Monday, August 1, 2011

Essayer

Earlier this summer Jesse came home from work and said, "This weekend I'm going to paint our table." We've had the table since we were married in 1999, so I think he wanted to do something a little different with it. 

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.

Then she started to paint.


Meanwhile, Jesse worked on the table.

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.
I love that she gives them all shoes.  And look at the hair.  It's all slightly raised and not touching the head.  The above picture is of our family.  Note that Hadley, Harper, and Daddy all have large eyes and Mommy has....well, where are my eyes? 

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.




10 comments:

Becky said...

I love that quote from Fahrenheit! I haven't read that book since college, and I don't remember that message. I'll have to reread it :)

Great post. I feel like I'm looking in a window at your daily life. That's a good thing!

SortaSuperMom said...

Great post, and I, too, love that quote. I actually wrote something akin to that in one of my posts, although I can't for the life of me remember which one. Gosh, I love mommy brain.
And I LOVE the drawings and the idea you gave your daughter for laying out a plan of action. Great idea mama!
Thanks for stopping by my blog- stop by anytime!
~SortaSuperMom
http:confessionsfromboystown.blogspot.com

Mink said...

holy crap your kids are geniuses!! come to colorado to let them rub off on my girls. maybe mine can't draw, but they'll teach your girls words like "wedgie" which is our latest giggle-producer.

Ang said...

It's so cute when kids start drawing their first "guys"! My daughter (2) draws all her people upside-down, ha!
--New follower! :-)

artistsroad said...

Callie, how lucky your daughter is to have a mom who encourages her early to engage her imagination through creativity. This is a beautiful post.

Jenny said...

wow! everyone is definitely leaving their mark! and the little people...so cool. will is not really into coloring. at all.

Kellee said...

Love the quote. I've just put a hold on the book at the library. Great post.

Valerie said...

So how come Hadley's mark on the world is a really cool painted dollhouse, and Joshua's mark is hundreds of dents in the coffee table? I remember how, before I had kids, I thought I would hate how screwed up my house got with marks, toys, dents, etc. It's funny how those little people worm their way into your heart and you really don't care about all that stuff.

Golden Butterflyz said...

Hello Callie! I am pleased to pass you the Blog on Fire Award ! Congrats to you! http://goldenbutterflyz.blogspot.com/2011/08/my-blog-is-on-fire.html

Miriam

Mommy LaDy Club said...

Yes, so true you just have to try! I think I've gotten much better at that with age. These projects look like they were a blast!