My 2 year old and I were reading the book Olivia by Ian Falconer before bed the other night. In it, Olivia does EVERYTHING...dresses up, makes sandcastles at the beach, sings, naps, dances and "On rainy days, Olivia likes to go to the museum."
"What dat, Mommy?" she asked me.
"A museum is a big building with lots of art in it. Like what you make at school with paint?"
"Uh-huh." she said.
How do you explain a museum to a 2 year old? You face the fear of the possible/likely destruction of priceless pieces of art and bring her to experience indescribable history and culture. So we did just that and visited the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art!
When I think about things to do with kids to get them out of the house, I realize that I limit myself and them to all things "kid." For no reason other than, well, that is what they are! The museum in Olivia wasn't a children's museum, as we know them. The pieces of art weren't interactive. They were hung on the wall to impress. To inspire. And yet they did.
We have spent many days at The Children's Museum of Memphis (www.cmom.com) and LOVE it all. We have a blast every time we go. But somehow this was different. More peaceful, certainly. More thought provoking (for me, at least). Serene. The exhaustion from those endless mother-daughter "disputes" faded, and excitement seeped in. She grabbed my hand and pulled me from picture to sculpture, upstairs to down.
I mean seriously, look at that little body in that gigantic room! She seems far too small to have soaked up all that she did in the brief amount of time we spent in that space. She looked at everything, I mean really saw it. And I found myself, many times throughout our day looking at HER. I mean really seeing her. Wondering what she thought, how she interpreted these images, what she would remember of such a special day.
Art has ALWAYS been a part of my life, performing and visual. Why had this not occurred to me before? A thinker beyond boxes had been confined to those 6 walls by one three-letter word..."kid." There is so much more to see! In the city! in the WORLD! Outside of the bouncy house lies a whole menu of life experiences that defy age. It doesn't matter what she thought about those paintings, it was about what she felt!
This is my vow from now on. We have busted out of that stinkin' box! I refuse to Google "kids activities," "free kid...," "summer for toddlers..." etc. Of course they will experience life as kids and do all of those fun kid things but I can't wait to broaden my scope, and theirs, and really explore what this city has to offer. Art...and SO much more...really is for everyone!
And be sure to check out Amanda Parer's public art exhibition, starting on Wednesday, January 18th! I mean really, what kid isn't going to LOVE giant glowing bunnies??!