We went for a little family outing yesterday that landed us on a nice, secluded bike path. We walked for a bit then Rachel encouraged us to run. She was super vigilant and kept saying, “Watch out, bikes!” and “Watch out, snakes!” We kept asking her if she was ready to turn around and she would say, “Keep going!” She’s as stubborn as she is fast, our girl.
As we all ran together, she looked up and said, “Family Run!” And well, that pretty much made my heart melt.
We had a very full weekend: full of errand-running, race-running, meatball-making, ziti-baking, and most of all, friendship.
Somewhere in the middle of all that, Rachel and I stopped to have a picnic in Rittenhouse Square Park. It was an irresistibly gorgeous day and we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. We had pizza and lemonade from the farmer’s market, people-watched, danced along to a two-piece band, and counted the number of school buses going by (pub crawlers adorned in Kelly green tshirts and booze induced grins). It was the perfect portion of carefree fun.
The rest of the weekend was overwhelming and inspiring. More on that soon.
It started out as just people-watching and snacking. A group of teenagers was camped out on the playground platform, and that was just fine with us. But then they left and, you know me, I snapped a million pictures while Rachel played. Like you haven’t seen enough pictures of Rachel playing on a playground.
When she’s bigger I’ll take a bunch of uninteresting photos of her standing in the on deck circle, or roving mid-field. You can’t stop me.
Over the weekend, I took Rachel to the nearby playhouse/café to see a magic show. When we arrived they announced that the show would start late, and after all the waiting Rachel was so engrossed in play that she didn’t care too much about magic after all. So this is what the back of a magic show looks like:
While 90% of the kids were sitting still, captivated by the magician, Rachel and the other 10% played with all the playhouse treasures without sharing/fighting over them. She even found a little hiding spot to enjoy an illicit snack. (You’re not supposed to eat or drink on the rug where the toys are.) She’s exceptional, our girl, if not a little rebellious.
I couldn’t help but laugh this morning as we were looking at these pictures together. Rachel was shouting, “MAGIC SHOW, MAGIC SHOW!” happy to have the memory. I thought to myself, “Yes dear, tell me all about it.”
On Sunday, Rachel and I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to participate in their Family Studio activity. Family Studio is an awesome program where the museum hosts free family art activities on the first Sunday of the month. Each event has a theme, and this Sunday was inspired by the new Van Gogh exhibit so it was all about painting flowers. Rachel loves painting and loves flowers so I thought this would be just perfect for us.
Can I be honest? It was a little intimidating. It was really well attended, and luckily it was also well-staffed, but still, the amount of people there, and their talent, was kind of overwhelming. It took Rachel a little while to warm up to the room.
While I thought about how great it was for such a program to have high participation, I scanned the room and realized that most of the kids were probably children of artists. Their parents’ artwork was super impressive and their own mini masterpieces were not far behind. (I really didn’t even know that the parents would be participating in the art making!)
Apart from feeling lucky to live in a city that values creativity and so on, I felt like we were a little out of our league. I guess this is part of the enjoyment/challenge of introducing our children to activities that we’re not necessarily skilled at. It was a test to both of our comfort zones. Rachel studied her tablemates’ creations and was reluctant to make one of her own. I encouraged her by doodling just like we do at home. I asked her to take a turn, but she didn’t take to it with the same enthusiasm that she usually does.
She was definitely engaged though. She was observing everything and she really did want to keep pursuing what we were creating on our page, humble as it was. I think she enjoyed watching the bigger artists very much. It made me think of being a little girl when my town’s high school fielded its first softball team. I watched as many of their games as I could. I never wanted to go out there and play with them, but I watched and cheered with dedication.
I think we’ll try attending again, maybe with friends Rachel’s age, maybe a few months from now.