Sunday, January 10, 2010

My dirty little secret...




...is that though I teach these art classes for children, my own children absolutely hate art (I'm sure hate is a strong word, but they are positively not fans). And according to the book Young at Art, on which I base my art class for toddlers, this is simply not supposed to happen, or, I should say, it's simply not mentioned because if you present your child with all these great art experiences it will most definitely not happen, but here I was dead set on having artistic young children and they would more often than not tear up the paper, dump out the paint, dance on the table, and run away. OK, truthfully, that was mainly Jack. Bruno painted happily for a few years there until suddenly he became an utterly pugnacious three year old and started to turn his nose up at it all, too. Ah, parenting, always so full of surprises. I was a devoted artiste and maker of things when I was a little kid. I'm sure I probably sat happily absorbed cutting and gluing and drawing away for as long as they'd let me. I was my own dream child. I was SO looking forward to doing this with my children. It's actually kind of heart wrenching. Sometimes I meet a kid (er, you know I want to say 'a little girl' but I'm trying so hard not to) who just has the crafty glimmer in her eyes. She/He's got an attention span the size of this great state of Texas and is just champing at the bit to get happily absorbed in some wonderful big art project. When I meet that kid I have to admit my heart does a little 360 in my chest. I thought I would have a kid like that, I wanted to marvel over their hilarious and beautiful pictures and books they would make me, and paper dolls and comic books... but no. No no no no no. I have these little boys who don't want to do any of that... they just have to immediately climb everything in sight, touch everything in sight and take it apart or drop it or throw it, or kick it, crawl behind couches and open drawers and go behind counters where you're not supposed to go at stores and just push every boundary in sight because they're really just explorers and ultra curious but oy it's hard to appreciate sometimes. But appreciate it I do, and I know I wouldn't have appreciated it or understood if I'd have had a quiet artistic little soul first off. I'd have been the one looking at the parents with the rowdy boys wondering what kind of awful parenting they'd been doing to have turned out such ruffians. I've learned so much from having these awesome energetic little men and appreciate so much, at least sometimes, their own unique attributes instead of dwelling overly on the proclivities I hold most dear.

And so, of course, what do the unpredictable little fellas do once I've accepted them for who they are and given up my fantasy of kid poetry and murals and fish prints? They make me some awesome art, of course. I found a fresh set of those wonderful scented markers at a thrift store this week... I had them as a kid, maybe some of you all did too? Purple smells like grapes, red smells like cherries, you get the picture... I loved those markers so much when I was a kid and everything about them was a flashback, the packaging, the wonderfully artificial smells that I found SO heavenly... anyway, I gave them to my kids and by gum if they didn't make me some real art! I was so excited I had to restrain myself from making TOO much of a fuss, just play it cool, don't want them to be on to me that I want this behavior to continue or you know how it goes. Jack's picture started out with some fruit hanging from a branch and some birds flying past. He kicked it up a notch and added a shark and a tidal wave. One bird is crying out, "Shark!" The next is crying out, "Tidal wave!" And the last is screaming in fear, "Fruit!" Bruno's is a rainbow, which he was excited about, but it was really the picture on the back that I liked so much more... he said it was the Tomten's footprints.
So now maybe those two will throw me a bone occasionally and make their poor mama a drawing every now and then... and of course I have my dear little daughter growing up at the back of the pack... and I do have my fingers crossed for that one, I do I do... she really does love to draw, she LOVES to paint... I'm SO glad I've learned all that I've learned, but please, just one little crafty child, universe? That's not too much to ask, is it? Pretty please? We'll make you a tie-dyed bandana...


4 comments:

Kitten Muffin said...

I have a couple of kids that come over to our place and aren't much into the art making. One lad really got switched on to the trucks that we made with bottle top wheels and straw/bbq skewer axles though. He spend ages decorating his truck, which completely surprised me. Maybe your lads would go for a more 3D/action related art attack?

I hope they do make you more drawings. Those ones are so awesome and kid drawings rock so hard! I love em!

As for the ninja kids and climbing all over everything, wow lady, I'm glad it's not just my kids. My older daughter might look like a quiet contemplative sweetheart when she's being arty, but oh my, she has some serious evil knieval genes in her! I'm just waiting patiently for the first plaster cast to be required, and hoping that it won't be a big one.

Nicole B. said...

i emphathized with this post. recently, a love of drawing has been sparked by my husband's interest in introducing star wars...which has led my son to drawing tie fighters....which must then BE.DESTROYED. oy indeed.

Kami said...

KM, I totally saw that project on your blog and plan on doing it at some point... it looks fantastic! I have so many projects of yours marked to try I have no ideas how I'll ever get through them all, but I'll try my dangdest! My kids do do better with kind of action art... splatter painting or painting with shaving cream, stuff like that.
Knock wood but my little guys haven't had any major injuries yet... maybe your little Evel won't either... I tend to think that kids who are allowed to explore the limits of what they're bodies can do actually make better choices and are less inclined to hurt themselves.... maybe....? Of course then there is the dare devil aspect so that might blow all that out the window....
by the way, loved that sassy robot drawing by your daughter... see, THAT's what I'm talkin' about!

Kami said...

Nicole, I know!! That is something that they do, too... they're finally making some art, and then it turns out that the second step for them after creating it is total destruction. Oh well, I guess it's the process that matters, not the product.... sigh...