Monday, May 25, 2009

How could I forget?

The critic in me says, "But his left arm is too short in proportion
to his body and the kink in that right leg is unrealistic..."
Slap her for me, will you?

Sometimes, I think it's just too easy these days to lay your hands on things to do for kids, thanks to the internet.

For instance, I am one to search for images of the LGBB's fave characters of the moment (right now, she has a soft spot for Elmo, Shaun the sheep - and who doesn't, I'd like to know! - Charlie and Lola and she doesn't mind a bit of Wubzy either). Then I print them out so she can colour them in.

Lately, I've stopped doing it because, well, there's nothing really fun about seeing your child not really enjoy the print-outs, grab a coloured pencil, do a few strokes and tell you they've "finished".

Last night, I was doodling with a piece of paper and a pen while the LGBB was having a late meal-for-one (we got home late so I made her up a plate of little toddler finger foods and she devoured it - God, she's a sucker for anything out of the ordinary, I could give her the same sandwhich she's been refusing but if I make it with a teddy bear cutter... she's putty in my hands). So I sat with her and thought I'd just do some absent-minded drawing to keep her company and amused, keeping that changeable toddler mood swing at bay as long as I could.

Her glass was there next to her. It had Elmo on it. I found myself just deciding to draw him freehand, copying what was on her glass. And oh my God, if I didn't have an absolute ball despite myself! This was far more fun. For both of us (the LGBB and me, not me and Elmo). She squealed with delight as he came to life on the paper. And I have to say, I was pretty chuffed with the enormous hugs of appreciation I got from her, before I'd even coloured him in while she sat there eating.

I used to draw all the time. In school, my curriculum was made up of arts subjects. Art and English, they were my "thing" and I'd blitz them with straight A's consistently throughout the years at high school. So why did I stop drawing? I think it happened when I became so aware of the amount of time I had to myself, while we were trying to start a family. It was like this constant, ugly reminder - that I had all this time to create stuff.

In actual fact, it was probably the best thing I could have done - "escaping" into my art and drawings. If only I had done it more often, who knows? Who knows what could have happened? For me, there is such healing to be had through using my hands to create something and put effort into. It is also a rare opportunity to tune out the rest of the world, for you cannot talk on the phone while you do it, you can't chat online or surf the net when you're concentrating on a piece of art - no matter if it's a huge canvass or a little slip of paper with a doodle of Elmo on it. It forces me to zone out and tune in at the same time. And I forgot just how much I find it incredibly uplifting. I avoid doing it. For all the wrong reasons - "I don't have enough time", "I can't be bothered getting everything out and cleaning up again once I'm finished (if I'm painting)", "I don't want to attempt something that doesn't turn out how I want it, I haven't got room in my head to berate myself for things my critical eye will undoubtably pick up"... blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, I am so pleased I have something I can impress the LGBB with. I admit it. I want my child to be happy with me. I spend so many hours of the week feeling like a spitting lioness, growling at her. It's like a rebalance of the not-so-harmonious times we have together week after week - hey, any of you reading who have young children (especially an only child, for siblings are wonderful distractions from the mundane, I'll bet - albeit with their own brand of bringing the house into banshee-levels of shouting sometimes, of course) will surely know it can be so difficult when their voracious minds are devouring activities a mile a minute.

But in this outlet, we can be connected. Who says the kids have to have all the fun drawing and colouring in?! I must remember that a simple little drawing, like Elmo, can nurture, defrag and fill both of us up.

Ready for the next round....

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