Come play in my world for awhile!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When reality intrudes upon your fantasy

You know how you plan something with your kids and you have the best intentions at heart? You envision it, and in your mind's eye it's lovely. Everyone is happy and having fun; no one is bickering; birds are chirping and flowers are blooming. In that dark and scary place in the back of your mind (ahem, where your logic lives) you know this ridiculous perfection isn't how it works, and yet you always go there.

And I know better. I've fallen victim to this optimistic lunacy two or three hundred times once or twice and yet when I traveled to Washington D.C. with the family last week I had only visions of enlightened conversation and moments of shared knowledge dancing in my head.

I was especially thrilled because I was planning to take the kids to the National Gallery of Art. Now, I am not knowledgeable about art on any level but I love it, and I thought my enthusiasm and my two semesters of art history in my undergraduate days would carry us through. We entered the gallery and were immediately confronted by a huge fountain with a nude male at the top. Did I mention he was naked? Right about now the imaginary flowers that bloom in my fantasies began to wilt, but I was oblivious. The girls (mostly the 6-year-olds) giggled a little but were somewhat placated by my explanation of the artist's reverence for the nude form.

We quickly struck off into the gallery anxious to distract the still-snickering 6 year-olds. Unfortunately, we maneuvered ourselves smack dab into the middle of a whole hallway full of mostly naked bronze sculpture. Shazam! There were naked men... naked women... but most of all we found the naked babies. I think the angel babies are typically called cherubs, but at this point the educational portion of the tour was over and I was in damage control mode.

I'm telling you, if I could somehow harness the investigative speed and ferocity with which immature children can find the one nude cherub/baby in a painting with at least 1000 images, I could cure cancer... Without fail we'd enter a new room and I'd start counting down from 10... and before I'd hit zero the giggles would start... It was mostly the little ones, but stupidity is contagious.

And I guess the stupidity really was contagious. Those kids had themselves whipped into such a state over these dang-blasted cherubs that they were practically doubled over. And you know what? After a few minutes, I started laughing, too. I tried to navigate the herd away from the cherubs but it didn't work. They were E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E.

Anyway, this was the funniest thing my kids have seen in their entire lives:

As they stood snickering in front of the exhibit one child asked if that was the baby's penis. I grumpily said, "Of course it is. You know it is. Why do you even have to ask?" To which she replied, "because it looks like a little pickle." I, of course, had no reply (other than the silent prayer for strength that I offered up -- because I almost snorted like a pig when she made that comment about the little pickle).

At this point we just needed to leave before we made complete idiots of ourselves. Oh wait... too late for that. The kids were contained, but barely. I know their limits and we were testing them sorely. We made a mad dash to Rodin (the artist I most wanted to see), and I'll tell you what we did there.... tomorrow.

Until then, I've had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a real sculptor through the blogosphere. She's just completed a showing of her work and is looking to do a series of 12 sculptures inspired by blogging. I am going to be participating (if she still wants me after that dill pickle stupidity). Check out her blog to get all the details, and join me.

51 comments:

K said...

I had forgotten about all the naked people at the museum.

Thanks for the warning. At least I'll be prepared when my son gets a little older.

Hope the rest of the trip was great.

Rachel said...

I, too, have fallen victim to that same kind of optimistic lunacy. More times than I care to admit. It's almost so now I expect it and when we have an outing that isn't *completely* ruined by whining, bickering, injury or embarrassment it really DOES seem perfect.

Thanks for the tip. Crossing art museum off my list.

Tammy Howard said...

Oh, how familiar that scenario was for me!!!

How many times I've planned and dreamed about idyllic outings...

And oh, that moment when the inappropriate (and usually uncontrollable) laughter hits us, too...

The upside? You certainly did make a family memory, even if it wasn't the one you'd anticipated!

Alice said...

I really enjoyed this blog. It made me laugh out loud. Great way to start my day. A pickle is a good description don't you think?

Shawn said...

I think you've created a new game! Instead of 'Where's Waldo?' it will be ...hmmm...pickle peeping? Where's the pickle? Dill or bust?

I like it..I wanna play too!

resplendentlife said...

I don't know HOW you held it together after the pickle comment! I am so weak, I would have been, literally, ROFL!!!
Kathy B!, you can lead a six year old to culture but....you know the rest!

Gibby said...

I am so glad that I am not the only one who plans beautiful outings that really only end up occurring in my head. And I keep doing it! You'd think I would learn.

Anyhow, I feel your pain. But I think it is great that you took the girls and even though they were giggling more than oohing and aahing, I am sure they still got something out of it. Plus, I bet there are a bunch of adults who giggle, too.

Pickle. Love it.

Hello Anon Mom!

Donnetta said...

Are you going to be naked???? :) I'm impressed you made it that long without breaking into hysterical laughter!!! Give me a couple of giggly kids, some nakey babies and I'll be doubled over!!!

for a different kind of girl said...

Hilarious! We took the boys to go see Grant Woods' American Gothic and other works at our art center a few weeks ago. Luckily, there was only one or two nude works to deal with (seven year olds can say 'penis' quite loudly!), and the rest of the time was just spent with me telling the boys not to get too close to the art. In the end, I'm not sure I got to see much!

Jen said...

sorry but I can't help but giggle at the naked boy. ;)

i am the diva said...

ah, the innocence of children... tee hee, snort... pickle....

you gotta admit, though, penis is a pretty freaking funny word, let alone 'thing'. :D

to quote Elaine from Seinfeld: "I don't know HOW you guys walk around with those things."

Tsquared417 said...

I would be giggling too!!!

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

I know you were miserable, but as an outsider, that is too funny.

When Bo was a baby, Sassy called his business a pickle. Now it's a tallytale.

Ink said...

Sounds like you held it together despite the frustration (I tend to get all mad when the beautiful event doesn't unfold the way I imagined) so kudos to you.

Meg said...

I'll never eat pickles again.

the ungourmet said...

I can just imagine how funny this all must have been! I have hesitated to take my kids to the museum for this very reason! I can just imagine all of the jaw dropping and giggling that would be going on!

Can't wait to hear all about Rodin!

Riddle Girl said...

I think we all snorted-giggled-chuckled when we got to the pickle remark.
I'm just impressed that you venture with the four of them on your own. I can barely handle two when they get the giggles let alone double that.
Have fun when you get to the age of the "talk" with them. Maybe you can refer back to the cherubs!

ymK said...

LOL damage control mode. Yeah, our optimistic (read unrealistic) expectations. When will we learn?
But it still sounds like a fun trip. You are a cool mom for laughing with them, so I'm sure they had a great time too.

ymK said...

when you get time from damage control, and trying not to look at pickles, come sign a petition to pee in peace over at my blog.
Its an attempt to keep kids out of the bathroom when we are in there. Every sign counts.

D said...

No matter how old or appreciative of art that you are I don't think you ever get past how funny those little pickles look.

And let's face it, most of us are not used to public nudity.

I'll never forget my first drawing class with a nude model. Wow. I was terrified I'd see him on campus after the class.


Thanks for the plug Kathy.

LadyFi said...

A lot of art does involve nudity, so I guess you'll just have to go with the flow and carry on snorting like a demented pig every time you hear 'little pickle' references!

WAIT until they tell their teachers all about the visit!

Susie said...

Motherhood is strange. The things that you think are going to be really cool end up in the dud pile. And the things that you think will not be fun, turn out to be the best thing ever. Go figure!

Kristina P. said...

Don't ever take them to a Body Worlds exhibit.

Cassie said...

Pickle HeHeHeHeHeHeHe

Tisha said...

Thanks for giving me a laugh out loud today! I've never heard the pickle one, even though my 2 kids are obsessed with talking about body parts.
Have a great day!
Tisha

passionsandsoapboxes.com said...

I once took a group of 30 girl scouts age 10 to the Getty and I am not allowed to go back...ever.

Is there a link to the sculptor's blog...great opportunity for you

The Blonde Duck said...

LOL. I grew up in Austin, town of all the libreals in Texas, so we were always going to art things for school. And no one ever giggled at the nude statues, probably b/c we'd been seeing weirder things from a young age. After all, it is a city that celebrate's Eeyore's birthday and has an entire festival dedicated to spam.

ck said...

the question remains...do I put off taking them to a museum until they're in their teens, or deny them their right as human beings to eat pickles?

Grand Pooba said...

I totally would have laughed too!

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

Haven't been to D.C. since we moved in 2004. I miss all those pickles... lol. JUST KIDDING!!!

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

faemom said...

I think you did rather well. When we went, I was 14, my little brother was 13, and my baby brother was 11. My parents didn't attempt any art museums because they would have had lewd jokes. Maybe I should convience my dad to guest post. Hmmm.

Nydia said...

I have never wanted to take my kid out to places like this for this very reason ... Now, thanks to your decision to do so, I know I should wait a few more years when he's on a class trip or something ... Let them deal w/ all that stuff LOL

I'm signing up for the Blogger sculpture too! Yea!!

Bee and Rose said...

Little pickle...giggle giggle snort!
I love that story!

It's always the elderly with gas that set my family off on the road to giggleville!

Amy said...

oh too funny- a little pickle. haha

reminds me of the movie "Click"... "a little shmickle."

ScoMan said...

You'd think there would be some kind of warning in the brochure, or a person out the front whose job it is to quietly take the parents to one side and warn them about the naked sculptures, and the secret path through the gallery that will avoid them all.

Hit 40 said...

For the $$$ to get in, why can't a museum have a play room to dump the kids???

Just an hour of quiet time to make a quick dash through the museum would rock!

Mary K Brennan said...

I haven't had the pleasure just yet of bringing my 2 angels to the museum. Since they're boys I'm always worried what type of damage I'll be paying for. I totally forgot about the whole nude thing. I just know my kids would have acted the same way.

Missy said...

Never fails! You are trying to educate your children and they find the pee-pee of the "butterfly!" They will forget the pee-pee and remember the true lesson about art! LOL

Minxy Mimi said...

O M G!!! How funny!!! Kids are so weird, they dont get "art" they just see nekkidness!
I would have giggled too.

Banteringblonde said...

I'm a giggler ... I would have been the one to make the pickle comment!!!

Wifey said...

Not the pickle. Classic.

Winks & Smiles,
Wifey

zelzee said...

Sadly, I would have had a hard time keeping a straight face.

Pickles will never be the same for me..................

Sturgmom said...

OMG! Your entire first paragraph... I go there EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. There has to be a name for that sort of psychosis.

delilah said...

See, I have no problem with snorting like a pig when told that the dinklers of sculptural cherubs look like gherkins.

SNORT!

delilah at www.unrulyhelpmeet.com

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

A little pickle! As if I weren't already giggling along with all of you in my head, then the picture made me laugh, and the pickle comment pushed the cackles right out. I'd get along great with your 6yos.

3 Bay B Chicks said...

What's not to love about a Mom sharing a laugh (or three) with her kids over pickle penis at a museum.

I mean, look, I am giggling that I just typed "penis" and I wasn't even there!

-Francesca

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Oh that is just to priceless... I would have snorted at the comparison of a pickle...I admire you being able to hold on to your composure! ;)

Suburban Turmoil said...

That's hilarious! Oh, motherhood...

peewee said...

how did I miss this post??? HOW????
I am CRYING laughing right now. Made my whole night.

Anonymous said...

I confirm. And I have faced it. We can communicate on this theme.

Anonymous said...

The same...