In Which Margaret Forces the Children to Be Cultured and (Nearly) Fights Hipster Parents

In my never-ending quest to win the Worst Mother in the Universe, Hands-Down (I hope my trophy comes with Hands-Down on it) I took the kids to LA on New Year’s Day to LACMA. Which is the LA County Museum of Art.

My MIL used to lament how none of the Dilloway girls had any artistic talent. Then my artistic genetics came into the picture. Both my girls love making art.

I *was* an art major, so it’s only natural that I love going to art museums and stuff like that. I love standing in front of art and telling the kids about it and asking them what they think until they roll their eyes and try to melt into the floor (usually takes about 20 seconds).

One of my friends had gone to LACMA and noted their FREE kids’ program, called NexGen, was going on. You sign up and each kid gets to take an adult in for FREE also.

Three free kids plus two free adults equals cost of gas to LA, plus food. So not a bad day trip.

Of course, it almost killed Son, who nearly keels over at the thought of doing anything. Anything he specifically doesn’t choose, that is. So the tar pit museum, which would be his speed (yeah, I know that’s not its proper name) was closed, so first we looked at the art.

We needed to go see the Monet/Lichtenstein cathedrals . You have to take an escalator to the 3rd floor, outside, to get there.

So we got on and realized, hey, this thing is TALL and high up.

One of my recurring nightmares is an escalator nightmare, where a tall escalator goes fast and I fall off. Make of that what you will. (My other recurring nightmare is about the Kardashians. Once I dreamed they were pod people turning everyone into them. SCARY! I know!)

Son is afraid of heights so he started freaking out. Little Girl freaked out because her brother was freaking out and both were holding onto Cadillac for dear life, their eyes shut.

I said, “Well, it is a rather tall escalator,” meaning to acknowledge what they were feeling (and also a fleeting memory of my nightmare). This only served to freak them out more.

This nearly ruined Son’s entire trip. Luckily, an ice cream sandwich saved the day.

Then we went and looked at the tar pits outside. A sad baby mammoth cries as its Daddy or Mommy sinks into the tar. Talk about nightmares!


Finally we returned to the art museum, where we found these long plastic spaghetti-like strands where kids could roam free.


Unfortunately some kids were roaming free-er than others. There were some hipster parents there whose kid, about age 10, had a mullet meant, I suppose, to be ironic (I just found this entertaining and enlightening post: “The Ironic of the Ironic: Hipsters Don’t Understand Irony“) They were all wearing these cowboy shirts and the mom had a faded pink streak in her hair.

Anyway, no problem with hipsters generally, but their kid began chasing a girl (his sister, perhaps) and grabbing handfuls of this plastic stuff and whipping it back in her face to smack and hurt her. She avoided it for the most part but he got more and more aggressive and soon was running all through the maze. I looked over at the mother and she was looking at me with an expression I couldn’t read– I hoped she was smiling and not understanding, but I felt like she was smirking and TOTALLY understanding and thinking, “What? What are you gonna do about it? I’ve got a pink streak in my hair I made with Kool-Aid.” I looked at her kid and back at her and I frowned and she was still smiling at me and her husband was staring at the sky or something. Usually this is the point where Responsible Parents understand their kid is being bad and do something about it. So I asked Cadillac if he wanted to say something and he said he really didn’t want to have to get into bloodshed at the art museum, but if I said something he would back me up.

So then it was all like this for a moment:

Then Son shouted, “Hey, cut that out! What are you trying to do?” and I looked inside to see him behind Little Girl, holding her shoulders, and his big sister covering him. And the kid stopped whipping the plastic around in peoples’ faces and we went inside.

Which was probably more effective, anyway.

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

11 thoughts on “In Which Margaret Forces the Children to Be Cultured and (Nearly) Fights Hipster Parents

  1. damn. I wish you’d had a smackdown with Pink Streak. Maybe it does take a peer to make kids realize their behavior isn’t cool. Kudos to Son. I hope he’s taking karate lessons.

  2. I hope that little hipster babies rebel against the rebellion of their parents, and spend their teenage years sneaking away to a friend’s house to watch football and drink Sam Adams.

    Also, I love you nouns and your capitals.

  3. Note that you shouldn’t go to Universal Studios until everyone fares better on escalators!

    In spite of all the mayhem, I hope you enjoyed LACMA!

    1. Kids are smarter than adults, always. Love all the descriptions and now I don’t have to travel to LA to that particular museum. Took a Humanities class once and had to go to the Cleveland Are Museum and pick out a few paintings to dissect – why the artist did what she or he did. How was I supposed to know but I did it and passed with an A. Also had to write a short story which I wrote intending for Redbook to purchase because after all I’d read every short story they ever published and I knew mine was good. Well, it came back in the return mail- no thank you. Then I did sell it to Cat Fancy Magazine because it had a cat in it. I am not a cat person so it shocked the heck right out of me when I sold that story.
      Now I am mostly writing newspaper articles for which they no longer pay but it gets my name in the paper and sometimes the dentist’s secretary reads what I write.
      Meanwhile I’m learning how to put my novel on ebooks, Amazon, Kindle. Love love love your writing, Margaret. This was a very fun read.

  4. Funny story! I can completely relate to dealing with kids, both your own and others. I saw your book in a huge display at Barnes and Nobles- congratulations on your success. I’ll be looking forward to reading your new one too!

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