Friday, December 18, 2009

Fine Art
Guess who got a portrait paint set for her birthday?

Admission: I let the children make messes, but what may appear as utter chaos, near anarchy, is my own version of controlled chaos. No one get hurts and the mess can be easily rolled away in one fashion or another. This is evidence of my creative-liberal mothering and my semi-control-freak mothering. I will hide paints, playdough, glitter, glue, and 42,000 piece puzzle sets until I am ready to play.

Maria must know she has to make her move fast if she's gonna get her chance. She did not give me two seconds to shelve the new toy. She did not ask for help to pull off the cellophane, to break open the box. She found her own apron, and while I was gabbing on the phone distracted, she asked me to tie it on for her. She was a stealthy and dedicated anarchist.

She was deep in to her project before anyone noticed what she was in to.

Please Note: She was not alone. Geoff and William were equally immersed in their own project, at the very same dining table... only inches away from the artist. This proves that being in the room and being aware are two different kinds of supervision.

So this is about the point when I was called in. When frantic voices were rising up. When paint had hit the table and floor. Big glops of wet acrylic. Wasn't she clever to remember an apron? Didn't she do a good job setting up the easel and opening those little jars?

Disclaimer: No, that is not a faux pumpkin, leftover from two months ago, sitting next to Christmas presents. No. Who would do that? Please.

Ta da!
I slipped in some butcher-type paper under the easel. I wiped paint from the table, the floor, her extremities. I slipped in a few tips about painting with acrylics and letting the paint dry between layers... just a few basic suggestions. Obviously she didn't need too much advice.

Speculation: See the olive-green paint? The one at the edge of the table? Want to guess what happened? Technically no one knows the specific details of what happened, but we can make educated guesses, right? I am thinking that the little jar didn't merely tip and fall... I think it flew in a terrific arc, because the paint was not only on the carpet three feet behind her chair, but it also hit the ceiling, the wall. We never will know how it went down, because being in the room and being aware are two different kinds of supervision.

The self portrait is coming along. She's going to finish it tomorrow. Today her class is singing Holy Baby in the school pageant. Max's school break starts now, which is wonderful. I am very, very looking forward to having all of Team WAMMO in the house.

Priscilla, I am afraid that if I thank you for the birthday gift, you will think I am being disingenuous or trying to implicate you in a crime. It's not like that at all. We loved the secret mission style delivery. We loved the still warm from the oven brownie cake. And we love the paint set... every drop. Honest. So, thank you. Thank you. Let's get together soon and make some new kind of messes... whether it is fine art, or fun art, or fun-fine art. Or we could just eat more brownie cake.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All The Way to Christmas Day

All the way to Christmas day we go, we go, we go. Maria made up this song last Christmas, and she sang it from sunrise to sunset. She's brought back her favorite song and sings it joyfully, every day... sometimes in the dearest places, at the sweetest moments.

Maria is completely, whole heartedly enthused about the whole Christmas season. She loves the days at school and learning new carols, making gifts. She loves the glitter and the glue and the tape. She loves the letters that arrive with Christmas greetings, the music we play, the treats we've baked and the hum that stirs the air... something coming... Advent

I want to remember this forever... that she is so delighted and energized by anticipation and traditions, by the prospect of making crafts, cooking special foods, decorating our home, preparing for company. She puts hearts and cutout stars in our stockings. She write notes, wraps gifts, she shivers with the thrill of her own excitement. And she sings her song... all the way to Christmas day we go, we go, we go.

She is learning a new song, "Do You Hear What I Hear?" to be sung in Church next Sunday. Max learned the words, posted in the kitchen, and playing from the computer all day. Hopefully, tonight we will find the box with our crèche. We have symphony tickets and plans for a dinner out on the town with Tutu Ruth. My mom will be here and Grandma is coming from Pasadena. The tree is still undecorated, we are still unpacking. This and that are less than ideal, but still we have so many opportunities to take pleasure in this Christmas... and so, all the way to Christmas day we go, we go, we go.