I knew that once Hadley saw what he was doing she would want to help. She'd been wanting to paint her wooden dollhouse for awhile, so just as she was beginning to ask Jesse what he was doing and did he need any help, I set up paints, the house, and a bunch of newspaper.
I encouraged her to plan out how she wanted to paint the house before she dipped her paintbrushes in the paint. Hadley likes to mix all the colors thus creating black. This would be fine except I knew she would be upset and not want to play with the house after it was finished. Although, I could've stored it away and brought it out for Halloween.
Hadley agreed to make a plan of how she would paint the house. I was pleased to have the opportunity to teach my children the importance of a well laid out plan.
I kept thinking of the end of the book Fahrenheit 451 when Granger and Montag are reflecting on their part in the world. Granger says, "Everyone must leave something behind when he dies....A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched....It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away."
I love that everyone in our little family leaves their mark around the house and on each other so that we are a little bit more like the other.
I love that now that Hadley painted the dollhouse she plays with it more and the stories she makes up when she's playing with it are so much more detailed and (pardon the pun) colorful.
I love that after a week away I came home and saw the table and said, "Oh yeah!" with a smile, forgetting what it looked like and pleased at how nice it looked in the playroom.
Harper's been creating, too. She's begun making "guys" and oh, do I love them.
Here's the artist at work.
This is a picture of Hadley working on shape puzzles early in the morning. She studies a picture like an apple, or school bus on a worksheet then tries to duplicate it using magnets in the shape of triangles, squares, etc. While she was working, I was reading my book for the Creative Nonfiction class I'm taking. Hadley likes to be wherever the other family members are. She doesn't necessarily have to be talking to them, but she likes to be near them. So I sat on the kitchen floor and read while she worked on her shape puzzles.
I learned in this lesson that "essay" comes from the French verb essayer, which means to try. I highlighted the following words written by my teacher, Lindsey Crittenden: "An essay is an attempt, a trial...essays 'figure out'.....A successful essay doesn't need to answer the question it poses - but it does need to address and explore it."
I hope everyone in our family understands the thrill and the peace that comes with trying, with exploring. I hope that each time we come back to a favorite toy, a piece of furniture, or a piece of writing we're working on that we find something new we hadn't seen before. Maybe a different way to play with it, or that a table looks lovely next to a certain window. Or maybe the next time we try to draw our "guys" we'll add fingers or perhaps a hat.
Whatever it is, it's wonderful to be able to see a thing that's more like you after you've taken your hands away.