The Art of Living

The childcare is a hotbed of activity when I arrive to pick Miss A up on the last day of vacation care. The kids have just returned from a day trip to the museum and the change, I gather, has not been too well received.

Miss Noelle, all of four, is crying her head off (and a loud voice, the child has too). Miss Riya, also four,  is running around in endless circles – literal ones. This means that she bumps into the same things at the same time in a pattern, like clockwork.  Ms A and her current best friend Sophie (she of the “she is in Year 5 and she is a grown up and she is so cool”  fame) are watching this act unfold with much curiosity on their puzzled faces.

Noelle won’t stop crying – her face is red and puffed up. A couple of tears have decided to rest midway on her fairly adorable plump cheeks making her look tragic and cute in equal proportions. Noelle’s Mum is talking to the carers in a rather shrilly voice – the shrillness seems to have come from an element of surprise. After much sobbing by Noelle, much bumping into chairs by Riya and much shushing by the carer, the story unfolds.

The children were handed free posters at the museum as take away souvenirs. The idea was a big hit with the knee high ones, especially Noelle. So much so, that she helped herself to the postcards at the museum shop. And then because she loved the shiny postcards so much, she did what any sensible four year old would do to an object of affection. She licked the postcards and took a bite. There is almost always, dear reader, a wholesome way to demonstrate one’s affection.

Never one to be shy of handing out hugs and kisses, several postcards were awarded the same love by a very generous child. Till a kindly curator intervened and took the much chewed Monet and Gogh replicas away. As is with art, one needs to pay a price. A staggering $10.50 were exchanged in this case,  which the carer paid with much apology. Noelle was then firmly scooped up and put on the bus and the motley crew came back to the safer shores of the child care, away from the chaos of impressionist art and curators with strange rules.

Noelle’s mother is being filled in on these details about the crash course in art appreciation. Noelle is admonished rather sternly by a fairly annoyed mother that one does not chew on postcards for sale – no matter how much one adores said postcards. Riya stops running around in circles and burst into tears too, as a show of solidarity. Hugs are offered all around.

Art does not fill an empty stomach.

“I want pasta for dinner”,  Noelle declares loudly. Her mother ignores this request as she tries to find the $10.50. Apologies will always slow you down.

“Pasta for dinner”, the voice is louder this time, the tears have disappeared. So has the crowd.

“We need to talk, Miss”, her mother retorts. “I am very upset with what you have done today”

“Pasta, I want pasta”, this being said as she tries to offer Mommy a giant hug.

“We are going home. And then we will have a talk. Dinner is later. We talk first”.

Noelle attaches herself firmly to her mother’s legs. “Pasta now. I am hungry again. ” Clearly the postcards weren’t filling enough.

I hear the refrains of pasta even as I walk back to the car with Miss A in tow.

Many little worlds combine to make a bigger one.  There are roadblocks  and unsurmountable barriers every step of the way no matter what world you live in. As long as you can be assured of a hug, a good bowl of pasta and a friend who will cry with you when needed, you have a good chance of beating the odds. There is art. And then there is the art of living.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Altoid
    Aug 03, 2010 @ 00:55:55

    LOL awesome combo for art of living- hug+pasta+a partner in tears

    Works quite well, me thinks


  2. Rajavel
    Aug 03, 2010 @ 03:28:03

    How true, its like fractals. Life is full in its vastness, and its tinyness. The talk was had or not, i am sure the pasta was had.


  3. bilbo
    Aug 03, 2010 @ 21:05:41

    and I want some pasta and its practically 2:30 in the night here. I could practically see the lil gal tugging at her mom and going pasta !!!

    now I am wondering if I should come back every night or come back after a month and just read all of em together. This one was shorter than your usual pieces. Lovely as usual , just shorter.


  4. scarlettletters
    Aug 04, 2010 @ 01:42:01

    Alty, Rajavel, Billy – thanks for your comments 🙂 The art of living is very simple indeed when you are all of four!


  5. Ardra
    Aug 06, 2010 @ 13:36:21

    “There is almost always, dear reader, a wholesome way to demonstrate one’s affection”.


  6. Aria
    Oct 02, 2010 @ 19:28:27

    I could picture Noelle biting the postcard.. : )


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