Thursday, September 13, 2007

a little girl in pigtails

yes, the day has arrived: she is wearing her hair up in pigtails. i had noticed that her hair was getting to be quite a mullet, but she is still a haircut virgin so i didn't want to flippantly cut off the back. besides, cutting off the back won't make the sides longer, will it. then she will have short hair all around. at least she has a little long hair! and i finally figured out how to make the mullet look great: put the back in pigtails! oooooooooh it is to die for. tiny short little pigtails that stick pretty much straight out of the back of her head. i have to get her to hold still for the installation process, though, which can be a challenge. but she's been pretty good so far. i just tell her, "you are going to look so cute! almost done! ok, go look at bookie in the mirror! cute!" and she says "cute!" and runs to see the effect in the mirror. i have to work on emphasizing other qualities besides cuteness, though. i hate it when kids are cute and they know it. it ruins their cuteness altogether. what was that passage in the bible about your cuteness not coming from the wearing of braids or pigtails... her inner cuteness must shine forth!

i am extremely interested in her artistic development lately. i read a great book from goleta library called "young at art," and in it i learned an immense amount of surprising information about how to assist the young artist in the best way to develop their artistic expression. for example, i didn't know that it is harmful to their a.d. (artistic development) if you draw on their paper, draw cute pictures for them, or try to show them "how" to draw. i didn't know that it is detrimental to try to relate their drawings to real objects, like: that looks like a whale! or even to say "what is it?" apparently, if it's just a scribble then it's just a scribble and parents should leave it at that. it is not even recommended to say "i like that," or "that's pretty," because this puts subjective values onto the child's personal artistic expression. it is better to simply describe the physical quality of the work they are doing, such as "that is a long, crooked line." or, "i see you made some thin straight lines!" HOW important all these little things are i'm not exactly sure, but i want to stick to them as much as possible, just in case she is meant to be a great artist. evidently kids need to be allowed to free-scribble in big sheets of paper for about 3 years or so before they begin to even make shapes, and then it varies as to when they come upon the idea to draw a human. these milestones should NOT be pushed. apparently the child's mind stays a lot more free and creative if caregivers allow the progression to happen naturally. eventually the toddler will draw what is known as a "mandela" shape, which involves either a circle with lines sticking out of it, or a ladder-type structure. it is the child's first attempt at organization of lines, basically. from this the natural step to the human depiction. this is exactly why toddler pictures of people don't have separate heads and torsos. their human figures are derived from the mandela shape, and they simply add eyes and mouth, and the lines sticking out become of course, limbs.

at any rate, all that to say that i went overboard on this month's budget because i couldn't resist buying sparrow a big newsprint pad at michaels and the cheap one-dollar markers as well. these are skinny little affairs which are not as easily "washable" as expected, and look not that great on big pieces of newsprint. however, sparrow certainly loves them. i try to limit her colors per art session, but she knows there is a whole pack of all the colors and insists on having the rest also. i let her because i think it is better that she is having a good art experience that interests her (even if it's just playing with markers) than doing all the projects and book-suggestions word for word. i have an "art blanket" that i put down every time i let her draw, as a sort of a drop cloth to protect the floor. i have been teling her since the beginning that the crayons and markers have to stay "on the blanket!" when she forgets and walks off the blanket holding a marker, i always say " this has to stay on the blanket!" and toss the marker back onto the cloth. haha, well--she caught on to that one really quick. now whenever i tell her, "this has to stay on the blanket!" she thinks it is her duty to throw the marker away from her, instead of just putting it back on the blanket. she thinks the object is to throw the crayon, not where the crayon lands. pretty funny. the blanket is also spattered with some paint that i have let her use before. a few weeks ago she was wandering on the cloth, pointing out all the paint drips and saying, "art!" but like an english person: "aahht!" she sounds a bit british when she asks for water, too, and it is soooooooo sweet!

she has started saying her first short phrases: "bye bye daddy," and "alan--sleeping!" as well as "all gone fishies!" when she is done with her gold fish. i notice, too, that she retains information for quite some time as she remembers something that occurred previously. there is a huge wolf spider, for example, that sits in the passageway downstairs at our apt. complex quite often. we have pointed it out to her a few times when it has been there. today, as we were walking through the passageway, she said, "spider!" another spider illustration, from tonight: i was changing her diaper when i noticed a sort of menacing-looking spider come out from a cranny somewhere, beelining straight for her head. i picked her up and tried to be calm as i said, "we've gotta take care of that spider, sparrow, come up here and mama will get it." i looked around me and found one of her changing pads lying nearby. "ok, now we just have to aim, and--squish it! then squeeze!" and the thing crunched under the changing pad. having no immediate way to dispose of it, i laid the changing pad next to the rocking chair, smushed spider-side up. "ok, all gone spider! good job." a few mins. later as i was trying to read her a book, she was still squirming in the rocking chair, trying to see the spider and sayin "by-dou! by-dou!" so i pointed out where it was on the floor, and said, "all gone, spider! bye bye! spider is sleeping!" a full 20 mins. later, while she was already on her bed, thomas came in, and the 1st thing sparrow did was try to tell him the spider story. she eagerly told him, "by-dou! all gone!" over a few times, til o told him she was trying to tell him a story, and filled in the gaps for her. i was also quite impressed yesterday because she proved to remember certain people associated with certain other people. we were going over to the lomelino's to return something. i told her, "we're going to go see samuel!" and then kept asking her at random intervals who we were going to so see. she accurately would say, "myu-myu!" (samuel) but then i asked her when we were almost there, and she said, "hope!" wow! so surprised! she remembered without me mentioning it, that hope lives there too! amazing.

she has started walking around on her tippy toes the past 2 days. who taught her that? anyways, it's pretty fun to see her do that. as if she's a real, normal person or something!

tonight i thought she was brilliant because she turned her book upside down to properly see the picture of the boy doing a flip into the water. the boy is pictured upside down in mid-air. she deliberately turned her book all the way around, stared at the boy for awhile in this position, and flipped it back right-side up again to continue to read.

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