wow, looks like all i need to do to get a butt load of people reading my blog is to put some type of disclaimer on facebook about how negative it is and how it’s not aimed at insulting anyone and i get like a billion views in one day. good to know.
as i’ve said before, i sleep with both kids and, at the end of the day, if i am not too exhausted to remember, i usually ask ruth what her favorite part of the day was. this can be a struggle sometimes because we don’t usually do much worth mention, and it’s not uncommon for her to ask in return, “what did we do today?” good question, i said. let’s see. we went for a short walk because it was super cold. we had “family drawing time” and grama came over. she thought for a second, and i waited, knowing the answer i was about to hear as grama is ALWAYS the best part of every day when she visits. but she surprised me and warmed my heart when she said, “family drawing time”.
a couple weeks ago, while greg was out of town, you remember, and i had the car, i took a trip to michael’s craft store one day to kill some time and get a few things. i didn’t write about it but i had been hoping that joel would fall asleep on the way there and that i could just load him into the stroller and wander the store at leisure. no such luck of course and he did NOT want to be in the cart seat, i can tell you that much. i did what i hate to do though, and i cracked down on him and refused to get him out. oh, but he was mad and insulted and stifled and hurt, and he let everyone in the store know it for about ten minutes. then he quieted down which was sort of heartbreaking.
anyways, i managed to get my items and pay, somehow racking up a fifty dollar bill at the register. i don’t know how that happens. you know how michael’s is, i guess.
i was inspired and determined to integrate more art into our lives as i have been reading this book: “the creative family How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections” by amanda blake soule. it’s a great book. one of the things she discusses is purchasing family drawing journals and sitting down every day, or at least regularly, and drawing together. not collaboratively, but just near each other but each doing your own thing. i’m not gonna lie, it partially appealed to me because i like art and i wanted to find time to do my own with the kids around. so, perfect.
well, the first time we tried it was terrible. i mean a complete failure. ruth kept saying she wanted to make a picture for someone, and i was getting really frustrated and, mad, to be honest, that my daughter views art only as something you make for someone else that’s pretty. i was really mad at myself, that i let her have just a skewed vision of artistic expression. she kept tearing pages out of her (pretty expensive ) book and i finally lost it on her. “ruth!” i yelled, “art is not for other people! it’s for yourself! it’s for you to express yourself! stop tearing out pages!” then she got upset. she said she wanted to tear out pages and then she started asking me what i was drawing. which is really infuriating sometimes when you already feel upset and then someone won’t leave you in peace to draw and they want to look over your shoulder. “ruth, this is my art. it’s for me. i don’t want to talk about it. i just want to draw it.” blah, blah, it degraded from there, you get the picture. terrible moment for me as a parent.
anyways, i gave up the idea for a while, sure she would want no part in it after such a negative experience. until yesterday, after we got back from a walk. i set up their journals to a fresh page and got out the colored pencils and sat down and started to draw. soon, they were both at the table beside me, working in their journals as well. i couldn’t believe it.
after a little while, ruth wanted to show me her drawing, so i looked at it. she’s still unsure about the whole art for the self thing and wants feedback, but i think she’ll get there one day. little joel even copied his sister and doodled a bit (then he found out that throwing the colored pencils on the floor was much more fun than coloring with them). ruth came over and looked at my picture and started asking me about it. not in an annoying “i’m controlling you” kind of way, but just in a curious way.
it was a good time, exactly what i had hoped for. it couldn’t have gone better. of course, i know that doesn’t guarantee anything for the next time we try. but i think the walk beforehand might be the key. number one, everyone gets sort of inspired and quieted by spending some time out of doors. number two, after a bit of exercise, they are more likely to sit still at the table (key) for a little while.