Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Thucydides on my mind . . .

While we were in Dubai Jonathan stocked up on books for the next stretch of time in Doha. Three of them were on Greek history and one on some Arab conflict. On the flight home, which is only 45 minutes, Atticus was getting really antsy. I don't blame him. He didn't get the window seat this time. Anyway, I entertained him by drawing my version of the hoplites on the cover of Jonathan's book. There was a lot of nudity in Greek culture. I took a class in college about Greek culture. Ancient Greece of course. Anyway, one of the few things I remembered from the class was that the athletes used to train naked, that's why we use the word gymnasium. Gymnos means naked. The idea grossed me out at the time. But now that I'm older and much more mature, I can see the wisdom in such a practice. If you're going to get sweaty, why get your clothes all sweaty too? I'm sure those greek women had plenty of work to do without their husbands coming home with sweatstained clothes. As for the depiction on the cover of Jonathan's book, I don't think they were completely naked during warfare. I think they just loved nudity so they put naked men all over their vases and pottery.
I don't know why I took that class in college. I guess I was just fascinated with Greek myths and was inspired to learn more. Jonathan and I were dating while I was taking this class. We took the train up to San Francisco to find some examples of Greek architecture. I took lots of photos of Greek columns and capitals. Then for our honeymoon we went to Athens. We got a nice taste of Greece, not a real taste mind you. That would take a few months at least. We went back a year later for our first anniversary since we were living in Barcelona at the time. I was pregnant, and wouldn't it be fitting to name our first child Atticus, after the region where Athens lies? Attica. So you can imagine my surprise and amusement when Atticus came home from school a few days after arriving home from Dubai with several drawings like the one below. I was impressed with his attention to details that he didn't have before him as he drew. He drew all this from memory. The helmet, the "boobs" as he calls them, the penis, and, what I think is quite easily forgotten is, the butt. He remembered the butt. I think most people would have forgotten that little round shape he stuck on the back of the leg. I chuckle as I think about him drawing this in class. I wonder what his teacher thought.
The human body is such a silly thing for a seven year old. Giggle, giggle, giggle. Look at his penis! Why does he have boobs Mom? My philosophy so far is to act like the naked human body is normal and nothing to laugh at. My mother was extremely modest and my father was the opposite. I remember looking for pictures of naked people in the anatomy books in the library when I was a kid. There was a curiosity there that I thought was wrong. Well, it's not wrong, and I want my kids to know that. I hope that if they understand the human body, what it's for, and why it's special, they won't abuse theirs or anyone elses. And they sure aren't going to learn about it by Mommy shielding them from it like it's something to be embarrassed about. Does anyone else have any ideas on how to treat this aspect of learning with their children?

No comments: