Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dogs, Drawing, and the Yarn Monster

For someone like me who is fairly project-oriented, likes to-do lists, and likes crossing things off, this whole child-rearing business often leaves me asking myself the question "what exactly did I do all day?" I use this blog to remind myself of what I do accomplish, at least in the creative department. So when I feel in a blog dry-spell it is easy to think that I haven't been up to much of anything besides the usual. Then today I took a look around at stacks of construction paper and art-work-covered walls and realized that I very much have been engaged in creative endeavors these last few weeks, and in the best possible way, because my kids (both of them!) are in making some huge strides in their own little artistic lives.

Amy has had the markers out every day, and of course William wants to do whatever she is doing, so I've be letting him draw as well. He's quite delighted with his scribbling and does so pretty competently for a one-year-old. He's also fascinated with taking the caps on and off, and when all that gets old, crumpling the paper or tasting the markers is always good fun too.

Though after a long day of self-expression there comes a point where he has to turn in his markers and go for the pinkie... an artist's life is tough.

Then there's Amy. Oh, my darling Amy, who vexed her mother for at least a year with her disinterest in coloring or any similar activity. Amy who fiddled and fidgeted and pretended crayons were people rather than draw with them. Amy, who now happily spends every morning at the kitchen table with her mother for "arts and crafts time" while William naps. My Amy finally can draw.

Oh, and she can also write her name, legibly and without prompting. And a few other letters, too. But back to the drawing. This yellow page below was probably the breakthrough moment for her. She has been OBSESSED with dogs lately. Lady and the Tramp gets a daily screening. We go to Petco a lot. She pretends to be a dog. She pretends we have dogs. She has her book of dog breeds pretty much memorized and she'll tell you exactly what breeds of dogs she wants to get "when we have a bigger house." And for the most part I'm pretty happy to indulge her obsession because it is closely tied with her new found love of drawing and coloring.

See all those dogs up there? (I drew the dogs) Well, each dog is sitting on its own grooming table, with a collar and a leash tied to the wall so they can't run away. Just like the grooming salon at Petco. She drew all those tables. And to the left of every table is another table with the grooming supplies: scissors, shampoo, claw trimmers. Of course.

Later that night I took William up for a bath while she wanted to stay downstairs to do more drawing. This is what she presented me with when she came upstairs:

Those are all "dogs in cages." Big ears and everything. I realize that these drawings are probably only remarkable to me, but the joy on her face when she showed me this one was the best. She's a perfectionist, and doesn't like to do anything unless she can do it well (I wonder where she gets that from). So until quite literally two weeks ago, she would not even attempt any kind of free-hand drawing, no matter how much I encouraged her. Then this dog business came along and I was busily drawing dogs and cages and leashes and Petco signs and all sorts of other paraphernalia for her when she finally wanted to try it herself. Now it has all clicked for her, and she's an unstoppable force of markers and construction paper.

Here's a rare departure from her dog genre. These are black-eyed-Susans (she came up with it, I swear), a blue sky, butterfly, and some pink clouds.

And here are two in her series, Owners with Their Dogs:

I really am so stinkin' proud of her. I desperately wish I had more talent for drawing, or more artistic education, or both, but nevertheless creating is something I value so highly in my own life that I really want my kids to at least feel free to give it a try in theirs.

I think we are, at last, off to a good start with that, and I am one happy Mama.

Oh, and I almost forgot! The Yarn Monster! I refuse to write another post about this dang afghan until it is finished, but had to update: I have finally turned the corner and am past the half-way point. Since it is worked on the diagonal those rows closest to the middle got soooo loonnng and I really lost my MO. But now I'm back at it with renewed enthusiasm. And restocked yarn. Hence the Yarn Monster. All I have to say is that I've had to buy an awful lot of yarn for the afghan that was supposed to be a stash buster. This thing is going to weigh 15 pounds by the time it's done. But I love it.

A few more quick things then I'll be done, I promise.

-A big Happy Third Anniversary shout out to my brother (who never updates his blog) and sister-in-law. Love you guys!
-I rarely link to other blogs because, well, we all know what is out there. But I just loved this piece today - one of my favorite bloggers guest-posting on my other favorite blog. And it pretty much sums up about how I feel about my life and my house these days.
-And lastly, stayed tuned for a garden update post sometime soon, with pictures by Miss Amy herself.

Okay, that's all I've got! Thanks for sticking with me on this one and indulging a mother's pride. Now I'm off to work on that monster...

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