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Real Life: A trip to the MOMA.

That’s Wolfie up there. Admiring art. OK OK. I can’t lie. There is this little part of me that just wants to post that photo and impress you with my cosmopolitan ways and toss my hair and said, “Yes, this past week we took the young lad to the Museum of Modern Art where he made various astute observations about the exceptional collection of Abstract Expressionism and regaled me with the finer points of Pop Art!” And then tell you how I went home and made an asparagus goat cheese tart that my boy ate with gusto and how, just for a laugh, we ate on the floor because my house is THAT SPOTLESS.


But I can’t do that. Don’t worry, it’s still a nice story with a happy ending, we just took a slightly twisty route.

This past weekend was a pretty glorious one. We began our day with an awesome birthday party in Dolores Park—lots of running around and silliness involving a UFO pinata and a bunch of 5-6 year olds racing around. After the party we packed ourselves up and were going to head home when I suddenly thought, “Hey, lets swing by the SF MOMA!” Greg loves art galleries and I love museums. And also,  I was hankerin’ for this:

You see, the SF Museum of Modern Art has a rooftop cafe that is known for it’s spectacular art-inspired sweets. Like the Jeff Koons White Hot Chocolate (served in a dainty porcelain cup topped with golf leaf-coated marshmallows) and Andy Warhol Pop Art Corn (complete with commemorative box!). I have been DYING to get a slice of that Mondrian-inspired cake ever since I posted about it. I know, I know….Wolfie had already had a full day at a birthday party and here I was schleppin’ him to the Art Museum just so I could get cake. What can I say? I want to be the girl with the most cake. Also, Wolfie is a pretty chill little guy and we can pretty much take him anywhere without a fuss. Except, apparently, the MOMA on a Sunday.

We arrived at the museum and I dragged everyone up to the top floor (YAY to Greg for being so accommodating to my sweet tooth whims!). Alas, they were out of the Mondrian cake, but I had this:

with this:

which was inspired by this:

Mmmm. The Wayne Theibaud cake was completely delish. I was delighted and so content, happily sippin’ mah cappuccino. Alas, my little six year old was not as happy as I. “WHEN are we leaving? WHY are we here? I’m TIRED. I want to relax in the CAR!!!” [relax in the car?? ]  I tried joking. Offered him some cake (He was horrified. He hates sweets. Seriously.). “Do they have pretzels?” “Um…no.”  HMPH! And there he sat, pouting and playing his DS.

Once I ate my cake he looked up expectantly, eyes lighting up. “Are we going home??” “No. We’re here at the museum we’re going to go look at some cool stuff!” “Ohhhh man!!!” (head hanging dejectedly and a not particularly adorable scowl on his face.) And he turned into THAT CHILD. Dragging his feet. Whining. Sooooo not into this. And we could have just gone home. But I’m stubborn (where do you think he gets it from??) and refused to give up. As we were walking across the breeze way (oooooh….i don’t think I’ve EVER typed that word before) I looked out the windows and said, “HEY! There’s WALDO!”

On the roof top of the building across the street someone had made a big cut out of Waldo. We all totally laughed—and even my crank-a-puss child giggled. And suddenly I had an idea. “Hey Wolfie, we’re going to play a game.” “A game?” There was a flicker of interest in his eyes. “Yep. OK, so here’s what you have to do. You have to find these FIVE things for me:  1) Something with red in it,  2) Something with an animal in it,  3) Something with a tree in it, 4) The thing that looks the biggest and 5) The thing that looks the smallest, ok??” He seemed mildly amused, but not exactly thrilled with this thought. I should also clarify that I was TOTALLY making this up as I went along and had no clue if this was a cool game or the easiest game in the world and would be over in 5 sad seconds. Luck was on my side because the first room we walked into was filled with paintings….but only one had a red in it. “Hey! mama! I found a something red! Look!” he was triumphant. “Awesome!” The next room yielded nothing, which added to the mystery. Suddenly he was on a mission. While finding a painting with red in it was easy, finding something with an animal was surprisingly hard. We both triumphed when we finally spotted a teensy little horse figurine sitting on a dresser in a collection of Black and White photographs from the 40s. The cool thing about this was that he really LOOKED at everything. And it made me really look too. We chatted about the pieces (“Do you think that this is a really big comb or do you think that it’s just a really small bed?”), we pointed out our favorites and discussed why some painters made everything so dark (“it’s very angry, like a storm.”). And it was SO awesome.

He was totally intrigued by the Andy Warhol and we talked about self-portraits and having blue hair. Of course, the Jeff Koons porcelain Michael Jackson w/ Bubbles got a good look. (I posted the picture on Monday.) Our last sighting was this totally cool Barry McGee piece, which Wolfie proudly informed me was “Both the biggest AND the littlest!”

He was pretty adorable, marching through the rooms looking thoughtfully at everything. Allow me to brag and say he charmed every single guard in the place. Eventually we had to leave and he happily skipped down the stairs. “This was awesome mama.”

So I guess the whole point of this story is….don’t be afraid. And don’t give up. Life’s not always perfect, but a little bit of creativity (and mommy Jedi mind tricks) can go a long way. Dare I say it? I think I must. You can have your cake….and eat it too.

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Posted in Best of Alix, Real Life, Real Life : Alix.

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18 Responses

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  1. keepingupwithStella says

    You are an amazing mom! I need to come out and get some lessons… Stella is starting to catch on and realize she can say, um “I don’t want to, Mommy” Grrr….

  2. kodie says

    fabulous! that was some quick thinking there! i love taking my kiddo to the Nelson here in KC…and she loves it! we have a Classical Baby dvd about art that i think has helped her have an interest in it when we go see it in person. and how adorable does Wolfie look?!? geez louise!

  3. jenny says

    sooooo GREAT. i love this story!
    i love that wolfie asked for pretzels when there were all those amazing sweets to choose from. that boy and his salty tooth, i love it every time!!!!!

  4. RocketGirl says

    What a fantastic idea! I must tell my husband so when E’s big enough for museum visits he’ll get her out of the house and happy. That’s fantastic.

    And that CAKE. Oy!

  5. heather says

    very cool! i love how you got him involved!! we have a family tradition every thanksgiving weekend we take the kids to a different museum. the 2 younger ones have been going from the time they were born!

  6. Nancy says

    how fun! “this was awesome mama.” so sweet! definitely need to make a trip with the kids soon!

  7. Alix says

    I’m glad you guys liked this! We don’t usually get all personal, but its kind of fun to do it every once in a while huh! Also, i think this game would be fun for someone totally in the mood to hit the museum as well as someone who is a little bit uncertain. (For the uber reluctant, a small prize after finding everything could be added to the mix! haha!)

  8. lishyloo says

    this was soooo good!! i can’t wait to take truman to the museum here! those cakes are amazing.

  9. Raina Kattelson says

    I can so relate- have dragged my kids to all sorts of museums, mostly good experience’s but some hum dingers in there as well.

  10. Shari@tales from the sippy cup says

    Yay!! I loved this story. I cannot wait to take the little man to SF. We haven’t been in years and the MOMA is always on the list of stops! And that cake? I had no idea. I’m really holding back the urge to try to recreate it!

  11. pilgrim says

    sounds like a good day! how great are those strokes of genius that deftly stop tantrums/anti-moods? so satisfying!

  12. BethR says

    relax in the car… that cracked me up.

    that was pretty awesome of you to come up with that game. i need to be more like that instead of the grumpy, stern sort.

    my husband’s new laptop wallpaper is your michael jackson sculpture photo.

  13. Angela says

    I loved this post. I’m especially partial to art museums as my husband and I met while both working at one. I especially love the cakes. Did you by chance see this Thiebaud inspired wedding cake table:

    • Alix says

      Um i’m coming to you months later (somehow i JUST saw this) but that wedding cake table is SO GREAT!!!!!! Thanks Angela!!!

  14. Mari says

    I really love the blow by blow of your post – all the pictures make me feel like we got to go along with you! What a great day it turned out to be – so glad you persevered. One day, I hope to do the same when my daughter hits the ripe ol’ age of six!
    For now, I”m posting about it at my own kids design blog for Friday. Thanks for sharing!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Tweets that mention Real Life: A trip to the museum. – Modern Kiddo -- linked to this post on June 9, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by alexandra tyler, alexandra tyler. alexandra tyler said: Wolfie+theMOMA=Awesome. But I admit, he wasn't havin' it at first: […]

  2. Modern Kiddo Odds and Ends. – Modern Kiddo linked to this post on July 9, 2010

    […] a new feature we are trying out called “Real Life”. We did it once before when I posted about taking Wolfie to the SF MOMA and ya’ll seemed to like it. So we thought this could be a fun way to get to know Dottie and […]

  3. Modern Kiddo 2010: The Year in Review – Modern Kiddo linked to this post on December 31, 2010

    […] A Day at the Museum […]

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