Thursday, April 25, 2019

A "Mommy Bottom"


































Take it hip to hip, rocket through the wilderness. ~The B52s

Yesterday, we were out on a neighborhood ramble. We started by rolling in the grass and picking dandelions and other wildflowers at a relatively new park called the Troll's Knoll, which was, of course, followed by a clamber on The Troll himself. After this, we hiked to "the Dump Playground," called that because it was built adjacent to and as part of the recent updating of the solid waste transfer station, which we also visited to watch the garbage trucks vomit their loads of rubbish.

As we returned home, we passed the global headquarters of the Brooks running gear manufacturer which features a stylized, over-sized statue made from what appear to be old medals. It's clear to me that it's meant to represent a powerful, athletic woman, but I've discovered over the years that this isn't always so evident to the children. A group of us stopped to admire her as we waited for our slower-walking friends to catch up. Someone referred to her as a "guy," but a friend disagreed, pointing out that she had a "mommy bottom," patting her solid hip to make the point. This settled it for the kids.

I was reminded of a project from many years ago when a group of four and five-year-olds set themselves the task of creating a giant Nutcracker statue. They had wanted to use a pair of cardboard tubes for the legs, so running with that theme, I collected several other cylinders -- cans and tubes -- that I suggested we could use. In demonstrating my thinking to the kids, I had selected a large can that I imagined would work as a nice masculine chest. I laid the entire figure out on the floor to show them how I thought it would come together. They liked the general idea, but objected to my arrangement: the large can, they told me, would be better used as hips since this was going to be "a girl Nutcracker," the result of which you can see in the picture at the top of this post.

When I shared this story with one of the parents who had joined us on our ramble, she replied, "Well, they do spend a lot of their lives riding on their mothers' hips. They're important." Of course, women's bodies come in all shapes and sizes, but children are nevertheless keen observers. I suppose if it had been up to me, I'd have suggested something artistically clumsy like adding obvious breasts by way of feminizing our Nutcracker (or categorizing the Brooks statue), but the children, as they often prove themselves, are much more subtle and observant than I.

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