Blank White Paper

(Warning: I just woke up and and reread this posting and it actually may really act like a self indulgent journal entry)

Yesterday I listened to a thief open the heavy squeaky wooden parents drawer of the family desk, removed what sounded like many sheets of

IMG_7258

artist: Jeff B. Davis

copy paper, and return to her bedroom, locking the door behind her. Shortly thereafter I heard the crunch of the stapler. She’d returned to get it too. Then with a few quick bouncy steps I heard a leap land and a slam of the door, too loud for such a sneaky thief. Clearing my throat I went to retrieve the last of the copy paper, it’s tax time in our house.

“You cannot take the last of the paper”…I began. “No. No! No!!” She said scowling at me while stuffing the papers into her rumpled bed. The stapler was trapped out of sight. “Give me those papers NOW please.” This continued until I agreed to let her have five sheets, because she’s five years old I reasoned to her. She agreed to return the last of the crumpled paper and the stapler even though she was certain five sheets was not enough for the book she was making, but it will have to do today. Geez lousie…

Call me a scrimper, but she does have her own wealth of property. Her alotted desk drawer is  deeper than mine and heavy with enticing colorful treasures: fairy princess coloring books, origami paper, construction paper, paper dolls, sticker pads, the pretty stationary she’d received from her aunt. I know this because she and I cleaned it out last month and she hugged every wonderful thing in her drawer. We cleaned and stacked  all the coloring books from largest to smallest, high-fived, shut the drawer, and she never opened it again because, I suppose, it doesn’t have any blank white paper.

We people, who have children we love, try to provide everything we can to help them grow healthy, happy, and to discover their potential.  So after this scenario I had to ask myself, am I distracting my child’s self motivation with my own collection of paper doll experiences, princess advertisements and cultural messages? My daughter prefers to draw her own lines and make up her own story lines rather than color inside someone else’s.  It’s just her way. I love this about her, though wonder why I keep adding items to a drawer that remains closed. What IS my motivation?  But really, what child would prefer a ream of copy paper for their birthday instead of one of those stunning coloring books and special painting markers?

On the other side of this thought is knowing that children must learn to color within the lines. It’s an important acknowledgement that we have to defer to our teachers (all types of them) and set aside our own own ideas in order to learn, grow, and (yes, let’s admit it) fit in. And the counter balance to that is providing them with a time to be open. So recently, I’ve agreed that when my children return home, there will be a time and space where they can go their own way. In our home I’ve found that this occurs best when the screens are turned off followed by a brief episode of wining and admitting “I’m bored…”. I give it 10 minutes, and the ideas sprout and grow rapidly. For my son and his three buddies, the backyard becomes a space battleship developed from sticks and a few foam noodles.

Children don’t need much to be happy. I know you’ve heard that so many times before. It’s plastered everywhere. But do we give too much to the point that it’s wasteful and distracting? Are we…am I, nurturing a need for immediate gratification when I pile the drawers with coloring books and markers and crayons of every color?

A child has shown me again that less is more, and that kids are often capable of greater things than we ourselves can imagine. So, this birthday:

  1. Ream of blank white paper
  2. Flintline stapler.
  3. Markers (maybe the glittery kind…maybe not)

Done. She’ll love it.

Hey I just started a new blog of family essays.

Yeah, gets hectic around here sometimes and while yoga and meditation just left me feeling like I wanted to meditate my way into the a warm bath with a cold glass of Pinot Gris every couple of hours, I did find that writing down some of our stories could be a more productive way to relieve the pressure. And some day me and the kids will get to look back on these stories and have a good old fashioned laugh about them.Image

check it out at: http://vanessajackydavis.wordpress.com/

Creative Glories of Hunting Through the Goodwill, or Goodwill Goodfuns

 

Edgar J. Helms a Methodist Minister and social innovator in Boston, Mass opened the first Goodwill in 1902. What a brilliant man he was. He invented my favorite kind of tool, a thing which has a complete cycle and serves everyone. From donation, to creating labor, to selling donation to fund the operation, to pay for labor, who generate donations, it’s a perfect revolution.

Wikipedia cites” In this pledge, Goodwill promises to fulfill the goals of success within each individual:

“We at Goodwill Industries will be satisfied only when every person in the global community has the opportunity to achieve his/her fullest potential as an individual and to participate and contribute fully in all aspects of a productive life.”

But all that History aside, we get to have fun with all the creative benefits, a store full of potentially fun things to recycle and use. A found objects paradise! And if your creative idea turns out to be uglier that Aunt Ra-Ra’s macrame plant hanger, then your not strapped for cash on your next project.

So here’s my latest Goodwill Goodfun, for my daughter who is needing a lamp in her bedroom:

One $ 2.00 Lamp Base + One $ 2.00 Dented Ivory Lamp Shade

and note this simple white lamp base with a clean classical shape would be beautiful in any decor, not just on goofy lamps. When shopping, don’t overlook simple designs.

 IMG_1388 IMG_1391

 

PLUS, 2 bags of 50 cent colored puff balls, (and I had the glue gun, they run about 5.00, new. I’d avoid buying them used…..)

Image

TAH-DAH!

Image

Here’s how it looks all it up! She loved it, and it cost 5 bucks. Yeah! Now we can afford that.  It’s not a style for everyone, but if your starving to do something creative, go peruse through your local Goodwill and see what magic you can find….

Image

(WARNING: You already know this, but if you should try this at home please use low wattage bulbs and large shades for safety)

STAY TUNED FOR THE NEXT INSTALLMENT OF GOODWILL GOODFUN

How to have a magical time with children for FREE

                                         “Think of how you played as a child.” I told myself this morning when my small daughter performed her daily ritual, begging me to play dolls with her. Inside of myself I grimaced, I don’t want to play dolls right now. Mommy needs to do laundry, water the garden, go to the grocery store. Maybe we could go buy her a new toy while we shop for dinner. I wanted to do something productive, not play pretend. So I dutifully reminded myself that pretend play with children is vitally important to downloading their thought and experiences and putting them into practice. And playing with children in the way THEY want to play is also the highest form of compliment you can offer a child. So, I put down my car keys and followed her into her room. She handed me a small naked doll and a dress to put on her, and suddenly I remembered, I did like playing with dolls, I’d just forgotten how I played as a child. I never played in my room, always took it outside.

To really embrace the moment with her, we had to engage in make believe together, so we took her dolls outside. They became faeries, and explored the garden, rode horseback on the dog, and saved a new thirsty plant. We’d become heroes.

 So this was one example, but every child and caretaker is unique. I remember one day last year my son desperately wanted me to play with his trucks and cranes.  Again the internal grimace, but then wait a minute, I liked making videos, so we made this crane story video and posted it to Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q6yYkfALCU

Silly, I know, but when you are trying to find a magical way to bond with kids, don’t forget yourself. Find a way to connect your ingenuity with theirs. Life with children doesn’t have to be the same monotonous swing. Look inside yourself. What of yourself can you contribute to the game?

Remember: children aren’t the only ones with magical abilities; adults can add the magic to the monotony.