We took the girls to the Metropolitan Museum of Art today. Got there early enough to avoid the crowds (which were immense when we left after lunch) and hooked up with a family lecture that took us to a few different parts of the museum that I hadn’t seen before. The girls got to sketch and I played “I Spy” with Sophie.
The tour ended with a story in front of a statue by Battista Lorenzi of Alpheus and Arethusa. Arethusa was a nymph who was being pursued by the river god Alpheus – she wanted no part of his advances and asked Artemis (Diana, for those of you who prefer the Roman nomenclature) for help. Artemis transformed Arethusa into a river leading to the Underworld and she was able to avoid Alpheus, who turned into a river himself, from then on.
You know you’re in New York when 20 kids – ranging in age from 4 to 12 – are told a story in front of a statue of a naked man and woman (and there was no mistaking it – the man’s nether parts were as clear as day). You know you’re in jaded New York when not one kid openly reacts with a laugh, a smirk or pointing fingers when confronted with the nakedness. We definitely were not in Kansas. No morality police around here, that’s for sure.
When the storyteller asked the kids what they thought the man and woman in the statue were doing, one girl innocently said that it looked like they were dancing. The little girl obviously wasn’t jaded enough. Or maybe she wasn’t from New York. Clearly, the two figures were not dancing. Chloe then raised her hand. “It seems to me that the nymph is looking at him resentfully.” Eight years old and using SAT words already. My kind of girl. The storyteller, clearly impressed with Chloe’s verbal acuity, adopted her phrasing as he told the tale. Chloe was very proud of herself. As was I.