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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Always Art

Sure I may have a degree in psychology and an official job title of "Mom" but my passion has been the same since I started doodling in the third grade. I have always loved any kind of art.

Actually, I have a story to tell that no one knows. It all began in Mrs. Key's homeroom in third grade. We were assigned seats alphabetically so the teacher could learn our names at the beginning of the year. Between my friend Leslie and I sat a boy named Kevin. He was a pretty smooth little kid and was always trying to do things to impress us. One day, after I told him I liked the Garfield comic strip because of how cute the characters were drawn, he drew me a picture of Garfield. I don't think I had experienced true envy until then. I couldn't believe he'd been able to recreate something just by looking at it. I immediately got a piece of paper and tried to do the same. It looked terrible but Kevin was stunned. He confessed he had traced Garfield several times until he had the pencil strokes memorized enough to doodle it. I had looked at it and then drawn it free-hand. (Albeit my doodle looked like Garfield mangled & dead on the roadside...) Determined to learn, I began doodling all over any paper I was given. By the fourth grade I'd come up with some of my own characters and when the columns of my spiral notebook were full, my friends begged me to draw on their paper. When I was 9 my dad bought the family a brand new computer for Christmas that was for us kids to use. My brother busied himself trying to hack into the tetris game my mom had installed and then hidden because she didn't allow video games (for anyone but herself! LOL!). I found MS Paint and started playing. The day after Christmas I had made a "Happy Holidays" sign and figured out how to hit "preview" so it would cover the whole screen, kind of like a frozen screen saver. When I showed my dad he about dropped his soda and called my mom in to see. From then on I had a desk in my room stocked with drawing tablets, colored pencils and basic art supplies. By high school I was certain I would be sued by Disney for being able to draw nearly all of their animated characters and in college I discovered Photoshop. Five years later I can hardly go a day without creating something in photoshop and I am now teaching myself how to use a second Adobe software: Illustrator.

Brian has been more than supportive, allowing significant space for my art supplies and building additional shelves in the top of closets or taking me back to Ikea when I need more storage. I absolutely love art! Maybe one day I'll make him rich. It's the least I could do after all the years of finding beads in the carpet and him having to endure a constant stream of on-going projects cluttering at least one flat surface in the house. And while I never want to push Aiden to do anything he doesn't want, there is a reason that a canvas bin of kid-friendly art supplies is kept on the shelf just above his toys within his curious reach. I know what I am risking and I would gladly re-paint crayon-covered walls (and then re-cover them with chalkboard paint) to ensure he has access to art. I haven't told Brian but when he's older, I also want to provide him with tools, wood, nails and string so he can make his own fun things. Art & imaginative play. I can't think of any better way to spend childhood!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I need a distraction...

To see if my creative juices will get going again. I was on a roll and then Aiden refused to nap - LOUDLY - and *poof* the creative spark was gone. We'll see if writing on my blog brings it back!

I'm still working on getting through my Playful Parenting book. It's been good, right up there with Redirecting Children's Behavior. I like that this author gives lots of examples. Sometimes I feel like I know what the outcome should be but I don't know what action to take. For example, if your child cusses, Lawrence instructs readers to say in a calm, playful tone "You can say that word all you want but if you say Bogglildyboop, you're in BIG trouble!" Kids will ALWAYS shout "bogglildyboop" and then you can scoop them up & cuddle or start play wrestling - anything. He says he knows most parents would argue that doesn't address the cussing "problem" but he insists that young children only use bad words to get a parent's attention. The next time they want to drop a verbal bomb, it will be a playfully-said "bogglildyboop" because THAT was the word that got them all the positive attention last time and it is now a fun cue they can use to "ask" for your attention. Nothing happened when they said the cuss word so that drops out of their bag of tricks IF you never react to it. ;)

Which brings me to my next Aiden story.....

CRAP. I have brought all use of the "undesireable" phrases to a screeching hault except for the word crap. It flies out of my mouth and I didn't realize I was saying it. Until I started hearing it echoed! Luckily Aiden cannot pronounce p's so his "crap" sounds identical to "car" (caah) except for the r sound he's learning to slip in (crahh). After a slip-up, and an echo, I usually say "CAR! Yay!" and show him a car. He doesn't seem to be fooled - I hear him in his playroom practicing dropping things, saying "Uh, oh" followed by a short, frustrated "crahh" that sounds exactly like mine. Great.

I have decided it's just easier to change my verbal habits than worry about Aiden using profanity at 15 months. So if you see me drop something and mutter "car", you'll know why!

For the Grandmas: Rest assured crap isn't Aiden's only new word. He shouts out something new every day. Today it is "boat", clear as a bell. Before that it was "water". His signing is getting more reliable, too. He'll sign "hungry" if you say snack, lunch, hungry, food, dinner, breakfast - anything. It's nice to ask him and get a response. Except that his sign for hungry has progressed to a long drawn out "ahhhhh" as he pats his hand over his mouth, making the native american war cry we all learned how to do in Kindergarten. He's hilarious!

Oh, speaking of hilarious, he's learned to point to eyes and noses. Unfortunately he hasn't distinguished between I and eye. So I'll be saying "Aiden, I can't let you run into the street" and he'll proptly poke me in the eye, with a smile big as Texas, waiting for me to celebrate that he correctly located that part of my face. Thanks kiddo! Less problematic is the knows vs. nose confusion. "Aiden, Major knows that's your toy and he won't take it from you. Find his bone." Aiden turns, smiling with his finger half up his nose, and turns back to continue trying to hand the peek-a-block to the dog. LOL!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Double Trouble

Brian's cousins, Melissa & Zach Gleason, moved to Houston this weekend and they brought Aunt LeeAnn and Melissa's sisters with them! Us gals had entirely too much fun! Aiden got to play with his second cousins Ruthie (2 and a half) and Lily (4 months) for the first time.

Everyone knows Aiden is a "busy" boy so when I heard that Ruthie was a bit of a handful I was quite excited for someone to wear our little man out! When we first got to the house, Ruthie was playing upstairs on her new Ikea table with some new Ikea baby food dishes. When Aiden grabbed for a bowl and spoon, he promptly got his first lesson in table manners. He stood dumbfounded and let Ruthie instruct him about which items he wasn't allowed to touch (all of them) and that he should sit. NOW. To my surprise, he sat, still watching her intently and waiting for her next instruction. Then he spied her plastic shopping cart.

Aiden is really into anything with wheels. He loves cars and to push things. He couldn't resist the shopping cart....full of Ruthie's brand new dishes. She let out a protest as he sped off with her cart and I split up the first fight of the weekend about 90 seconds after they had met.

I found myself giggling about what good "training" this would be for Aiden, who doesn't have any older siblings. He got some practice in "sharing" (read: remaining calm when items were pried from his hands) and learned that mom & dad are more apt to give hugs and take pictures than to win his battles for him. He got to see how older children do NOT throw their food on the floor and he finally learned to climb down stairs safely. Well, without any major falls any ways.

It was a fun weekend full of laughs (see: Aunt LeeAnn in town) and Brian and I both remembered how much we miss having his family close. We're excited Zach & Melissa are less than an hour away.

So let's get to the pictures!

Here is Aiden on the drive out to their house watching "caahs" out the window

Being cute...

And showing off a few light elbow bruises from all the times he went up & down the stairs. He didn't fall, he just practiced THAT MUCH! (The bruise on his forehead was my fault - he bonked his head on the wall trying to fight me off while I took his shoes off. Or wiped his face or some other totally inappropriate mommy activity....LOL!)

Rub-A-Dub-Dub two cousins in the tub!

And Aiden must need a rinse...

They enjoyed a bath together on Saturday night and luckily there were no anatomy questions. We dressed Aiden in pajamas for the ride home afterwards.

Aiden & Ruthie Story: We brought the pack & play so Aiden could sleep yesterday afternoon. He had fallen madly in love with Ruthie's bald Cabbage Patch baby and was content to cuddle it and his blanket for his nap. (She didn't mind, she went down for a nap at the same time.) A little while later - maybe 20 minutes - we heard a commotion up stairs, someone shouted "RUTHIE!" and then we heard Ruthie's little feet scampering across the floor as fast as she could run to her room. Bekah brought Aiden downstairs. He had been awoken from his nap by a little lotion finger painting on his face. Cousins! LOL! I couldn't resist a picture! He had the softest skin and smelled divine all evening!