By Jeff Edelstein
My son almost pooped inside the late 3rd century "Cupids Riding Dolphins, Surrounded by Marine Creatures" tile fountain from Antioch-on-the-Orontes, Turkey, which is located on the bottom floor of the Princeton Art Museum in Princeton, N.J.
OK fine, maybe "almost pooped" is pushing the truth a bit, but he was just out of diapers and had a dash of "you just never know" in regard to giving us a reasonable amount of time in which to get him to the nearest toilet.
As so maybe, just maybe, visiting the Princeton University Art Museum wasn't the brightest idea. We were there, enjoying the day, passing our then-1-year-old daughter back and forth and taking turns holding hands with our son.
I stopped to look at some ancient piece of ancient stuff, and somehow, some way, there's my son, standing smack in the middle of "Cupids Riding Dolphins, Surrounded by Marine Creatures" tile fountain from Antioch-on-the-Orontes, Turkey.
From the late 3rd century A.D.
"Get. Out," I said, slowly, calmly, with all my fatherly force.
At this point, there was no other choice. I tried to not shatter the 1,700-year-old tile and extricate my son before there was ... an issue.
I was horrified, and glad we weren't caught by the security patrolling the grounds.
I tell you that story to tell you this story ...
A young couple was in a London museum with their toddler, according to a Gawker report.
Theodore then approached the parents. She tweeted: "I told the woman the the kids were using a $10mm art work as a toy, she told me I knew nothing abt kids. Obv she doesn't either."
The art in question -- seemingly four pieces of something stuck to a wall by the artist Donald Judd -- didn't seem to suffer from the toddler lying down and climbing on it, but still: Wow.
See, this is exactly what gives parents and toddlers a bad name. Many of us, much of the time -- present company included -- get it in our head our kid is so darned precious the laws of man and nature do not apply. We let them do things that range from "not cool" to "a disorderly persons offense."
Some of us are worse than others, but we've all been *that* parent before when we allow things -- whether by design or not -- to get out of hand.
For instance, I didn't mean to allow my daughter to unfold a dozen sweaters at Banana Republic the other day while I was browsing through the sale rack, but that's exactly what happened.
I mean, I try. My wife tries. We make a solid attempt to keep our kids from committing these crimes against humanity.
Sometimes, we lose.
For instance, ever been in line at Old Navy? This is a clothing store, but the line they snake you through contains all manner of toys at eye-level. Well, of course the kids are going to start grabbing. I try to stop them, but I lose, and then I rationalize it so it works to my advantage. (Here's the rationalization, and it's not a terrible one: It's a clothing store! Stop trying to tempt my children with toys! I don't care if they make mess! Serves you right!)
Anyway, the parents in London? Terrible. They were right, in one respect, with that "you know nothing about kids" bit. Left to their own devices, toddlers will rampage and destroy. Simple as that. It's up to us, the parents, to rein them in.
And rein them in we must. Even at Old Navy, especially in museums.
Oh and by the way, if you're ever in the area, the Princeton University Art Museum is a fine establishment. Free to get in, as well. Great way to kill an hour or three, especially if you like Turkish fountains that do not contain my son's poop.