Sunday, January 22, 2006

Xander and the DMA

Yesterday I took Xander for his first visit to the Dallas Museum of Art. We were tooling down Arapaho, listening to a little Carl Orff, Xander safely ensconced in his car seat, in the rear seat on the passenger side, when he said, "Gramma, I want the window DOWN". Hmmmmmm. He doesn’t usually like his side window down. It was a beautiful day, but windy. I said, "Are you sure?" He responded emphatically, "YEAH!" I pressed the appropriate button, lowering the right rear window. There was a pregnant pause, then, "Gramma, NO! NOT THAT WINDOW!" I put the window back up. "What window, then?" I asked. No response, so I glanced at him in the rearview mirror. Oh. THAT window. His right index finger was pointed straight up.

I pulled over, shifted into neutral, put on the emergency brake, and did what was necessary to lower the top of my VW Cabrio. I then passed him a pair of my sunglasses, which he proceeded to put on, although it took him a while to figure out how to get the sunglasses over his ears but under the hood of his sweatshirt. (After all, he’s not quite 3½ years old.) But of course he did figure it out - oh, yeah - definitely looking good, and with a....with a BIG grin on his face. Happy times in the car with Gramma. Music blasting, we took the tollroad, and as usual we screamed happily and loudly as we went under every one of the numerous underpasses.

Eventually, we arrived downtown. I parked, got Xander out of his carseat, and we walked to the DMA entrance. What a hoot it was just walking there; seeing downtown through Xander’s fresh-eyed perspective. "Look Gramma, HIGHTOWERS!" he exclaimed, barely able to contain himself. "Yes, look, there are some more!" I said, pointing to a couple of high-rises. "Where?" he asked, looking around us. "There!" I pointed. He looked at me and shook his head as he said, solemnly, "No, Gramma, not hightowers!" (Kath told me later that the term, "high towers", which is synonymous with "castles" to Xander, is reserved for the spires of churches.) After a detour through part of the DMA’s sculpture gardens, where Xander alternated between chasing pigeons and climbing on the outdoor sculptures, we went into the DMA. Xander was immediately grooving on the architecture, and was clearly taken with the tall ceilings and massive hallways of the DMA.

When Mike and Chris were little, one of the things they loved most about the DMA was a participatory program called "Drop-In Art". Yesterday, I took Xander to that program for the first time. The theme yesterday was pottery, with a handful of children of various ages making an assortment of tidy clay pots. Xander and I found seats at a small table covered in butcher paper. I deposited our lump of damp clay on the paper, and said, "So Xander, are you going to make a clay pot for your Mom and Dad?" He looked at me and smiled kindly but said firmly, "Gramma, I not make a POT, I MAKE SNAKES!" Silly me, what was I thinking? He tore the lump of clay apart and gave me some, "Your turn, Gramma, make a CAT!" For the next 30 minutes we played happily with the clay. Xander made a series of snakes, and I made a crude cat, for which Xander supplied the tail - of course - and I know, I know, Freud would have had a field day with Xander's choices. Then Drop-In Art was over, and we washed our hands and went back out into the DMA.

Xander was clearly most impressed with the stairs, so we took our time walking up and down a zillion steps throughout the museum, looking at a little art along the way. Eventually, we made our way to the Atrium Café, where I had a coke, and Xander sat on my lap and enjoyed milk and a chocolate chip cookie while we listened to live music played by a classical and blues brass quintet to wind down our visit to the DMA. Then it was time to go. Xander wanted to take a bus home, but I reminded him that my car was waiting for us. As I buckled him into his car seat for the ride home, he yawned, smiled, and said,
"Gramma, we go ‘GAIN?"

Absolutely, Xander, absolutely.


Chris said...

It sure sounds like you had a great and perfect day. Gotta' love those grandkids, right? ;)

Gannet Girl said...

He sounds like a joy.

And how is it that at 16 you have a grandson?

Paul said...

Terrific entry, but if you keep referring to yourself as "Gramma" you're going to interfere with my obsession.

Lisa :-] said...

Bringin' the kid up right....

Neil said...

Wow, if I knew museums could be so much fun -- music, pottery, cookies -- I think I would go more myself! Sound like you're a great influence.

odie said...

Thanks for stopping by my little blog and leaving a comment. I never thought anyone would really read me! I have enjoyed what I've read here and will definitely be back.

I'm extremely envious of your proximity to such a wonderful museum. Here in the tall corn state, we have a few, but nothing like Dallas.


Tammy said...

Hi my friend! The day sounded perfect! How awsome to expose the next generation to such beauty and see it agin through their little eyes. Jess is mad at me and I don't know why. I can't get her on the phone and I miss TK. I knew she would do this but I never knew how much it would hurt. Oh well, I'll learn to accept it.

dreaminglily said...

Aww... can I skip the whole birth of children thing and go straight to grandkids? No? Are you sure? Crap... They sound like so much more fun! AND you don't get the blame if they turned out screwed up! lol It'a a great deal! ::evil grin:: You know I'm kidding, I want to be a mommy lol

What a great day you two had. I can hardly believe he's three and a half lol He's so cute lol

Hope you have a great day with him again soon ^_^