Monday, June 28, 2010

in her head

Last week we spent a morning at Kirstenbosch Gardens, one of our favourite places.

We did some balloon modelling (thank you Kirstenbosch for your kiddie's holiday programme - we love you) and then trundled around the Gardens for a few hours.

Frieda explored, I trailed behind zombie-esque, Stella soundly asleep in the pouch.

We watched some guinea fowl with unseasonal chicks, some older boys climbing trees. Frieda had her snack sitting on the giant low branches of an old oak tree, a stranger touched my heart by offering me a much appreciated cup of tea, without even expecting a chat in return.

Kirstenbosch has a new project, a temporary pavilion housing a sculpture exhibition and an amazing wall of vertical vegetation. The structure is mollusc-like, drawing you in to the centre where most of the sculptures are housed. Read more about it here.
We went in to explore.
Frieda loved the circular structure and, predictably, how the circular passages carried her voice shouting 'Sculpture sculpture sculpture' as she ran around and around.
In one side, out the other and off we went in search of new adventures.

It was only that evening, in the warm confessional dark of her bed as I tucked her in, that she said, 'I don't like that new house at the Gardens Mummy.'
Silence for a while and then, 'I don't want to see those sculptures again.'

I can understand how she may have found the work disturbing. Big bronze sculptures of human figures with horns and weird-shaped heads. Supposed to represent the wilderness in humankind or some such. I'm not a big fan myself.
But what interested me was how she showed no signs of discomfort when we were there. In fact I'd have said she hardly stood still long enough to really notice anything about the pieces.
Something stuck however, and she didn't like it.

I remember that strange headspace of childhood. How your responses to things, people, places are determined by the feeling you get from them. Not always able to articulate the exact source of your disturbance, you go with your gut.
It's an invaluable trait, one which I'd like to encourage in my kids. I decided not to try and work out with Frieda why she didn't like those sculptures. It's enough that she's that sure that she didn't.

Luckily, Kirstenbosch is filled with a lot of work she does like.

And we'll be back to visit those.

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