"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Learning Art Failure

We are trapped indoors. There is a chill, dull rain pelting down and the wind is roaring over the top of our hill, dropping limbs, tipping over the rose trellis and driving all six of our poor hens to huddle damply in a clump in their coop. The boys aren't really trapped, truth be told...just me. I sit indoors and keep the washer and dryer going, towels at the ready, tea on tap while the boys play war in raging drizzle. Nothing like bone chilling cold, brisk wind and sideways rain to make you feel like playing survival, making knives out of sticks and living on a perpetual hunted march. I hang damp hoodies and jackets up, peel wet socks off and re-mop the muddy kitchen tile. We skipped math homework today. There was too much war. Its hard for me to interrupt their imaginative play, especially when they are all playing happily. We'll do double math tomorrow to make up for it. I promise.

Today we did manage to get some art time in. Wednesday is our art day. We are studying one artist at a time, learning a little art history (we just finished Matisse) and trying out the techniques of the greats. Today I painted a nature journal still-life of three bumblebees I found in the basement. I balanced Baby Pom on my lap and we spread watercolors and brushes and papers with dripping art all over the table. It makes me really happy to see how much the boys love to dabble in creating.

Dee is a perfectionist extreme and although excited to dabble and very pleased when something comes out the right way he really falls to sobbing pieces when he can't paint something the way he meant to. We all get that feeling. I am stumbling over teaching him to accept his flaws, love the process and figure out how to let go of the perfect result. I have some ideas: let him see me be artistically reckless and mess stuff up.

But his own inner criticism is so strong. I'm not sure how to soften his feelings, allow to be unhappy with his creation and be honest about his reaction but not be swept under by it. Raising boys is tricky. I want feelers so bad but I see the danger of allowing them to be ragers or pouty depressives whenever the spirit moves. Anyone have any tips about how to walk these mommy lines?

I keep drinking more tea and holding him when he cries and trying to understand and manage his angry. I do the same things for myself with just as reliable a result. Sometimes tea and a little self hug will do the trick and sometimes I cry and rage until I can't sleep at night. This is the real trick about parenthood, right? Teaching your children things that you can see they need to know....but you never really learned yourself. Physician heal thyself. The good news is that, at least some small percentage of the time, living childhood next to your kids for the second time does teach you things you never really got and gives you chances upon chances at things you never realized you totally missed the first time around. I love being a grown-up.

1 comment:

  1. Yes. And being a grandma means trying to give helpful advice on subjects you failed as a parent, such as how to discipline in a way that achieves the results you want...But, anyway...Gid always reminds me of Stephen, who was an uncontrollable and inconsolable perfectionist at that age. He's downstairs now practicing to lead worship for his church tonight. He's one of the most composed, gentle-spirited, peaceful men I know. Totally a work of grace, but God can do it again!!