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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Move Over Mr. Spielberg

I’m all for kids being creative. In theory and in reality, too - most of the time.

In earlier blogs, you’ll find proof of my support of the arts in schools. I’m passionate about following one’s artistic dreams. Really I am. But why does it have to be so…messy?

I don’t want to complain, because I treasure all the “art” and crafts that my children make. It’s the process of making that pottery pinch pot, oil painting, and glittered Christmas card that I have an issue with.

See this painting of the horse? Looks great, doesn’t it?
My hardwood floors now have brown and green paint permanently scrubbed into their grain.

In the name of fostering creativity I’ve stepped in clumps of play-doh in all it’s unnatural states. Soft blobs that squish between your toes, hard pebbles that stab your heels, and wet goo that stains your skin. How it gets wet, I don’t have the stomach to even consider. As a well-seasoned parent, I have come to accept there are some things I never need to understand. 

I’ve scrubbed crayon, marker, paint, charcoal, and chalk from every surface of my home. Yes, that includes the inside of my oven. Doesn’t every child want to see what happens when you melt crayons? Just a suggestion - it’s a good idea to place them on wax paper on a cookie sheet. It's never advisable to lay them, encased in their paper wrap, directly on the rack. Just a suggestion.

And why must craft glitter be so small and impossible to vacuum up? Tiny girls are attracted to their sparkle like bees to honey and me to chocolate. 

Glitter - like war, I’d like to scream, “What is it good for!?” 

In their search for the next weapon of mass destruction, the CIA or KGB must have accidentally created glitter. There’s no other logical explanation for its existence. Glitter is now banned from my house, so it can no longer become permanently lodged between my oak floor boards - next to the oil paint. 

There has been countless rolls of tape, pipe cleaners, cotton balls, tiny beads, Popsicle sticks, and bottles of glue sacrificed for the sake of nurturing my children’s creative intelligence. 

This brings me to this morning. My eldest announced she was “making a book.” Before you get too excited, as I did, she is not writing one. She is not putting pen to paper and letting her imagination soar. She is leaving all literary aspirations to me. Instead she literally made a book. Rather than use a few pieces of paper, folded neatly and cut precisely, she eviscerated a note pad. (See photo evidence.) 

The end result? A mini replica of her latest favourite book The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Cool, for sure, but why? Because she needs props for her movies, of course. Yes, her latest avenue of artistic exploration is movie making using dolls as actors.

Pretty smart move, if you ask me. Dolls are much lower maintenance than union actors. No meal breaks, no expensive salaries, no questioning their “character’s motivation,” and no intrusive paparazzi to deal with. (Unless by paparazzi you’re referring to her little sister.)

Her movies are hilarious, based on real life, and always feature a screeching mother demanding her daughters do their homework, wear socks, and get to the car before they are late, late, late! 

Since I am completely unbiased I can say she has natural talent, a good eye for lighting and wardrobe, and an ear for realistic dialogue. She’s resourceful and imaginative. She’s made a mini kitchen out of cardboard boxes, with a marble tile for a counter top. A long dressing mirror laid on its side has become the walled mirror of a dance studio.

Has the goo, the paint, the sparkles, the tiny beads, and countless stickers and rolls of tape been worth it? Yes, they were the creative building blocks for her artistic soul. 

Will she become the next Steven Spielberg? Who knows.  

But in the meantime, I will cherish the memory of this afternoon when she burst into the living room, pulled me off the couch, and led me into the sun room. 

“I got the light just right. The way it streams across their faces makes them look so real. Come see,” she said, her voice high-pitched with excitement. 

And I have to admit, because I am unbiased, the dolls did look real. As real as her joy. As real as my pride. 
So look out Mr. Spielberg, my girl’s making movies, too.


  1. LOVE this! You have every right to feel unbiasedly (is that even a word? it should be...) proud. As for the glitter, touché. At the ripe old age of 37, I'm still battling my addiction.

  2. Hey Janita, in the early years of parenting, I loved glitter as much as my girls. But now that we have stockpiled over a decade of craft supplies, I have drawn my line in the glittery sand. My goal is to have a total adult friendly space in my house. Silver and purple sparkles just won't go with my dream living room furnished with deep chocolate leather couches. Couches sans, rips, stains, or glitter. Yes, it is still a dream but I feel it may be close to coming true!