We've been back from our holiday in Melbourne for a week or so now and have settled in to a nice home groove of quiet sunny days, picnics, scooter rides, home made ice cream, drawing, listening to some new music, building train tracks, making cubbies and constructing things with sticks and bricks in the back yard.
The kids have been drawing side-by-side.
This has been a fantastic strategy to get Oesch mark-making a little more. He's really much more attracted to constructing things with blocks than putting crayon to the page, but when he does draw, those vigorous, colour-drenched pictures make this mama ridiculously happy :)
And Doots has been drawing in a regular session we have dubbed the half hour drawing challenge.
I'd noticed that after kinder finished for the year Doots' urge to draw dropped off quite a bit. Actually I noticed the same thing last summer, and perhaps there's a seasonal element at play. It makes sense that when the weather's warm, we're drawn to outdoor elements and materials. Paper and pencil is overshadowed for a while by the appeal of water, sunshine, leaves, sand, pebbles, flowers.
|Grass, inspired by The Story of the Root Children by Sybille von Olfers|
So at those times when she'd usually draw, like in the afternoon or while waiting for dinner, I thought I'd give her a random topic to give her a little focus. Just a little nudge for her imagination.
|A ladybird family are going shopping|
As a designer, I often relied on the constraints inherent within a brief to initiate form, so it was interesting to see Doots' eyes light up when I named the topic, and then watch her set to work, busily drawing and telling elaborate stories to go with each picture.
|Santa in his sleigh on Christmas eve|
We're keeping a dedicated visual diary for these drawings. None of the pictures are really finished, but she hasn't felt the urge to go back and finish the colouring once the half an hour has expired. It's like, they are what the are, and she's quite proud of each one.
|Dog riding a bike|
When she looks through them and reflects on each one, the elaborate stories are retold and the smile on her face speaks of the pleasure of the process of making each picture/story. Beautiful.
Here's a sketch I did of her, while she sat opposite me drawing her Santa picture and listening to music with her headphones. Making time for drawing is always on my list of things to do, but I never quite get around to it. So I'm grabbing this opportunity to draw together with my kids and really enjoying it.
|My little brother on his first day of pre-school|
And today, we took some pastels to a cafe and drew pictures of our not-quite 3 year old Oesch at his first morning of pre-school. We talked about what he'd be playing with and the new friends he'd be making.
|My big boy playing with lego at pre-school|
I do have a niggling problem though. Today, drawing our Oesch pictures at the cafe, Doots stated "yours is better than mine, Mum".
Ouch. We talked about how they are both good, but different, how it's not a competition, I explained that I've had a bit more time to practice than she has, that what is important is that we do our best...
But I'm thinking in future we'll stick to our own ideas rather than drawing the same thing.
And as for the little guy and his first time away from the family, I was so anxious that I barely slept last night, but I really shouldn't have worried.
We kissed him and said goodbye - he cuddled us and said goodbye. Doots and I picked him up after an hour and he was sitting with some other little boys eating morning tea. It was as though he'd always been there.
The educator described him as very mature, confident and enthusiastic. He loved it, and can't wait to go back.
Oh, sweet, sweet relief.
Happy 2012 to you and your loved ones. Wishing you some joyful new beginnings too!
5/3/13 - Hi everyone, thanks all for your thoughtful comments, and for checking in on me. I'm not blogging anymore. I really miss aspects of blogging - the community of my blog (that's you!) and the time for reflection that putting a post together offered. Maybe I'll come back to it one day. I'm closing comments on this post in an attempt to stop the daily, annoying spam comments landing in my inbox.