All of our New Experiences are planned. Of course I know that a New Experience can happen at any moment, but one of my goals with this project was to set aside time to spend as a family. The New Experience project was designed to be purposeful. But, occasionally, I need to be flexible in my thinking and planning. Planning for the unexpected is something that I have learned from this whole project!
We went to visit my sister in Virginia a couple of weeks ago and had planned to do something fun in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, the government shutdown foiled our plans. All of the museums and monuments were closed. We had a few outdoor ideas, but a rainy day was the second obstacle we had to overcome.
My sister found out about a Fire Prevention Day in Falls Church, VA and thought that would be a fun way to spend the day. I agreed, but I wasn’t expecting a New Experience since my children had been to a similar program at our local fire station last year.
Boy, was I wrong! Falls Church puts on a Fire Prevention Day like none other. Free food and balloons, fire safety mascots, and lots and lots of trucks to climb on were just some of the highlights.
As for our New Experience, we actually did three small things that were new to us during the day. First, we watched the firefighters enact a real fire. They drove up in a fire engine with its sirens on, assessed the situation, pulled out the huge ladder, and saved the doll that was trapped inside the “burning” building. It was impressive to watch how quickly they donned their safety equipment and climbed up the extended ladder. The drill made both of the kids a little nervous as it was loud, and there was quite a bit of activity. However, it was such an important thing for them to see.
Another New Experience was watching a K-9 find drugs hidden inside a parked car. I think I was more amazed at the dog’s abilities than the kids were. They were more interested in learning that he lives with his handler and likes to eat treats than they were in watching him sniff out the drugs in less than a minute of walking around the parked car.
Finally, the kids were fingerprinted as part of a child safety program. As the officer explained that I should keep my children’s fingerprints in a safe deposit box, I was overcome with a feeling of dread. Needing fingerprints is a grim thought for any parent. However, the kids thought it was a fun activity. Leah liked looking at the swirls in her prints, and Luke said he wished he could go inside the police station to learn more about them. Their enthusiasm made my uneasiness disappear, and we all marveled at their prints, so intricate and unique.
Fire Safety Day was not our first choice of a New Experience in the Washington, D.C. area, but it turned out to be an informative and enjoyable one.