Monday, January 30, 2012

Mom, Can You Make Legs for the Dolphin to Dance?

A while ago, I ran into my art teacher from high school.

"Are you still doing art?" Ted asked.

"Just marker drawings with my kids." I said, as if that didn't count.

"That's all I wanted to know, that my students are still doing art."

The kids' interest in clay has rekindled their parents' artistic creativity.  We sit down and sculpt things for them.    It took a bit of a push for both of us to sit down and get past the creativity block that we somehow built of dirty diapers, status reports, and grocery bags.  Art is a luxury in that time to make it and think about it can only be done when you're not busy bleakly surviving and keeping the kids alive.  It's a good thing the kids push us to take the time to focus on creativity and that we listen to them and play with them instead of pushing them away.

I brought home a bucket of 50 different shades colored clay yesterday.  Nala began squishing all the colors together into a giant ball.

"Nala, if you mix all the colors together then you wont have the one color you need to make something."

"But mama, I'm making the ocean."

That shut me up.  How could I stop her from building a beautiful coral reef.

I have a friend with lots of kid toys at her house and she takes much care to keep everything organized and perfect.  So much so that when Nala was playing with a pint size bin of little tiny soldiers my friend suggested only playing with one at a time, so as not to loose any.

Those are the types of things, I never think about.

My sister in law still has all her childhood toys in perfect condition.  Like, she has a bin with a dozen vintage Polly Pokets, including all the little polly figures and pets.  It's worth a couple hundred dollars if she were to sell on ebay.

She's generously gifted us a few toys.  Relics that have survived a generation of playing get obliterated at our house.  She knows that.  My kids marker all over dolls, drip paint all over trains, stuff colored clay in the mouths of figurines.  Toys are welled loved over here and I have no hope of ever selling anything on ebay.

Nala's favorite toy at the moment is a little pink dragon: a used dog toy with the stuffing ripped out and squeaker broken.  She loves her, sleeps with her at night and takes her to preschool. This ragged dragon won out over every fancy doll or stuffed animal she's ever been given.

Kaio's current comfort creature is the red angry bird. Some days he'll make one out of legos, last night clay was his medium.  He took it to bed and slept with him carefully nesting next to his pillow.

Nala doesn't sleep in a bed, she sleeps in a "nest."  A collection of blankets, toys, and pillows encircling her on the top bunk.

So that's us.  Living in imagination, defying the rules on how toys should be played with.

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