Friday, December 14, 2007

Grams and Gramps and the NHM

The week we returned, my folks were in the city for business. The usual suspects for entertainment (parks, playgrounds, beach) were out due to inclement weather so we went to Phoenix's favorite museum. P Loves the Natural History Museum; it is his cold weather playground.

Its fascinating to watch a child grow. To hear a new word enter their vocabulary or see a new trick enter their repertoire. But so much of their growth is subtle; obscured from daily observation. Watching P at the NHM is like standing him in front of one of those doorway growth charts. Every month that we go is a totally different experience.

The first few times he just relished the (enormous) space to run. He wasn't even 2 years old and movement was really all he cared about. Slowly that evolved to running And glancing in the windows to walking from window to window to standing in front of the windows and asking questions. And this time, his little sponge brain was swelling (Greg), the questions reverberated for days. But all of the natural violence portrayed in those windows has him a bit confused. He can't kick the cat, but that cat can kill that gazelle? And apparently the spear holding hunter has given him a new venue for perplexing subjects he's been quietly kicking around in his brain. For instance, he saw my mom whacking some meat with a cleaver before dinner one night in Kansas. He asked about it and it seemed that the subject was closed and forgotten. Fast forward a month and one visit to NHM, and he's beating his soft animals with his hammer. He then hands them to me, informing me that I am to be a Neanderthal now, and asks me to eat the animal. I asked him what was up and he told me he had squished it to cook it and that Neanderthals eat meat, so I can eat it. After watching me chew on his animal for a minute he retrieved it and gave me a serious chat about becoming a vegetarian :) And for the first time ever, the damn Neanderthal's weapon (he doesn't even remember the name, but he hands me Tinker Toys to play the part) has entered our home too. (Just a hop, skip and jump to guns now :) But that's another post... ) So very much to learn!

So it was great that my folks were there to share P's favorites. He showed them the whale (his first stop each trip to the museum - the size just blows us away!). Then he wanted them to see The Squid and The Whale. In the movie by the same name (based on a fictional, separating family in our nabe), one son describes his early memories of this exhibit and I can't help but think P feels the same way. Repelled and compelled to view it simultaneously. It scares him, but he's fascinated by the fight and the dark and the size. So we shared this too and then moved onto mammals and dinosaurs and then, of course, the gift shop. P's true favorite at the museum :)

1 comment:

Joanne Rendell said...

yeah, its funny. in spite of all the wonder at the NHM, the most wondrous thing of all is the child in front of us! (by the way, i once wrote a benny blog about the squid and whale movie. see here