September 17, 2012

Mummy please tell Daddy I'm scared

Dear Parents of Terrified Child:
   What makes you think that just because something is educational means it is appropriate for all ages?  AND just because there is a cartoon version that your child loves doesn't mean they will embrace reality in the same way.
   We spent almost an hour with you this past July as my family and I toured the Mummies of the World Exhibit at MOSI in Tampa.  My family, which included our daughters aged 15 and 20, absolutely loved it.  Like you, we chose to upgrade our tickets to include this private exhibit at the bequest of our daughter and I am so glad we did.  In the short hour that it took us to walk through the hall it seemed that at every turn I was learning something new.  Before that morning I didn't know that mummies first appeared in South America before the Middle East, did you?   Who knew that the oldest mummy found to date was from Chile?  We absolutely loved the 3-D and interactive displays where we learned how today's forensic science is revealing long hidden secrets that mummies once  held.  How cool is it to know that they are able to diagnosis causes of death as well as create a nutritional study for a person's lifetime?   The best part for us, at least, was that in addition to videos, spinning globes, and wonderful docents there were over 50 REAL MUMMIES.   Not only were they real but they out for the world to see and not hidden away in a sarcophagus.  The had mummies of cats, rabbits men, women and children; some clothed some not.
     So dear parents what possessed you to bring your pre-school aged child to this exhibit??  The rules we were read before entering should have been enough of a warning:
  • no cell phones allowed
  • no photography
  • no bathroom
  • dim lighting
  • and NO RE-ENTRY
     In addition to a docent informing you of these rules we watched a 5 minute video about the exhibit.  This video informed us that while this is an exhibition the ultimate goal is to respect these individuals on display and to remember that they once had families and friends. After that video was over we entered the exhibit through dark curtains and came face to face with the first mummy.  We watched as your sweet little girl ran up to the case and peered in.  "What's that Daddy?"  "That's a mummy," you replied.  "Is it Real?" "Yes that is a real mummy?"  "Is it Dead?" "Yes, it is dead."
     At that point your daughter climbed your leg into your arm then buried her head so deep into your neck an ostrich would have been proud.  I truly need to know, what possessed you to continue with the exhibit?  Did you think things were going to get better?  Maybe you thought they would be prettier as if you were viewing the riches of Tutankhamen's tomb?  I really need to know.
     Throughout the entire exhibit we could hear your daughter squealing with fear, crying and asking you to please take her home.  More than once we witnessed you telling her that she wanted to come here and see the mummies so you were staying.  I know that we were really impressed that they had an actual page from  The Book Of The Dead on display but somehow I don't think your daughter felt the same.
     While we were learning from the docent how Egyptians would paint their bodies different colors so they could find them in the afterlife we also got to hear your daughter crying to your wife "Mommy tell Daddy I'm scared".  ~On a personal note:  I absolutely love this idea of painting your body so much that I am going to include in my will/funeral directions bottles of the exact color of nail polish to be used.  In addition there will be a can of spray paint for my cousin Nancy and her husband Gordon who also totally love this idea and have permission to spray my feet. (OK maybe you had to be there but I laughed over this for about a week and again just now)
After this last outburst my family could no longer bear to hear it any more and actually hung back a bit in hopes we wouldn't encounter y'all anymore.  How you handled seeing the nude mummies or the last exhibit of an entire family I do not know.  What I do know is this:    YOU sir are the parent.  And as such you have theright to say no when a child asks to do something which is above their true understanding, know this is different for every child..  Also as the parent it is your responsibility to research an exhibit such as this if you are taking your young child.  Oh look the museum has a link for families which was easy to find and called: Information for families.  Finally your response of "I paid for these tickets we are going to see the entire show"  truly has no meaning whatsoever to your child. My advice for the future is to show your daughter pictures on the computer or in a book.  Possibly do a side by side comparison between the TV character and reality. See if videos (like the one above) are available and then give it a few days to see how or even if she truly understand what the exhibit is about.
     Somehow though I think your daughter got the last laugh as I am pretty confident she didn't sleep very well that night ~ bless her heart.

Lady Bren
I must admit my kids and I loved this show


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