Monday, September 28, 2015

Giant Catch Up from a Week Spent Chasing Two and Six Year Olds

Our son and his wife asked us to team up with her parents and stay with their two little kids for a week so they could escape by themselves for their first child-free vacation in six years.  We were happy to have the chance to live with Nate and Abby and see the world through their eyes.  At the top is a late dinner at the Asheville airport right before our late-night flight to Newark.  A not-very-exciting drawing of a not-very-exciting meal.

While at the airport I, as usual, drew other passengers and their digital devices.  I also puzzled out just where the parents were going to be-- Curacao for diving.  Most fun was going through security, where the little clay mummy in his coffin that I had made for Nate got pulled and scrutinized.  The security guys were puzzled about just what they were seeing on the X-ray.  When I explained they thought it was a fun idea, but they still had to wipe it down with a paper that then had to be analyzed.  No problems, but they asked me to repack my bag since they were afraid of breaking mummy man.
 Here's Abby at breakfast on the first morning.  She always asks me to draw her, and this time she kept adding on the details:  her placemat, Anna and Elsa, her polka dot spoon etc.  Then she drew her version on the right.

Abby pulled out some seashells that she had drawn on with markers and that her mom and drawn on for her.  She of course wanted me to draw these.  On the right, and NOT counting, are a couple of maps and a diagram of Abby's lunch box with its very specific requirements.

Once we walked Nate to the bus stop and Abby to the Y for daycare, both enjoyable walks through their pretty neighborhood, we were free till 4 PM.  Here's P lounging at lunch in a deli that we walked to in downtown Maplewood.  On the right are some gestures of the station man sweeping out his office and a passenger waiting at the train station.
On Wednesday Nate had a holiday but Abby went to daycare, and we four grownups took Nate into the city to go to the Egyptian section of the Met, one of his favorite places to go.  We make a trip with Nate into NY every time we go visit, and over the years there are certain rituals that we've developed and that he insists on maintaining.  One ritual is that we draw on the train, something from each station stop.  Another is that Nate mentions the emergency exit seat and wonders what would happen if he pulled the handle.  We have designed a child emergency handle electric ejector, which he has drawn in great detail on the right.

I love to draw in the museum, but this doesn't happen much when there are kids around, except this time the other three adults were great about doing things with Nate, and I drew a few things in the Egyptian section.
More things from Egypt.  Nate and his other grandma noticed that all the coffins had eyes painted on the outside, and that one mummy was turned so that it looked out through the place where the eyes were.
A favorite ritual of Nate's is stopping at Auntie Annie's in Penn Station for a pretzel and a bottle of water (and a straw that he uses to drink the water and stores IN the bottle when it's closed).  Here's Nate eating his pretzel on the way home after walking 6.5 miles according to his grandma's fit bit.  On the right is a detailed map that he and I made of all the things we did and saw all day:  walked to the station by way of the Y, then bought ritual chewing gum at station; took C train and got off at 85th Street and walked a meandering route through Central Park where Nate climbed on rocks; got lost in Central Park, found the Met and climbed more rocks; went to see and photograph the mummies; had a good lunch; then went to a fantastic show in the African section of Kongolese power figures (nkisi), which Nate photographed with my phone camera extensively;  hit the museum shops, always a high point; heard buskers in Central Park and put money in their instrument cases; stopped at Auntie Annie's again while waiting for NJT;  caught the right train, and walked home.
On Thursday N had karate, so we walked to that while Grandma took Abby walking to find rings.
Some karate moves, and then the tree that we sat on a bench under to eat cookies from the bakery on our walk home.  (Lots of prepositions in that sentence!)
On Friday the grownups were going to head back into the city for MoMA, but the pope had attracted 2 million visitors, and we decided to go instead to West Orange to see the Edison Museum.  We loved this place!  It is still set up like Edison's laboratory and factory, with millions of old machines and tools and odd things that Edison collected.  And no kids, so I got to draw!
We also visited Edison's house, where there were many bear and tiger rugs, although he was not a hunter himself, according to the docent.
On Friday night and Saturday Nate and I built a power figure for ourselves.  We got a piece of firewood and attached many objects that we had collected on our walks through the park and town.  After we made it, I drew it and Nate wrote the word "nkisi" in hieroglyphics, using a hieroglyphics table from a library book we had gotten out of the library earlier in the week.  As a finishing touch, Nate taped a business card from the bakery on the facing page.
Saturday came too soon.  We walked to karate while Grandma walked Abby to the park;  then afterwards we met up with them and played on the playground, went to the bakery, ate a cookie on the bench, collected things for the power figure.  We were sad when Grandma had to leave (Grandpa had had to leave on Thursday).  It had been a fine week.  P and I did stuff with the kids and finally got them down, and the runaway parents arrived home at nearly midnight.  Then we got up at 4 to make our 6:55 plane home.

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