or combine or other heavy machinery with his arms outstretched shouting "It's giant!" His favorite thing to say now is "I want to go to the John Deere place." He is actually in bed saying it right now, even though it is an hour past his bedtime. Maybe he can retire to Moline and visit the John Deere Pavilion every day and be rude to the families with little kids who come there.


  1. I'll admit that I have shot parents dirty looks before, but I've only done that when they're ignoring a child who's running around a restaurant, tripping waitresses and patrons. Okay, and I also gave the stink eye to this father who brought two five-year-olds to the 10:30 showing of Wolverine last week.

    But those situations are different. You were at the John Deere Pavilion - that's a place practically made for children.

    When I was in Washington DC, I was pleased to see kids in the museums. I listened to this one mother explaining WWII to her young son in the Museum of American History, and I tapped her shoulder and said, "You are such a great mother!" I meant it. Every time I heard a parent explaining space travel, evolution theory, or American history to their children, it gave me hope for the future.

    Education is the best gift you can give to a child. Don't ever let some 65-year-old redneck make you feel bad about being an awesome mother.

  2. Thanks for the comment! (And I can say I've given other parents dirty looks too if it seemed completely justified. It was just so odd these people were rude to us and our kids even when the boys were being very polite and well-behaved!)