After lunch both Monday and yesterday, I cleared the table and brought out a stack of drawing paper and our best crayons, and something magical happened. This was a notion inspired by a passage in Amanda Soule’s book, The Creative Family, about how in her home they have a regular “family drawing time.” That made me realize it had been a long, long time since the girls and I all sat down to draw together. We used to do this regularly, but you know: babies come along and the household rhythm changes.
I remember long, long ago on the CCM list, Leonie wrote about how whenever she would sit down with her watercolor pencils and nature journal, her boys would flock to the table clamoring for their own journals. There was no better, faster way to get her kids interested in an activity than in doing it herself. I had tiny little girls then, and I took Leonie’s wisdom to heart. If I draw it/knit it/bake it/sculpt it, they will come. Far better than saying “Why don’t you…(do this cool activity)” is simply to become engaged in it myself. It’s like strewing your own self.
So I sat down at the table and whoosh, I was a child magnet. For the next hour, all five kids were happily drawing pictures with me. No bickering, not even over the blue block crayon that makes the best sky! Amazing. We put on the Elgar cello concerto and Rose decreed that the perfect music to draw to. I didn’t know what to draw, so I (clumsily) illustrated a scene from a story we’d read before lunch. They really liked my depiction of the wind tangled in a treetop (from Medio Pollito, the Half Chick). Beanie started to draw a fox and decided it looked like a cave painting, so she embellished with a deer and a python and torches on the cave walls. Rose drew a rose-covered garden gate, so lovely, and Jane’s snail among flowers was quite charming. Wonderboy and Rilla filled up pages of scribbles.
Yesterday they all (save Jane, who saw a chance to slip away with the new Penderwicks book, and who can blame her?) wanted a repeat performance. “We should do this every day,” declared Rose. I quite agree.
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Singing my song