Saturday, October 15, 2011

galleries are not just for grown-ups

Some days are hard, really hard to get through. Some days I wonder how Calder will make it in this world.....then there are days like today. When everything seems perfect.

When I was pregnant with Calder and after we decided to move to this little art hub of a city, I said to myself that I would expose Calder to art by visiting the galleries on Canyon Rd. starting when he was an infant. He could stroll in his stroller or sit in a sling and just look at all the colorful paintings as I would whisk by..... Well, it became apparent early on, that just wasn't going to happen.

Starting early in his first couple of years Calder had a bit of a hangup with doors. At first it was cute how he would open and close them. Then it became a hassle to wait while he opened and closed them over and over. Some places like Trader Joes are awful....where the doors are automatic. Still to this day, if he is with Eric or I and we approach automatic doors, he insists we wait until they close so that HE can make them open. Try doing this on a weekday evening when everyone and their mother are out shopping. Many times, it goes like this: 1- look like a creampuff and give into it, or 2-face a meltdown. What would you pick? Well, I opt for the creampuff.

Today we decided to take the kids up to Canyon Rd. for an open gallery walk. We parked the car on a side street and walked up to the first gallery. Outside we saw large sculptures of animals which is totally fun with kids. We went inside where I noticed there were several tiny doors and steps leading to small rooms with more doors in those rooms. Calder definitely noticed all the doors. One gallery we went into, Calder's first words were "where's the elevator?". All being single-level adobe architecture, I knew there would be no such elevator. For those of you who don't know Calder, lets just say he loves elevators even more than doors. When we take him to Explora in Albuquerque (a children's hands-on science center) his favorite thing, hands down, is the giant red elevator WITH A SOFA INSIDE! I have to agree with him it IS pretty darn cool.

So guess what? No door hangups today, no blocking the flow of onlookers with a melt-to-the-floor-freak-out-puddle, no loud hollaring as we drag him out the serene gallery. No, it was much better than that. Went more like this: "let's discuss the art, which is your favorite?", "yeah nice door huh?....but can you spot the white buffalo? yeah, there it is". When a few folks spoke to him, he didn't run off or cower to the floor or say *and I hate this one*, "I don't like that man". Rather, he spoke with them. He even painted when one of the local gallery artist invited him to paint on his mixed media piece. Holy WOW! I want to say to everyone, you know how big a deal this is? That he is speaking to you and looking at the art? He's 5! He's 5, with autism. I was so proud of him. And you know what? He had fun. I made sure to ask him several times. He definately noticed all the doors, steps, keypads, lighswitches and the lack of any elevator, but he knew that was not why we were there. We were there to look at art.

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