Monday, March 26, 2012

Boobies on Venus, Scratches on Jesus

I asked Jim if he'd like to participate--along with a group from our church--in a tour of religious art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. He declined. I would've taken Cade, but he was camping (in the rain) with the Scouts. So I decided to try Clementine.

I'll admit: I got a little thrill at the mere thought of it, because one never knows what might happen when embarking on an outing with the Wild Orange. On the way to the museum, I explained: she'd need to be quiet like a ninja and listen to the person talking. "Will it be like school?" she asked.

"Sorta," I told her, "except better. Because, in school, you have to sit still. But--at the museum--you get to walk around and look at things."

"What kinds of things?" she asked.

"I'm not sure," I said. "That's why we're going: to find out."

An art museum, as it turns out, fascinates for whole new reasons when one looks through the eyes of a barely-three-year-old sidekick. Sometimes, when the guide focused on particular pieces for long periods of time, Clementine and I walked quietly around the rooms. She pointed out many mamas and babies, looking fondly from paintings and statues to the baby doll tucked under her arm.

She noticed, also, that a lot of people in paintings have exposed breasts. She was particularly interested in the breasts of Venus, who lounged in bed beneath Cupid and his bouquet of flowers. "Mom," she whispered loudly in my ear, "What's wrong with her boobies?"

"Nothing, Honey," I whispered back. "She's just not wearing any clothes."

At one point, Clementine and I came upon a painting of the crucified Christ. "Mom," she whispered sadly, "He has so many scratches."

I explained quietly about the crown of thorns and pointed out the wounds in His hand and side. "Some people weren't very nice to Jesus," I told her. Wide-eyed, she nodded, and I thought: what a way to give a three-year-old perspective, as Easter approaches.

And Clementine did have Easter on the brain, as it turns out. As the guide spoke about the Imperial Pelican Easter Egg, Clementine--who'd been quiet throughout the entire tour and could hold her tongue no longer--called out: "Well, I'm going to do Tinkerbell eggs at Easter. With stickers."

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