This Saturday, we all let PaPa talk us into a train/walk/boat/train adventure in the Wachau and I'm pretty sure we're all glad we did, although Shmoogie could be the exception. We tried to take a cute picture of her sleeping in the backpack (her only nap of the day) after the longish walk to the boat, but taking the picture woke her up and... well...
When she'd recovered herself a bit, she was excited to try some sparkling water from Mommy's glass, but... well...
Mr. WhyOhWhyPants behaved himself pretty well in the abbey, possibly because the very first thing that caught his interest was one panel of a 1502 altar artwork by Jörg Breu. What is that man doing? He wanted to know. "Well, that man in the middle there in the red cape is Jesus and those other people are being mean to him."
Why are they being mean to him? "Well, when Jesus grew up he was a very good person and he did a lot of good things and that made some people angry so they wanted to be mean to him." I turned to go, but Mr. WhyOhWhyPants stayed glued to the floor, tugging on my hand. More questions, more tries at answers, more turnings-to-go, more tuggings-to-stay.
Finally, I got him to leave, only to have him ask to go back to see Jesus again and nearly cry when I told him no. He calmed down when I promised that we would almost certainly see more pictures of Jesus before we left the abbey.
I thought perhaps he'd forgotten about it, what with all the gorgeous books he wasn't allowed to touch and the overwhelmingly gilded nave he had to be quiet in and the awesome staircase with a pristine mirror at the bottom that was clearly giving him vertigo...
Not to mention the Sachertorte with ice cream and whipped cream which he single handedly (well, double-handedly) downed in about five minutes on the boat ride down the Danube...
And I answer again, something about Jesus being nice to poor people and telling other people they should be nice to poor people, too, and people who weren't poor not liking that very much.
And he asks, Why did they not like that?
And I come up with some kind of example, about how the people who weren't poor were used to having the poor people do stuff for them, like laundry, and they wanted to keep it that way because they didn't want to have to start doing their own laundry. (An example which I am careful not to confine entirely to the distant past.)
At which point, he looks deeply confused and asks, Why would they not want to do their laundry? and I belatedly recall that he views "doing the laundry" as a special treat (a big machine! with buttons!).
So then I switch to a more concrete discussion of sharing - What if at your school there were a bunch of kids who had Lightning the Queen shoes? Really cool shoes, right? (Yeah! Yeah!) And one kid has TWO pairs of Lightning the Queen shoes. And one kid doesn't have ANY. Is that fair? Wouldn't it be nice for the kid with two pairs to give one of them to the kid who doesn't have any?
And here's where we take a little tangent, about how Mr. WhyOhWhyPants really really wants some Lightning the Queen shoes... and we should go buy some right now. And if he had two pairs of such fabulous shoes, no, he would not like to give one of the pairs to someone just because they didn't have any. He would like to keep them both for himself. Yes, even if he couldn't actually use both pairs.
Well, exactly, we tell him, that's how the people felt and that's why they were mean to Jesus, because he kept telling them to share and making them feel bad about it and they didn't want to so they just wanted Jesus to go away, so they were mean to him.
Not that the conversation ended there, of course, and the rest of the adults at the table eventually added their own spins on the story (with growing emphasis on how Jesus wanted people to SHARE and some lengthy discussion of the Golden Rule), and it has all somehow ended up with Mr. WhyOhWhyPants informing me repeatedly that when he next sees his friend (formerly best friend, loss of friendship greatly grieved, but apparently mostly the fault of Mr. WhyOhWhyPants, who I'm told tends to hit his best friend when his best friend doesn't give him every toy he wants, etc.) he's going to tell his friend that he should be nice to people. And I explain repeatedly that it's much better to be nice to people so that they learn how to be nice and so that they want to be nice. And he explains that, no, he just wants to tell his friend that he should be nice.
So I guess the whole telling-people-to-be-nice-might-end-with-them-beating-you-with-sticks subplot didn't really come through?