As an artist, or someone who considers themself one, I’ve always lived by the importance of being weird. It’s deeply rooted in me to try and think differently, explore new connections and create something from what you know while staying open enough (check that ego, man…!) to learn and listen as much as you can.
Lately, I’ve been listing some ways I feel we’re #winning at raising our kids to be artists too.
For instance, our toddler tells the time by holidays. An eerie sunset in July? “Mom, look! It’s Halloween…!” Snowfall on a March morning? “CHRISTMAS!!” It probably is confusing that we threaten to call Santa from New Year’s Eve on… But I haven’t corrected her on the assumption that the weather makes the day special.
Our oldest has a way of getting to the punchline when you least expect it. One example that comes to mind is over dinner- the kind where I actually followed multiple recipes and tried…After she pushed her plate away, I politely asked, “Honey, what don’t you like about the food?” She replied, “The taste.”
The poet and comedienne.
You might know I love to be in the kitchen and often have children with me. We pass around the bowl of seeds from the butternut squash to “smell October” and suppress yelling by *arming ourselves with towels.
*There’s nothing too artful to that, but suffice to say it’s safe to add a third of the flour called for in any recipe as it will inevitably coat the counter and all humans by the bowl.
Once while standing on her stool next to the onions, our toddler said, “Mom, my eyes are watered.” And I (usually) let them crack eggs, measure vanilla and stir things to a fare-thee-well.
I especially like when they dress themselves…“When did you decide on the bikini for the dinner party?” Or when I took our 3-year-old to pre-school in boots, only to find her in tap shoes when we arrived.
How much artwork are we supposed to save? I used to find mine right back on my bed. No hard feelings, mom. I get it!
A real conversation at our home:
“This is a dinosaur eating your head.”
“Lovely! Let’s tape that up somewhere.”
Potty-training got easier once our daughter renamed it her “magic show”. And I’m not sure how many imaginary friends we have but, there’s a minimum of 12 plates when I get "help" setting the table.
I like listening to my kids play. Although when the oldest starts telling the youngest what to say, it’s hard for me not to interrupt. “Quit feeding her lines!” or “The first rule of improv is ‘Yes-And’...”
Or when they like to express themselves through music. “WOW! SO beautiful! Now, can you play it like a lullaby?” “How would that dust ball over there sound?”
All kids are naturally creative. This excites me. I like a little deviance from the norm.
This must be why, when the kindergarten teacher wrote a paragraph message to me about my daughter cutting her hair, I forgot to respond. But, I did send her in a braid the following day.
I guess one of my fears as a parent is to somehow hinder their big ideas… Still, we walk a fine line of “How long am I expected to trip over this fort?” and “If I see one more cap-less marker… you’ll never work again in this town!”
On my best days, every space is brimming with opportunities and fun, but on the more challenging, I just try to remember… they’re trying hard too.