Saturday, 18 September 2010

A Day At The Museum

I imagine that it is pretty apparent to all who read this blog that I nurture an inner geek.

I studied Ancient History and Classical Archaeology at University and then went on to do an MA in Museum Studies. Whilst my career has diverged from its original path, I have always had a soft spot for museums.

This morning I took my eldest nephew to the British Museum - ostensibly as a treat for him.

"First stop", I was cautioned by my sister, "wee wee".

It was only when I got to the toilets that I realised I was faced with a dilemma. Do I shove him into the Gents unaccompanied, or take him into the Ladies with me. We eyed each other, cautiously weighing up the possibilities.

"That's where the boys go." My nephew stated the obvious.

"Do you want to go in there?" I questioned, really meaning - 'Do you normally go in there?'

"Well." (He says 'well' a lot) "I could, but I think it is probably best I don't go by myself."

We gratefully agreed that he'd come into the ladies with me.

Next we went to collect the kids activity pack. The woman on the desk asked how old he was.

I smiled indulgently and asked the nephew to tell the lady his age, all the while wracking my brain; 'He's four, isn't he? Of course he's four he definitely isn't three and I'm sure he hasn't turned five yet'. But I knew if I guessed his age wrong he'd shout me down and I'd be marked as an abducteress.

Once he confirmed he was four and three quarters he was offered a treasure trail. "Well. Actually I've done that before and it is quite boring."

The attendee explained the back packs were for older children, "Well. I'm quite clever." He reassured her. "So I think I will be OK".

Naturally we took the Ancient Greek back pack.

We did the activities and I couldn't resist giving just a little bit more information than was on the cards. He was a bit overwhelmed by the idea of other people who lived differently so many years before he was born, "I always thought we were the first people." He confided.

Now I don't want to boast (I do, I really do, the whole point of this post is to boast) but he was entranced by my tales of the Labours of Herakles illustrated by the vase paintings. And later when we met up with his parents he remembered all the salient points about the many headed hydra who sprouts two heads for each one cut off, the fierce dog in the underworld with three heads, the birds that shoot their feathers as arrows. Yeah, mainly the violent stuff.

I really enjoyed myself and, despite being surrounded by children, I didn't think once about my own infertility; I was too busy answering questions, asking him what he thought and feeling a warm, little hand happily grasping my own.

And later, once reunited with his parents he asked if I was going to come with them. My heart swelled with joy and love, he'd had as much fun in my company as I'd had in his.

"Well. You should come with us, because then we can play on your iPhone."

I went home.


  1. Aw! Lovely day out for you. And him!

    My nephew (5) is the same, the honesty, it is quite - eh - refreshing, isn't it?

  2. Ahh. He'd like the Egyptian back pack too - all about sucking brains through noses and dead people.

  3. This story is sweet and awkward, all rolled together with a little 4 year old's honesty.

  4. How sweet! I am the same way around my neices and nephews! I forget about all of my infertility issues around them! Away from them, well, that's a WHOLE different story!!!

  5. Hey! I forgot you were a fellow ancient history batchelor!
    *fist bump*

  6. I remember the charm of a 5-ish year old boy - My mom and I had gone to Italy to visit my sister, and among other things, I bought a set of toothbrush accessories with silly faces for myself. There were 2 toothbrush covers, a replacement lid for the toothpaste tube, and a floss holder - they were green or orange plastic. I had brought some things for the kids and given them out already, and I was showing my sister the rest of my souvenirs. My nephew was eyeing up the toothbrush accessories, and very subtly mentioned "I like green." He didn't get any of the set, because, as might have been previously mentioned, I am mean to children. :)

  7. You had me at "a warm, little hand happily grasping my own":) Sounds like a good day, Liz. And if I were a betting woman I would say that he's going to remember this day for a long, long time (not to mention the Hydras!).

    I laughed about the toilets, though. Something similar happened with my nephew when he was much younger, and he helpfully let me know that he needed assistance with wiping:) I shudder to think in what state I might otherwise have sent him home to his parents...

  8. Now I totally want to go museum hopping with you! :)

  9. Sounds like such a fun day for both of you! I did the Rick Steves audio guide to the British Museum several months ago and it was pretty good, but I bet you + Ancient Greek backpack would have been way more fun.

  10. Your nephew sounds like a lil smarty pants - sweet and honest. Sounds like a great day.

  11. Sounds like a great day for both of you, and I'm sure he'll remember it for more than the iPhone.

  12. Haha...he sounds awesome. I'm glad you had such a good time.

  13. Awww! Your nephew sounds like such a little charmer! I'm glad that you and him had a good time. How cute that he wanted you to go so that he could play on your iphone..hahahah! Kids are incredibly honest and I love that! :)


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