ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the December 2, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] dreamwriteremmy. It also fills the "hugs" square in my 11-25-14 card for the [community profile] hc_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Danso & Family thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.


"The Adventure Building"


One thing Danso had realized about Hannah,
very quickly, was that she thought of them
as children first and soups second.

She wanted them to have opportunities
to do all the things that other kids
their age got to do, and so her lessons --
from talent control to manners --
were aimed at getting them into
everyday life rather than cooping them up.

Onion City had all kinds of museums,
and one of them was a children's museum
called the Adventure Building. Hannah
gathered them up one Saturday morning
and took them all to see it.

Danso had to laugh at the sign inside
which listed the parts of the museum.
The main floor had the obvious things
like Gift Shop, First Aid, and Food Court.
But the exhibits all had names like
Old Things, New Things, Furry Things,
Outdoor Things, Gross Things,
Scary Things, Famous People, Far Away,
Junior Genius, and Soup's On.

"Okay, what do people want to see?"
Hannah asked as they read the sign.

"Gross things and scary things!"
Lakia said, her tail twitching.

"I don't like scary things," Hadyn protested.
"I'd rather look at the famous people."

"Everybody gets to pick one thing
they want the most," Hannah said.
"Danso is old enough to supervise
if we need to split up for a few minutes.
Danso, where would you like to go?"

"I think old things would be fun," he said.
"I don't mind looking at gross or scary things.
I can take Lakia there while you take
Hadyn through the famous people."

Rosita was drowsing in the baby carrier
currently wrapped around Hannah, but
Hannah asked Nathaniel for a choice.

"Boogers," he said, and then, "dinosaurs."

Hannah chuckled. "Gross things might have
an exhibit on boogers. Dinosaurs are
probably in with the old things."

The Adventure Building wasn't organized
like the other museums Danso had seen.
The signs really were honest --
Old Things included everything from
fossil leaves and dinosaurs to a timeline to
Roman statues with their heads knocked off.

The fragile items were all sealed in sturdy cases,
but every category of exhibit had something
you could touch or play with or climb on.

Danso rubbed his hand over a rough rock
that held a smooth chunk of hadrosaur femur,
reading aloud the sign that explained how
hadrosaurs were the most common dinosaur
in North America during much of their reign.

"Let's split up for the next part, and then
regroup for Junior Genius and Soup's On,"
Hannah suggested at the stairs.

"I don't want to go into the soup part,"
Hadyn said. "People will think we're freaks."

Hannah frowned. "That's not a nice word,
Hadyn, please don't use it. The soup exhibit
is there for everyone, and there's no reason
to speculate about anyone else's abilities.
Most of them don't show anyway."

"Lakia's does," Hadyn said.

"Then maybe people will think we're there
for her instead of all of us," Hannah said.
"Remember, it doesn't matter what powers
you have or don't have, whether they show
or not. What matters is how you use
whatever you have. It's not okay
to make people feel bad because of
what they can or can't do."

Danso took Lakia and Nathaniel
through the exhibit of gross things.
Sure enough, there was a presentation
on mucus that explained what it was for.
An aquarium held a dead rat being eaten
by dermestid beetle larvae, with a plaque
that described how the museum used them
to clean up animal skeletons for display.

The touchy-feely thing that drew the most attention
was the big table full of sensory toys. Lakia
poked around everything, sometimes by hand
and other times with her tail. Nathaniel was
more hesitant but Danso made note of everything
that he played with, including the green blob that
squeaked when squeezed hard enough.

At the end of the hall there was a sign that said,
We think gross things are fun. Not everyone does.
Please respect your friends and make sure that
they want to hear about your visit here before you
tell them all the cool things you saw in this wing.
Going to the restaurant? Ask for a cricket lollipop!
Shopping in the gift store? They have Booger Clay,
virtual dissection games, and Gross Science documentaries
.

Scary Things turned out to include the Plague
and its effects on Europe, predatory dinosaurs,
tornado and hurricane storms with a tornado tank,
and earthquakes with a simulator table where you
could make buildings and even stand beside them
to feel the vibrations as they shook apart.

Lakia was fascinated by the tornado tank and
wanted the tiny one advertised for the gift shop.

Nathaniel loved the earthquake table
and howled when Danso pried him off it
because they had to go meet Hannah.

"What happened?" Hannah asked,
hugging the upset toddler.

"Earthquake!" wailed Nathaniel.

"The earthquake was too scary?"
Hannah guessed.

Danso shook his head. "No, they have a table
that vibrates and he didn't want to leave it."

"Maybe he'd enjoy some of the toys
designed for vestibular stimulation,"
Hannah said. "He's big enough for rockers."

"So what did you find in Famous People?"
Danso asked as they headed toward
the Junior Genius area.

"Anna Pavlova was a Russian dancer,"
said Hadyn. "She invented the world tour.
Before her, dancers were just local attractions."

Danso took Rosita from Hannah so that
Hannah could carry Nathaniel instead, who was
still sniffling and clinging to her for comfort.

They headed into the Junior Genius wing,
which consisted entirely of things to play with.
Each display had a label and a list of questions
or hints for children to explore as they played.

There was an arch made of foam blocks,
which really needed a tall person
to put the keystone in place,
so Danso helped with that.

Along one wall were exploratory boards
that did all kinds of different things --
one had tubes and shelves to make a path
for rolling balls into a basket, while
another had heat-print discs.

Hadyn liked the heat prints because
she could make them instantly.

There was a mirror wall with flat
and wavery and bubble-shaped mirrors.
Several metal panels offered magnets
in all shapes and colors to stick on them,
including a set of gears that really turned.

Nathaniel stopped fussing long enough
to play with the mirrors and the magnets.

Behind a glass window, a real live scientist
was doing a demonstration with liquids
that changed colors or foamed or froze solid
as he carefully mixed them together.

Lakia kept looking back and forth between
the experiment in progress and the text
about it on the wall display.

When they went into the superpower wing,
Hannah handed Nathaniel to Danso
because now Hadyn was clinging.

"Here, let's read the front sign,"
Hannah said to the children.

Superpowers have always existed, but
they came into public view in the 1940s,

the sign said in tidy print. There are
many different powers people can have.
Bear in mind that soups are people too --
it is not nice to pick on anyone
for having or not having superpowers.
Powers are for helping, not for hurting!


The movie room had buttons to choose
from several short documentaries
about superpowers, and slideshows like
"Flickering" which they'd all seen in school.

A big three-panel display laid out
how manners were changing
to account for people with superpowers.

"How do people decide on new manners?"
Hadyn asked Hannah. "Powers can be scary,
and scary things make people mean."

"Not all powers are scary," Hannah said
as she hugged Hadyn against her side.
"Even scary powers can be managed.
Etiquette is really just a long conversation
that society has with itself about how to be nice.
So when mean things happen, we talk about
how to prevent them from happening again."

There was a "map" that showed how
different superpowers clustered together,
so Healing and Regeneration were
related in the physical talents while
Telepathy and Empathy were psychic.

"I'm in Extra Body Parts," Lakia said,
pointing to the purple bubble on the map.

They looked at the life-size statue of
Whammy Lass holding up a tank.

"I wish they'd replace that," Hannah said
with a sigh. "Helen hates that image,
but people expect it, so it stays."

"It's weird, going to a museum and
seeing someone you've actually met,"
Danso said quietly.

Gizmos and super-gizmos showed
how zetetics had changed the world.

"Gizmos go beep," Nathaniel said solemnly,
and everyone agreed that, yes,
some gizmos beeped.

There was another timeline of events
relating to superheroes and supervillains,
and a big list of blue-plate special jobs
that showed how powers could be used
by firefighters and zoom wagon drivers
and all kinds of other professions.

A smaller display introduced supernaries
who could do extraordinary things
without any superpowers per se.

At the end of the hall, a woman sat under a sign
that said, Hi, my name is Motley. I am a soup,
so now you can say that you've met one!
I can change the color of my skin. I work here,
so it's okay to ask me about my talent.
Remember that some soups don't like
to talk about theirs. You can practice
your soup etiquette with me
.

Beside Motley's chair stood a big box
with toys of many colors inside it.

"Hi I'm Lakia and I have a tail!"
the girl said all in one breath.

"And a very pretty tail it is too," Motley said.

"Can you do green?" Nathaniel asked,
picking up a plastic lizard. "I like green."

"I can do green," Motley said
as she took the lizard from him.
Slowly her hand turned from pink to green.

To Danso, her talent felt faintly warm
and malleable, like one of those baby-lights
that shifted from one color to another.
It wasn't very strong, but it was beautiful.

He poked around the box and found
a plaid teddy bear. "Is this fair?"
he asked. "Can you do patterns?"

"I can do multiple colors, but
the patterns come out blurry,"
Motley said, trading lizard for bear.

Her skin brightened to red,
taking on dark streaks,
not quite plaid but close.

"Cool," Lakia whispered.
"I wish I could do that."

"It's fun to admire what other people
can do," said Motley. "I think your tail
is cool too. But the world would be
a lot more boring if everyone could do
all the same things. I think we're lucky
to have as much diversity as we do."

"Thank you for showing us your gift,"
Hadyn said softly. "It's nice that
some people have pretty ones."

After that, they went back down
to visit the gift shop. Hannah
laid out the budget for them, then
went to look at educational toys
for Rosita and Nathaniel.

Lakia made a beeline for the models.
"I wanna pet tornado!" she said.

Hadyn found a pink t-shirt with
women scientists on it.

Nathaniel wanted the Booger Clay.

"What have you picked out, Danso?"
asked Hannah. She already had
a Count With Me cloth book for Rosita
and a Super Mom t-shirt for herself.

"I haven't really found anything,"
he said with a shrug. He still felt
vaguely guilty about all the money
that people kept spending on him.
It wasn't like he needed anything here.

"Still trying to figure out what you like?"
Hannah said sympathetically.
She touched his shoulder, and when
he didn't pull away, drew him into a hug.

"Yeah, I guess," Danso admitted. It was hard.
He'd been too busy for that kind of exploration.

The saleslady leaned over to add,
"If you're into self-exploration,
we have some mood t-shirts."

Curious, Danso investigated the rack.
The shirts rippled with colors as he did so.
A quick check of the tag revealed that
they were plain cotton, not dexflan or capery.

"How does this even work?" he wondered.

"It's the dye that's gizmotronic,
not the fiber," the saleslady explained.
"I have a cocktail dress in silk that's dyed like that --
cost me a week's salary, but it's so worth it!"

Danso held a t-shirt against his chest, admiring it.
Then he saw the price tag and hastily hung it up.

"You didn't like it?" Hannah asked.

"It's great, but it costs twice what you said,"
Danso said. He shouldn't be greedy.

"Danso should get extra because
he babysat Howl," Hadyn argued.
"Plus the Booger Clay is really cheap
so the budget should still balance."

"Extra consideration for babysitting is fair,"
Hannah declared. "We'll keep that in mind
for future excursions, too. Danso, pick up
your shirt and let's check out."

So they all trooped to the checkout line
with their souvenirs in hand.

"You didn't have to say anything,"
Danso whispered to Hadyn.

"Yes I did," she said. "You're my brother.
You deserve to have nice things too."

She hugged him, and that made Danso
feel like maybe he did deserve it after all.

* * *

Notes:

A children's museum is designed for fun learning, usually interactive. Find one near you.

Hadrosaurs were common dinosaurs.

Dermestid beetles are used to clean skeletons. Watch a video of them.

Gross souvenirs include cricket lollipops and virtual dissection.

See a large and small tornado simulator. Example of the effects that gizmology has: in our world the small one costs around $300, in Terramagne is about $20.

You can make your own earthquake table.

Vestibular toys provide sensation through movement, such as bouncing or rocking. They are a staple of sensory stimulation equipment, useful in childhood development and especially for treating sensory processing issues.

Anna Pavlova was a famous ballerina.
Learning through play and educational toys have many benefits. Babies are born with exploratory instincts that parallel scientific method. Fun science toys include the keystone arch and motion path walls, heat rings, mirror wall, magnet wall and gears.
"Flickering" is a slide show created by [personal profile] dialecticdreamer, showing the kind of educational material that SPOON produces.

Manners tend to evolve over time in response to social and environmental changes, such as new technology. With about 70 years to adjust, Terramagne cultures have learned a lot about superpowers and how to accommodate them. Some of the etiquette has adapted from ordinary analogs (it's rude to point and stare at a person in a wheelchair or one who has a tail) while others are more exotic (things which are covered to ordinary senses should be considered private, even if your super-senses allow you to see through them).

See the plaid bear.

Items from the gift shop include a women of science t-shirt, cloth counting book, and Super Mom t-shirt. There are many different slime toys to choose from; Booger Clay is a Terramagne version. Color-changing clothes have had different iterations in our world including thermochromatic ones; gizmotronic ones are better.

OH, FUN!

Date: 2014-12-10 09:34 pm (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
We hit every science and exploration museum within two hours' driving distance so many times I lost count. (The docents at the /nearest/ two knew my kids by name.) If I hadn't been stuck with a walker for most of a year, I think we would've continued to go through both boys teen years, too-- the last time we went the youngest was fourteen and the museum was helping a group of 8 and up dissect a sheep's heart.

Science is for EVERYBODY!


Danso... I just want to hug that kid, you know? I'm especially glad that Hadyn spoke up, too. She's becoming more /openly/ secure, which says a lot about all the minutes we don't get to see among the whole family.

Science for fun!

Date: 2014-12-10 09:44 pm (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
I like this. We have a children's science museum in my town, too, called the Wonder Lab. I'd love to see some large foam building blocks and a display on basic architecture there; maybe I'll suggest it to them sometime.

Lakia made a beeline for the models.
"I wanna pet tornado!" she said.


Oh, Lakia, a tornado fits you so well. :)

Re: Science for fun!

Date: 2014-12-12 11:45 pm (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
That's not too far from where we live.

..people make that mistake all the time. Bloomington, Indiana is south of Indianapolis.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-10 10:53 pm (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
fossil leaves and dinosaurs to a timeline to
to Roman statues with their heads knocked off.


Either there's an extra "to" there, or there was something else in the middle that got dropped.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-11 12:28 am (UTC)
thnidu: A shield-shaped hunk of watermelon rind, with bits carved away to make 2 staring eyes and a mouth. By bensanaz (melonhead)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
This gives me warm fuzzies, thinking of my kids when they were small, and my friends' kids.

Re virtual dissection: the Philadelphia Franklin Institute currently has an exhibit of BODY WORLDS: Animal Inside Out.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-12 03:19 am (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
I bring my kids to museums all the time, but not all are kid friendly. There's one in Chatanooga, TN that's almost as cool as this one. There were a lot of interactive exhibits, and very friendly staff. Lots of activities, as well.

Every poem, I just love Danso more.
Edited Date: 2014-12-12 03:19 am (UTC)

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2014-12-12 04:47 am (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
It was very much one of, if not the, best kids museum that I've ever been to.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-10 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janetmiles.livejournal.com
I enjoyed this one a lot; nice family excursion with minimal stress on the kids.

One typo, I think:

fossil leaves and dinosaurs to a timeline to
to Roman statues with their heads knocked off.


"To" is repeated at the end and the beginning of the line.
Edited Date: 2014-12-10 09:19 pm (UTC)

Thank you!

Date: 2014-12-11 03:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> I enjoyed this one a lot; nice family excursion with minimal stress on the kids. <<

Yay! I had fun with it.

>> One typo, I think: <<

Fixed.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-13 03:49 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Danso held a t-shirt against his chest, admiring it.
Then he saw the price tag and hastily hung it up.


Eep. That one's familiar. Poor Danso. I'm glad he had Hadyn there to remind him of his worth. <3

~AnonyMouse

Yes...

Date: 2014-12-13 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
Getting used to a higher standard of living, and respect, can be hard. Teamwork helps. Eventually Danso will learn to open a discussion instead of just giving up on himself.

(no subject)

Date: 2015-04-25 04:07 pm (UTC)
lynnoconnacht: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lynnoconnacht
This. Is. Adorable. <3<3<3<3<3

Especially Hadyn at the end and I love seeing the dynamics between Danso and Hannah. <3

fun outings for all ages

Date: 2016-09-30 08:21 am (UTC)
callibr8: (diversity)
From: [personal profile] callibr8
If they ever visit Rain City, they need to make a trek to the northern part of the metropolis and check out Snapdoodle Toys. It's next to a transit center and right on several major bus routes, so it's easy to get to. The staff is great, you can tell them something like, "I need something in about [this] price range for a [age] kid with [interests]", and they'll show you several suitable options in different sections (toys are grouped by type and most types have options for several age ranges).

(no subject)

Date: 2017-01-01 07:28 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
*flails* This is so cool and I wanna the entire museum. (Wanna visit, buy, collect, give away, pet, admire ... just wanna!) But my favorite part is Hadyn standing up for Danso.

Re: Thank you!

Date: 2017-01-02 01:11 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
:D Museums are cool.

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