What you need for a grand adventure in the wilds of Urban Connecticut:
- Library Card (Obviously. What true adventure doesn’t involve one?)
- Baby wrap (one without buckles and adjustable plastic things. Too complicated)
- Purse with diaper in it (I gave up on diaper bags ages ago. Viva la resistance!)
- Progeny (count twice to make sure you’ve got them all)
- Umbrella Stroller (for the short of stature do weary fast)
It is best to museum train the children. This is like advanced potty training–one must hold in all the joy and only let it out in non-antiquity destroying ways. It’s slightly harder than potty training, because children’s bladder and bowel capacities are finite; their capacity for joy in the beautiful is NOT.
Despite the worry associated with allowing a child within sneezing distance of a priceless piece of art, the payoff is worth it. Set low expectations and leave when they still want to stay. Ask a million speculative questions about the art, and the children end up feeling a sense of ownership. They each have “their” favorite painting at Fancypants University Art Gallery. Fred the Roger’s painting is a 50 million dollar Van Gogh. And he hasn’t sneezed on it….yet.
On one of our first visits to the Fancypants University Art Gallery, the Museum Guard demonstrated the “gallery pose.” You clasp your hands behind the back and lean towards the painting. He told the children they could get as close to the art as they wished, so long as they had their hands behind their backs and didn’t touch the painting with their faces.
On this particular field trip day, we went to the library first. So as to have something to read when Mom has to stop in the middle of cutting across Fancypants University to get to Fancypants Art Gallery in order to breastfeed Lucy the Maude. As one does.
We made it for an hour of museum time on this particular afternoon before Fred the Rogers was hungry, Katherine the Great was tired, and Lucy the Maude was done tolerating a nursing cover. She prefers to dine al fresco.
If I could do it inconspicuously enough, I’d have nursed her blanketless; but even when the children are perfect museum patrons ,they are still flashing lights and sirens, drawing disproportionate amounts of attention to our little group. Me, unceremoniously flashing the staring art professor with Undergrad art history class in tow when Lucy the Maude comes unlatched to grin and coo, is just one scene too many. Yes, I know the Fancypants galleries are rife with portrayals bared nipples and nursing infants; I’m just not prepared to join their ranks.
There are coin-operated lockers for stashing our things whilst in the museum. This is to safeguard against a 9th century Chinese vase “accidentally” ending up in the preschooler’s Spiderman backpack. I understand, Fancypants. I understand.
Upon retrieving our things at the end of our cultural excursion, we found ourselves in a hallway traffic jam with a small army of Fancypants University Caterers who were preparing a Fancypants feast. They went slack-jawed and doe-eyed at the children, and the little beggars scored to melon ball fruit skewers.
And I got a Fancypants Punch Recipe, which I am dying to make:
-A bunch of “grown up drinks” than I will never be “grown up” enough to drink. Because I’m drunk on life, darnit!
I don’t remember the proportions, but it will be delicious in any ratio. I’m sure of it. And it will be virgin.
And that, dear friends,
is the long story of how my children scored free melon ball skewers on field trip day.