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Secrets of the Afterlife

26 September 2013

Last weekend, it was a wet, cold, rainy weekend. The kind where you wake up in the morning and think – Oh god, how am I going to entertain these kids today?!?!

Well, that morning, a crazy part of me thought – Oh why don’t we go to the WA Museum today?! That’s indoors. I have been meaning to catch the most recent exhibition about Ancient Egypt.

So I bundled my three kids into the car and off we went.

What was I thinking?!

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

The exhibition was called, The Secrets of the Afterlife, in collaboration with the British Museum. I say “was” because this day turned out to be THE LAST day of the exhibition. I was lucky to see it!

It was a journey into the ancient Egyptian world of magic, mummies and mystery.

The artifacts were AMAZING!

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

The preservation of the materials. The ritualistic decoration. The intricate beading. The craftsmanship. It was jaw-dropping.

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

This is the surface of one coffin. The paintings were so detailed, clear, precise, and vibrant. I was in design heaven.

If you consider that most of these items are dated back to 1500 BC… that’s over 3000 years old!

It was completely mind boggling. And I was filled with spine-tingling awe.

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

Then came the jewellery and I almost lost it. I was so excited.

The lizards symbolised the renewal of life (based on the creature’s ability to re-grow new limbs or tail). The beads on the left necklace are shaped as poppy seed heads.

These pieces are over 2000 years old. Made from gold, carnelian gemstone, glass. Gaah how beautiful!

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

On the right is a heart-scarab amulet, with spells from The Book of the Dead inscribed at the base.

On the right are a collection of make-up containers. The tube-like containers are kohl eye paint holder, and the little semi-circle box is for storing cosmetics. How beautiful!

These items are dated between 1500 – 1069 BC.

Yup, so all this was very lovely, but what REALLY happened during the outing?

I wish I could say that I had a wonderful experience soaking up and appreciating history and the creativity of our ancient ancestors… but in reality, I had to RACE through the exhibition. I only had 2 seconds to look each item. I literally just stopped at each piece, went WOW, took a photo of it, took a photo of the information plate, then rushed on to the next piece. Literally. It was shameful.

Why?

Because my 4 year old was shouting things like “If these are the mummies, WHERE ARE THE DADDIES?? BWAHAHAHA!!!” over and over again.

He was knocking things over. Jumping around. Falling to the ground. Banging on the glass. Banging into other people. Shouting really loud. Licking the glass. Putting his hands over the information panels when people were trying to read them. Ripping up the brochures and sprinkling the paper all over the floor.

He was holding my hand, but jumping and pulling in all directions, so I was jerking around, and being pulled to the ground at random times. I was constantly scolding him, warning him, punishing him, and of course, trying to engage him in the exhibition to no avail.

Ooooh it was hard work. I was pretty pissed off that I couldn’t enjoy the exhibition, but really, it was my own fault! Why did I do this to myself? I was swearing inside. And shaking my head at the whole BITTERSWEET EXISTENCE OF PARENTHOOD! I was close to tears.

That is…

Until right at the end… we reached the last little nook.

I wanted to take a photo of the last exhibition piece… so I asked my kids to wait against a wall. It was actually a wall with a connected partition that created a 20cm gap. My 4 year old giggled naughtily, “Tee hee, I’m going to squeeze through this gap and I’ll see you on the other side mum!!”

(I thought what he said was quite witty and profound, since this was an exhibition about the afterlife…)

I bent down to him and said very sternly, “DO NOT put your head through that gap. You are NOT to squeeze through to the other side, do you understand?!”

He said yes.

I turned away. I was about to snap my photo, when I heard him say, “Er, help!”.

Oh god no.

Ancient Egypt Exhibition 2013

Yep. He put his head between the wall partition.

My son got his head stuck in the wall!

HIS HEAD!! STUCK IN THE FREAKING WALL!!

And yes. Since I had a camera in my hand, I took a photo of him.

Oooooooh, dear internet. Do forgive me, because I could not stop myself from laughing. I had to press my lips together and bend my head into my chest to hide my smile. It was a serious and dangerous situation for my child, yet I giggle uncontrollably. I had pangs of guilt but oh my, it was sooooooo funny.

He was saying things like, “Um, mum. I think my head is stuck. Can you help me?”

Sigh. Ok.

I put my camera away. And began to think. How to get my son’s head out?

I held his head and tried to pull him out gently. Nope, stuck.

I pressed his ears tightly against his head, then pulled. Nope. Hmm, definitely stuck.

I smooshed his temple/cheeks/face/ears together in my hands (oh god I was trying not to laugh!) and pulled a little harder… then he started to scream in pain! Good grief, now everyone was looking at us.

I asked my other boys to find an attendant for help. Maybe they could move the wall partition?

But my boys started to have an argument about WHO was going to do the asking. They were going back and forth with their bickering, while my little one cried louder and louder. I turned to them and growled, “WILL YOU STOP ARGUING!! I NEED SOME HELP AND I NEED YOU TO GO FIND SOMEONE WITH A BADGE!!”

In that moment, Liam seemed to have twisted and turned, and -POP- out came his head. He was free.

Thank goodness!!

I certainly calmed down after that. And I wasn’t so grumpy any more.

I smiled knowing that I had great photos of the exhibition (and my son with his head stuck in a wall). And that I could soak up the creativity of our ancient ancestors (and my son)… forever.




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