the arts. they rhyme with 'farts,' so my kids dig them
The end of last week, the boys were sprawled out on the living room floor, each completing a page out of their respective summer skills workbooks.
Yep. I am entirely "that mom." The one who makes them take 30 torturous minutes out of their weekday to stay fresh on their academics so they can hit the ground running when school starts while meanwhile, according to them, their friends "...get to do whatever they want because it's summer! Why are you so mean?! Has it been 30 minutes yet?! We want to ride bikes, play in puddles, hunt for bugs, vandalize the community, and scare the elderly with our foul mouths! Gah!" Of course, I sympathize with their plight. Kids should be kids. So I respond to their queries and complaints accordingly:
"Wrong! Do it again! If you don't eat yer meat, you can't have any pudding! How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?"
I'm hardcore, baby. Hardcore.
So Thursday, my oldest was working on a reading comprehension lesson, making his way through a paragraph about Michelangelo and his works. I was telling my son about the ornate works he painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and all the magnificence it involved. As I was telling my son that if he dreamed really hard and saved up his money, he might one day have enough for a month's Internet connection so he, too, could one day gaze upon the face of God as imagined by the artist, my youngest son, 6, chimed in that Michelangelo also carved amazing statues.
Rather stunned, I turned to my young art critic and asked him how he knew of these statues. Had Zack and Cody escaped the Tipton and embarked on a madcap Italian adventure during an episode of The Suite Life I'd somehow managed not to see? Was kindergarten art really more than just creating magic with watercolors and some papier mache? He told me he "just know these things, Mom," and I'm not up to doubting him, because the kid is whip smart and I'm counting on him to either wipe away the tears that come with me (and from me) helping his older brother conquer fractions, or he'll be the one to explain them clearly to him.
I just never thought he was that up on the art scene. So we discussed sculpture and marble and beauty and such for a few minutes, up until the youngest wrapped up his workbook assignment, hopped up, and ran upstairs while the oldest and I finished up. A few moments later, I hear my youngest's voice behind me. "Michelangelo's most famous statue was called David," he announced.
Prepared to cheer a knowledge of Renaissance art I failed to grasp even after a semester of art appreciation in college, I turned to find my young art connoisseur standing at the bottom of the steps, naked. One heel was gracefully turned up and toward us, one hand was barely brushing his right leg while his left hand teased at his chin with the hint that he wanted to rest it there. I believe they encourage you to be quiet and respectful in museums, so I was speechless, as was my oldest son as we took in the spectacle before us in our living room Louvre
Remaining stone still, my young David eventually cracked the left corner of his mouth and muttered, "He was probably thinking about how cold it was standing there naked all the time."
"Um, you've apparently seen the statue," I said. "If you paid any kind of attention at all, you'd know that was truly probably the case."
Then? Then the boy farted. As boys are wont to do. The explosion that ripped through his nethers caused his stony facade to crack as he erupted in laughter and fell, crumbling into tiny pieces, upon the floor. It was that part of the lesson that captured my oldest's attention, and he soon joined his brother in a chorus of guttural laughter.
So I told them to gather up, pick up, and, in the case of my youngest, suit up, and get their smart, and in the case of my youngest, noisy, asses outside.