Squeaky basketball shoes + Grapes

This week Jacob’s Crocs broke. This boy has lived in them since the beginning of August. Seven months straight- no joke. Morning-noon-and night. Okay, well, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit. He has worn his cleats to play baseball. And there may have been a couple times where I made him wear his black Sketchers for some event. But really other than that it’s been his blue Crocs. I tried to convince him to go shoe shopping a few times. “Why Mom? I have my Crocs. I don’t need another pair of shoes.” Okay. True. True. Why build into him materialism and greed for more if he’s content with one pair of shoes? That’s what I’ve had to tell myself over and over. Natalie on the other hand probably has 10 pairs of shoes and would be ecstatic beyond ecstatic if I took her shopping for more. I have a feeling that in life I’ll be trying to convince Jacob that his stuff is too ragged or broken and he reeeeeeeally needs to get something new whereas with Natalie I’ll need to be reigning her in and giving her all the reasons why we shouldn’t go on shopping sprees.

Well this week his Crocs broke. Yup. The right shoe now has this big gaping opening so that his big toe can just fall out. Time for a new pair. But today we had a scheduled field trip to the J. Paul Getty Center. I knew his black Sketchers were going to be too heavy and clunky for him to walk in for hours. So I let him wear his high-top shiny silver-colored basketball shoes. Hilarious! With these giant-long laces looped as though they looked like a bunny’s floppy ears hanging down. Off we went to the Getty with our friends the Ballards.

The kids were excited beyond belief to ride the tram from the parking lot up to the museum. That was definitely a highlight! But ‘lo and behold what quickly became Jacob’s favorite……as soon as we stepped foot on the great expanse of marble tiling everywhere on the Getty grounds, he discovered that if he swiveled his foot he could make the most obnoxiously loud squeaky sound! The soles of his basketball shoes on the surface of that marble flooring made for some hilariously fun squeaking (in his mind). And so there he walked…..pivot, pivot, squeaky, squeaky, step, step….pivot, pivot, squeaky, squeaky, step, step. At first I thought “so cute. so boy.” And then the squeaking got a bit tiresome. But he thought it was glorious and kept trying all kinds of pivot moves and swivels to find the right pitch and sound of the perfect squeak. I was laughing inside. At first I squashed all the fun of it and told him “NO.” But then I changed my mind to saying “Buddy, just don’t do that in the galleries while we are looking at the art. If you want to squeak down the stairs or by the elevator or as we walk from one pavilion to the next, that’s fine. Just not in the art galleries.” And that seemed fine to him.

Oh the joys of being a boy.

We had a splendid day at the Getty. I was so excited when a few nights ago I discovered on their website that they have archived all their pieces of art! So I did a search for “flowers” and “plants” and was able to look through all their art pieces and find out which ones are currently on display. Coolest feature ever! I was able to bookmark those pieces and then click on a map that showed me where those particular pieces were located in the museum. Sooooooo cool! So I made large, colored printouts of 13 pieces of plant-related artwork, showed them to the kids yesterday and told them we’d go on a scavenger hunt. I challenged them to commit them to memory and see if they could recognize any of them at the museum.

Sweetest thing ever…..as we were waiting for our turn to pay at the parking kiosk, upon our arrival, Natalie all of a sudden shouted out: “Mama! Mama! Mama! I see one of the art pieces already!!!!! Mama! Mama! Mama!” I looked out her window and saw that she was pointing at a huge banner depicting van Gogh’s very famous painting of the blue irises. Ohhhhhh my sweet darling Natalie! She had remembered that piece from yesterday’s viewing of my card stock printouts. I swooned with delight. My precious 4-year old daughter was able to take notice and remember the “Irises” painting. I’m not sure who felt more proud in that moment- she or I. 🙂 

We arrived at 9:21am. Found out they don’t open the parking structure until 9:30am. We were one of the first to take the tram ride up the hill. As we waited for the 10am opening we mapped out the location/plan to find our 13 pieces of artwork. We walked and walked until 1:30pm. When we finally found our last piece of grapes, 

everyone was excited to say we had successfully completed the scavenger hunt! I was proud of my kiddos…… 3 1/2 hours of observing and appreciating art…..talking about details of paintings…..using words like ‘landscape’ ‘still life’ ‘portrait’ as they referred to the artwork…..and being excited beyond belief when they “found” a piece of artwork on our hunt. It was so precious. We had established a quiet signal of clasping our face in a “ohhh! look!!!” wide-open-mouthed, surprised type of expression and then pointing in the direction of the find. It was one of the sweetest, cutest things ever to see Jacob, Natalie, Xavier, Tensaye, Millennium and Faith clasp their faces and mouth “OOOOOO” and point with their tiny fingers at a piece of artwork. A “Look! Look!!! This is sooooooo cool!!! It really is here!!!!” type of expression in their eyes. Precious beyond words.

I’d say it was a pretty fabulous day- getting to study our current unit of “Plants and Pollinators” in an art-appreciation kind of way.

A happy day. 

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