I don't like to admit that there are limitations to what you can do and see while traveling with kids. Even in more adult-centric actives it's usually a workable situation where no, it's not ideal to have kids along, but it's still enriching in some way for everyone.
I wish I could tell you that we enjoyed our afternoon at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Even more than that, I wish I could tell you that Luke and Eve enjoyed it. We'd look so cultured and well behaved, wouldn't we?
I missed visiting the MoMA the first time we visited NYC a decade ago and I wasn't about to miss it this time! Plus, the Bjork exhibition was on and being a 90's teen, I OBVIOUSLY had to check that out. So after what turned out to be a bit of a debacle riding the subway in the wrong direction, and taking an expensive UBER back in the right direction, we arrived at our destination.
After buying our tickets we hit our first child unfriendly obstacle. All backpacks AND food provisions were NOT welcome in the museum galleries, so the snacks and water had to stay back in coat check. I could almost immediately hear the pleas and complaints of "I'm thirsty . . . I'm HUNGRY . . ." Do I understand the reasoning behind these rules? Yes. Do I know it's a bad idea to go anywhere for more than 30 minutes with kids and without snack and drinks, absolutely! That's basic parenting 101.
Basic parenting rules might also state no art galleries but rules are for fools, right?
After checking out the map of the museum's 5 floors, we decided to pick up an audio tour created specifically for children. We then proceeded to cary around 3 devices which Luke insisted on fiddling with obsessively instead of actually LOOKING at the actual original artwork which was right infront of his face. Eve became immediately frustrated with the whole situation until I shoved all 3 devices and headsets into my tiny bag and worried about losing them the entire rest of the stay. They had my ID as collatoral! Lesson learned, audio tours and my kids do not mix.
This part is fun! It's the point in the story where we all nearly get escorted out of the museum! Within about two minutes of entering the first gallery, we come across an extremely colourful object on the floor which looks remarkably like that rubbery play surface most indoor play parks have these days. No barriers or signs in sight, I actually questioned if it was just a mat, but the ADULT in me told me, no it's probably art. "DON'T TOUCH OR STEP ON ANYTHING." I told Luke as he walked toward it. Crisis adverted . . . OH SHIT HERE COMES EVE barreling toward it at full speed with Todd racing after her. He catches her and pulls her back JUST as her toe touches the mat. Or art. Or whatever.
Here we go.
From the other side of the room I can see a guard approach Todd to give him a stern talking to. Todd looks like he's restraining himself from a full rebuttal, but just nodds sullenly. He tells me moments later that the guard told him that our children have been observed touching the artwork and that we are now under full surveillance. If there is another infraction, we will be escorted out off of the premises. LOVELY! 3 1/2 more floors to go!
Luke tried. He really did. Since it was ok to take personal photos in the galleries, I told him he could take photos of the art with his iPod - even though looking at it through that tiny screen wasn't what I had hoped for him. I HAD imagined my kids pondering color and technique, and even attempted to ask Luke how certain paintings made him FEEL. Nope. I was delusional. He's a 9 year old boy and this whole situation was contrary to his nature. Unsurprisingly, this was his favourite piece.
I was a bit star struck with Starry Night and the Gustav Klimt pieces. They looked way cooler than the post card versions I had displayed proudly in my first apartment! Still, it was kind of hard to shake the feeling of surveillance that accompanied us and our crazy, unpredictable, art destroying children. Instead of saying, "Oh look at that kids!" My natural reaction was to bark " Don't Touch That! Don't Think about Touching That!" Todd on the other hand looked more frazzled and perturbed than I've seen him in a long time. He finally resorted to having Eve ride his shoulders for a good portion of the time, which I'm sure wasn't appreciated but not technically a rule breaker.
After a couple floors we decided that the desperate pleas for sustenance could no longer be ignored and found ourselves at the "cafeteria". While in a line to enter I checked out the menu for child friendly options. It turns out that the cafeteria was more of an Italian restaurant though, and pretty cost prohibitive. Our other choice was to get an over priced water and the singular food option of a croissant from a tiny counter in the foyer of the restaurant, which both kids gobbled up ravenously. Here, crowded with other disgruntled families on the few available benches, some badass local pulled her kids snack stash out of a giant bag, loudly proclaiming that she didn't care what security says, she's not going anywhere without her kids snacks because he's sensitive to a lot of foods. We enviously watched them wolf down fresh fruit and sandwiches from our perch before deciding to go on and just get this over with.
By the end, I resembled the piece above. Eyes in all directions " Don't Touch! Stay Here! Hold my Hand! Where are you? Don't Touch ! ! ! " Yuck. I hated being a MoMA Mommy!
I got greedy guys. It's bound to happen now and then. You visit a place that you've always wanted to go to and it's hard not to be a bit selfish. Who knows when or if you'll return? It's really tough to say I want to, but it's just not a good idea this time. Unfortunately that's a tough call to make. There's definitely been times when either Todd or I have advocated that the kids CAN handle a challenge, and it's completely worked out for the betterment of all. It's a gamble that we have to be willing to take. This time though . . . I think this last photos sums it up pretty perfectly.
It's all pretty funny looking back. Oh boy . . .