Roman Art Through The Eyes Of A Four Year Old

A few years ago I took my four year old daughter to the Seattle Art Museum where they were having a fantastic display of Roman art and sculpture as well as a chance to see Ghiberti’s Golden Doors before they were to be sent back to Florence forever. It was a great chance to expose her to art and history before our big trip to Italy! We had spent so much time talking about travel, looking through pictures and magazines and even learning Italian together. I even had a section in my travel office with a little desk and supplies so that she could do “business” with me.  This exhibit was going to be the first time I could expose her directly to what we had been talking about.

Beyond excited for her adventure, she descended from her room and down our stairs like the Queen of Sheba.  Decked out from head to toe in sparkly Barbie party accessories complemented by a blue sundress and magic wand, she was ready to hits the rainy streets of Seattle. We spent the ride into town deciding which exhibit we would see first and finally settled on the statues.

Once in the museum, I was beside myself surrounded with an amazing collection on tour from the Louvre. Wanting to share this excitement and teach her how to appreciate what she was seeing, I went into full art historian mode. I’ve always prided myself in my ability to explain art in a simple way that anyone can understand and more importantly remember. While we walked around the room I talked about everything from mosaics to marble while she listened and commented appropriately.

I could not help but swell with pride as I noticed she was the only child in the museum, not to mention I was the exceptional mother who brought her there.  Don’t think I didn’t notice the admiring glances from other patrons.  The many passing conversations in my mind went something like this:

Why thank you, I do my best

Yes, she is an exceptional child

Quite brilliant, I know

I was practically throwing my shoulder out patting myself on the back when my incredibly  and outrageously clever child stopped dead in her tracts and made an announcement to the entire room.

“Mom, this really isn’t my favorite part of the museum.”

Always trying to encourage open communication, I asked her what made her feel that way.

“There are too many penises here.”

Now that she mentions it....

...she does have a point.


Averted eyes.

Was that a stifled giggle?

A pause for thoughtful reflection.

Indeed there were quite a few, and from her perspective (and more imortantly eye-level) they must look even more pronounced.  Always one to make each experience a positive learning opportunity, I decided to switch gears.

I would later regret this snap decision when traveling in Italy.

To keep her interested and to allow me to finishing viewing the exhibit, we spent the rest of the day counting the “yucky, squishy penises.”

Joining up once again with the fabulous writers at yeah write. Click the button below to read some truly wonderful writers and don’t forget to return on Thursday to vote for your five favorite posts.

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

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About the author: Andi Brown

I am passionate about helping people create vacations that are perfect for them through personalized travel planning, itinerary review and small experience focused tours. My services put an emphasis on the experience of Italy, getting my clients away from the tourist crowds and into the heart and soul of the people. I believe in working with family run businesses at great locations with attention to the details. If you can dream it I can make it happen.

35 comments to “Roman Art Through The Eyes Of A Four Year Old”

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  1. Carole Mayne - 2012-02-29 at 8:35 pm Reply

    Hilarious! Tiger Mom has an equally fierce Tiger Baby! (-:

  2. Kerstin - 2012-03-06 at 11:38 am Reply

    Great post! I had to kind of do a double take on the last penis picture, that’s a little different, kind of like a shriveled pickle… 🙂
    Don’t you just love it when kids say it like it is?

  3. kvetchmom - 2012-03-06 at 3:54 pm Reply

    So funny! Your daughter is adorable! And clearly very bright and observant. Not many people enjoy a day of penises at eye level. Glad you made it fun for her with the counting game 🙂

  4. January - 2012-03-06 at 6:14 pm Reply

    “Yucky squishy penises.” – let’s hope she thinks that way for many, many years! 😉

    So funny!

  5. Katie @ Chicken Noodle Gravy - 2012-03-06 at 9:03 pm Reply

    This was great! I think that quote about penises may go down as one of my favorite quotes ever. Ha! Nicely done.

  6. Alison@Mama Wants This - 2012-03-06 at 10:42 pm Reply

    Hahahaha!!! What an astute observation 🙂

  7. That Unique* Weblog - 2012-03-07 at 9:23 am Reply

    Awesome! Were there broken-off penises? And if so, what did she say to that?

    My kids are always interested in the statues and all the anatomy. In the Columbus Circle Mall there are two HUGE nude statues. The penis on the man (as opposed to the penis on the woman?) is proportionally tiny, but it’s been rubbed to a shiny gold. Good luck? Or hoping for some reaction?

  8. Miranda - 2012-03-07 at 12:58 pm Reply

    This is such a priceless story! I would have never been able to keep myself composed in such a situation, so I’m a bit in awe that you were able to do so. Great post!

  9. stephanie - 2012-03-07 at 5:29 pm Reply

    A story well told! The fact that she was looking attentively at the art makes up for anything she said! I would have laughed out loud! This story sounds like it will be repeated throughout her life. I can imagine you at the dinner table when she brings home a boyfriend to meet the parents…

  10. Stacey - 2012-03-07 at 6:36 pm Reply

    Oh this is too funny! I’m so glad you wrote this down. It will be a treasure when she’s older. Well done!

  11. Susan - 2012-03-07 at 6:50 pm Reply

    That is fabulous! We did a lot of travelling before our baby was born, and we used to have a “count the obelisk (read: male phallic symbol) contest wherever we went… I’ll have to remember your story when we’re taking our son on the same trips!

  12. christina - 2012-03-08 at 8:57 am Reply

    hahaha this is just too much!! 🙂

  13. Kim Pugliano @The G is Silent - 2012-03-08 at 1:41 pm Reply

    That is EXACTLY how I would have handled it. Bravo!!

  14. heidi - 2012-03-08 at 6:05 pm Reply

    Too funny! I love that you would count them. Bravo!

  15. Meg O'Keefe - 2012-03-08 at 6:21 pm Reply

    Love it! There were a lot of squashy penises in Italy…she is a smart girl for sure, they do look YUCK!

  16. Lala Rukh - 2014-01-07 at 10:28 am Reply

    That was hilarious and cute at the same time 😉 Love it !

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