Saturday, June 2, 2012

Paint, Smoke and a Flying Car

One of the most enjoyable aspects of spending time with young kids is getting to see the world through fresh eyes. They don’t have that many preconceived notions yet; the world hasn’t taught them how to interpret everything.  Therefore, they categorize new experiences and discoveries into their own individual contexts.

For example, about a year and a half or so ago, my then-barely-3-year-old looked out her car window during our drive home from daycare one morning, spied the telephone wires strung beside the road, and announced, “Look, Mommy! There are high wires along the road!”  By high wires, she meant the same apparatus along which crazy people… I mean tightrope artists… walk, jump, flip, tumble and ride bicycles during circus acts. You may think “awe, how precious.” And I did, too.  But her observation also touched my heart – enough to write a short story about a very special tightrope walker – and made me wish I could see the world again as she does.

Well, today unexpectedly provided me that opportunity. 

My sweet Ballerina is 4 now, and today my mother and I took her to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Ballerina loves art, and the last time I took her to the High, she talked about it for weeks.  Today’s experience was a little less awe-inspiring for Ballerina, and she spent far less time focused on the artwork, choosing instead to direct her energies on traversing each level of the museum as quickly as possible and then demanding to travel via elevator (very important mode of transportation for her) to the next level. 

She did, however, take some time in one small area of the museum to describe several of the statues to my mom and me. My favorite descriptions were of these two sculptures below, both by William Wetmore Story (1819-1895).

This one is entitled “Homer Looking for Leander”.
Ballerina’s description: “That lady’s in a robe and she's trying to paint something... Look, she has a back!”

This next one is entitled “Medea Contemplating the Death of her Children“.
Ballerina’s description: “That lady looks mad and has a knife. I want a knife.”

Later, as we sat at the metro train station waiting to head home, Zoe pointed out the following sign and announced, “I know what that means…”

“… It means ‘No Smoke Signals.’” 

Finally – and while this next story is not a Ballerina observation per se, it epitomizes the wonder and fun of getting to interact with her every day – when we dropped my mother at her car at the end of this adventure, Ballerina and I had the following conversation, about which I’m still a bit befuddled. 

Ballerina: “Why is Grandma’s car here at the park?”
Me: “Because Bear’s and my races were here this morning, and she came to watch us. And then she came with me in my car afterward, to go get you.”
Ballerina: “But what did she do while you were running?”
Me:  “She watched Bear while I ran my race, and then she cheered for Bear during his race.”
Ballerina: “So now what?”
Me: “Now we have to go home.”
Ballerina: “Is Grandma going to attach the wings to her car and fly around for a while?”
Me: “Um… what?”
Ballerina: “Nothin’.”
Me: “No, really… what?”
Ballerina (very serious): “Nothin’, Mom.”

Um… what?

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