On Wednesday, I decided that despite my general feelings of ennui (caused, doubtless by the fact that February manages to be both the shortest month on the calendar and the longest month in my psyche), I would take Caleb to the Met.
Mind you, I didn’t really want to GO to the Met, although mid-morning and mid-week isn’t a bad time to visit, but I’ve been worried, lately, about what the world looks like for Caleb, the second child. With Liam, of course, we were all “oh, let’s take him here, take him there, do this, do that, classes, and lessons, and long excursions…” By the time Liam was four, he’d been to Paris twice, London once, Vancouver once, and various spots in California. He remembers almost nothing of these adventures, but the point is that they happened. We’ve got the photos to prove it.
I know, I know, one trip to the Met isn’t going to change Caleb’s life, won’t turn him into a world traveler, but a person has to start somewhere, right?
Besides, isn’t this why we raise children in the city? So we can introduce our children to these world-class cultural institutions – for the theater, the art, the galleries, the restaurants? Or at very least, the possibility of these things – because, of course, when you really get down to it, what do I want to do? Pay money for restaurant food that my children won’t eat – or pay for a babysitter so that Husband and I can have a civilized meal together (and try very hard NOT to talk about our children)? And don’t even get me started on the price of tickets to so-called “children’s theater.”
So I decided to give Caleb “an experience,” instead of distracting him with legos and coloring and stickers. We bundled into our coats and zoomed uptown to that alternate universe known as the Upper East Side.
We “skipped to my lou” from the subway to the Met, dodging past the glossy ladies who live and lunch in the 80s, between Park and the park. We moved at Caleb’s pace because it seems like so much of his life is dictated by having to be somewhere on someone else’s schedule – usually his brother’s: pick up your brother, drop off your brother, go to your brother’s swimming class, soccer game, baseball practice…
And when we got to the museum, we hit only the four-year old hot spots: armor, weapons, Egypt.
Our final stop was the Greek and Roman gallery, where I think Caleb was expecting to see Asterix and Obelix, which he and Liam have been watching for the past few nights. Instead, we saw a chariot, and lots of statutes, including a statue of Hercules holding a lionskin.
“Did that guy kill that lion?” Caleb asked. I nodded yes.
“With his penis out like that? … I mean, did he kill that lion wearing no underpants?”
And that’s why we take our kids to the museum. They know what really matters.