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My parents got us a Frist membership for Christmas. Josh and I love it for all the free dates. Trips to the art museum together give us something to talk about on dates so we’re not tempted to revert to calendar and kid conversations. Of course, the Frist also has a great kids section with arts and craft stations, and I can’t resist the opportunity to try and give Emmeline and Gareth a little bit of culture.

We took them to see Norman Rockwell, thinking they’d like it since he painted a lot of children. He had quite a few paintings from the Civil Rights movement, which of course our kids are too young to understand. Living in such a diverse city, they’re used to seeing people of different nationalities, and they don’t think anything of it. The picture, “New Kids in the Neighborhood” caught Emmie’s eye.


“New Kids in the Neighborhood” by Norman Rockwell

She asked Josh, “Daddy, why are those kids being mean to the other kids?”
Josh answered her, “I think it’s because they think they’re different.”
Emmie was really upset by this and answered, “But, Daddy! We’re all the same!” That got a few awes from the crowd.

Then last week The Hermitage had a free day so a friend and I packed up our kids (five between the two of us). I don’t know if our kids got anything out of it–they seemed to just want to run from one room/building to the next, and there was plenty of space for them to run around. I’m still awarding both of us lots of “Good Mommy” points for going. But little kids and old houses don’t mix. Thankfully, there were a LOT of kids there that day, so it wasn’t like ours were the only ones who wanted to touch every piece of handpainted 100+ year-old Parisian wallpaper and lean on every original bannister. So at least I had plenty of company when the volunteers looked in horror. Emmie said her favorite parts were “the secret trail” (a wooded path in the back of the property) and the smokehouse (because she likes bacon). Gareth spent most of the time complaining about  being in his stroller and making it clear that it was “very bad day, Mommy!” but when we left he cheerfully told me, “Want go ‘nother museum!”


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