Monday, June 29, 2009

Burning Up

So I've been reading (really, studying) the Spirited Child handbook in the last few months (which I think has helped a lot - mostly me). I put something from that book into practice today with a lot of success. It's not often that something actually "works" over a very short period of time - I was so pleased with the technique that I wanted to write it down. Will can be very intense and really work himself up in a frenzy. One of the suggestions of the SC book is to give children alternative outlets for their feelings, particularly anger, instead of not allowing them to feel/be angry.

So this morning Will was all upset because I wouldn't let him wear his Spiderman costume to school. "But I have to save people," he argues. I tell him that if the costume is going to make him disagreeable that's not very super-hero like and I'll have to take the costume away until he's ready to act nicely (if the costume makes you have bad behavior then the costume is going to need to be put away yadda yadda). So then he tells me that he's very angry with me (which I think is a good step - that he's saying that versus just having a complete hissy fit).

I told him that it was okay for him to be angry with me; I understood that and I felt angry sometimes too. Then I asked him (this is from the book) if he'd like to draw a picture of how angry he felt. He said that yes he would so up we went to get the markers and paper out and he plopped himself down and began to draw. He started with black. Then he got yellow, red and after that pink. About this time Kevin came home from running and asked him what he was drawing. He tells Kevin very matter of factly that he's angry with me for not letting him wear his Spiderman costume and so he's drawing a picture of fire burning me up (maybe I was the pink?). Kevin, of course, is pretty taken aback but in typical Kevin fashion he keeps his cool and doesn't really react to it (I later explained the technique to him). He showed Kevin the fire and the black (which he said was the smoke) burning me up.

In the car on the way to school he was still angry with me (according to him) but when I picked him up from school and we got into the car he said to me right away, "Mommy, I'm not angry with you anymore" (I hadn't asked - I had just acted normally when I picked him up; he brought it up specifically).

Here's a picture of the drawing he made. It's a pretty obviously "angry" image - but I thought it was pretty cool that he could get his anger out that way (versus having a fit, hitting something or someone, or even just yelling). So I got fictionally burned up in the process. As my book suggests, parenting should be about progress, not perfection :-)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mom, How Come ...

Will: Mom, how come there's rain in the clouds if I can't see it, even if I go up in an airplane?

to Ty: Have you heard of "On Beyond Zebra? Which letters do you know?

to Ty: You can't see the air but you can feel it, right?

June 21, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Things I Hope I Never Forget

Lindsay at the fair, her first time seeing a cow. I had been wheeling her around in her stroller but when we got to the AgriFair building I took her out and let her go into the petting zoo. The floor of the petting zoo is a thick layer of shavings and normally Lindsay is pretty particular about her footing (not venturing out into deep sand, often not even wanting to walk on wet grass) but I put her down and she saw the cows and I just saw the lightbulb go off. "Moo!" she squealed and headed over to the cows as fast as her little tripod walk would take her repeating "Moo! Moo! Moo!" all the way. Then "Sheep!" Too bad I had never told her about goats (bad mom). She had no words for them but she walked right over and patted them too.

It all just clicked in her head that these things we'd been seeing in books are really animals, not some little plastic toy.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Art A Day

Kevin and I have decided that the next fifteen months are so are the "sweet spot" of parenting. Today is the first day of summer for us (Will's last day of school was yesterday) and in just about 15 months he'll be starting kindergarden (sighs). Like the Keith Urban song, "these are the days that you'll remember" and we want to spend them, as much as possible, enjoying the freedom of this time in our lives.

As I was pinning up some of the school artwork that came home with Will yesterday it occurred to me tha t, beyond me lobbying to put more art and music into our schools, I ought to be walking the talk and doing exactly that. Instead of worrying about donating to fundraisers to bring art education back to our school district, maybe we should just be getting down and dirty ourselves more often. I love doing art projects - and part of the joy of getting messy is getting clean afterwards. I set a goal to do at least one art or music "project" every day - some days it will be as simple as getting out our MusicTogether CDs and our instruments and playing together but I hope that most days it will mean getting out the crayons, the paints, the glue, the playdoh, t he scissors ... and just getting creative.

On the first day we made a chalk city on our driveway and painted dinosaurs. Well, we started out painting dinosaurs ... then the dinosaur became the ocean. Then we put fish in the ocean. [then mommy paints a sun over the ocean]. Then we paint a purple whale breeching out of the ocean. Then we give the whale a mouth. Now the whale is a megaladon (ancient shark). Then the whale is actually a ladder up to the sun. Then we mix the purple with the sun - now we have a sunset ... and that's where we stop for the day (although we may continue to paint after "quiet time" - to that end the stuff is still set up in the driveway.

Like my goal of getting back into running this year, it's all about momentum. The more you do it, the more you do it. First day of summer and we're on a roll :-)
ArtADay - Day 2
Day 2: we played off of our matchbox car chalk city and ran our cars through paint and then "rimmed" the cars on the paper to create our artwork. We also had fun with Lindsay's bubble machine (she can say "bubble" now very distinctly) and Will's bubble sword. I made giant bubbles with the bubble sword and Will ran around the street popping them with his other sword. This is now referred to as "the bubble game".
Day Three - start of a cheetah, painting the base
Day 3: decided to go with a theme for the week (African Animals). He chose a cheetah today. We looked at pictures on the internet (thank you Google Images) and then decided that cheetahs are yellow. Then I had to cut out a template. Of course Will wanted a cheetah running, so I had to freehand draw that, then cut it out, then tape it down onto the newspaper so he could paint it. Now it's drying and after "quiet time" we'll punch out black dots (that's a skill, right?) and glue them onto the body. Don't know if we'll make eyes or just glue googley eyes to it. I found a cool multicolored snake thing for tomorrow.
the finished cheetah

Day 4 - paper plate snake. Note to self - make note of which pieces go where before you paint. In theory it's a great idea to practice cutting by cutting the paper plate into pieces and then painting the pieces and then reassembling the "puzzle" back into a snake ... but in practice it's harder than it looks to remember which piece goes where! (and it's also hard to figure out which side to paint if the pieces aren't labeled so we ended up painting both sides of all of the pieces, just in case.
Day 4 - colorful snake

Day 5 - I've already learned something. Even though I like having a "theme" and the goal of doing at least one art project each day, I've learned that being too rigid about either really takes the entire point out of it. Yesterday we had a fun, easy day - walked to Starbucks, baked banana bread together, played the bubble game but then it was 5 PM and I realize we haven't done our art project for the day yet (handprint lions from this site: So this week I feel compelled to complete the theme but after tomorrow (Friday) I'm going to adopt a looser definition of "art project". I want to do creative things but I don't necessarily need to create things in the process. There's too much pressure that way - which entirely defeats the point of the project in the first place.

Day 6 - this morning Will had a playdate with a friend whose mom is also very into doing art with her son. She showed me a few cool things that she has to do with Mason (that I now totally covet) and she had a face painting book complete with face paints, a brush, etc. We turned Mason & Will into superheroes with face paints - it was fun. Now if I can only get to Michaels today maybe I can just paint Will's face as a zebra .....