Posts Tagged ‘ G ’

Art That Moves You

I love art. I love looking at it. I love experiencing it.

I love it when a painting or photo or even a beautifully designed chair stops me in my tracks. There’s just something about certain objects that move me. Usually it has something to do with bold colors, a graphic image or a really simple subject.

Maybe that’s why I love this piece of artwork by my 5-year-old son, G. I first saw it on a bulletin board at his school. I didn’t know it was his, but I had a feeling it was. It was on the bottom, right-hand side of the board, and the only one without a name. Despite it’s location on the board, it stood out to me.

G noted that it was his, and that it was two apple trees next to each other.

Maybe it’s because it was my child that created the picture, but it moved me. It’s the first work by G that really made me think about him as the artist behind the picture and not just the child that completed a school project.

At the same time, I can see the influence of my husband and me in this picture. The symmetry and neat construction come from my accountant husband. The balance of color and graphic quality come from the more artistic, right-brained mom.

What really struck me is that I can see his vision in this piece of artwork. It didn’t look like any other “tree” on the bulletin board. It was well-thought out and presented in a way that was truly G.

Time for this proud mom to buy a nice frame.

Battle wounds and tests of motherhood

Nothing prepares you to be a mother. I don’t care who you are, how much experience you have with children or how many books you’ve read. Motherhood is something you have to experience to understand the sheer perplexities of the title.

When G, who is 5, put his arm through a plate glass door in our house last week, I was faced with a situation that I wasn’t ready for. There was blood. A lot of it. There was screaming. There was broken shards of glass all over the floor.

The thing is that, when you’re a mom, you stay calm (or at least make it seem like you’re calm) and handle the situation. No matter how nauseous you might feel. That’s your job.

While I certainly can’t say I handled the situation perfectly, I can say that I did my job. I have to admit, I almost panicked when I took G’s shirt off to assess where all the blood was coming from. It was flowing fast and all over the floor. And, it turns out, the gash was pretty big. The biggest I’ve seen up close. It was extremely clear to me that I needed to get him to the ER. I also had to retrieve his 23 month old brother from the other side of the door. Both boys needed to be told everything would be okay and cleared from the glass. And, yes, there was still all that blood to deal with.

Though I couldn’t quite get G to sit down, I was finally able to find a clean rag to wrap the wound. (I’m pretty sure there was a lot of me wandering around the room trying to figure out what to do next as well.) I made unsuccessful calls to my husband who I was sure would come home to an empty house with blood and glass all over the floor and to my friend (and nurse) who I hoped was still in her car after picking up her kids from the same daycare I just left. I was focused on getting G to the ER, and I could have used a little help.

The bleeding stopped after a few minutes. I managed to get the owner of the boys’ daycare to come over and pick up Biz while I took G to the ER. I got my husband by text in the ER, and my friend turned her car around to go to the house and clean the mess up. I have a great support system.

In the ER, the nurse practitioner took one look at the wound and said, “that is awesome!” (That is also why she’s and ER nurse, and I am not.) G didn’t even shed a tear at the hospital.

It was not a fun experience. I hope I never go through something like that again. In the days after the accident, I could actually feel pain in my arm when I thought about it.

In retrospect, it could have been a lot worse. In the end, at least I passed one of the many tests I will face as a mother. Everyone is in one piece, and G will have a great scar to go along with the harrowing story.

Six creative ideas for preserving kids’ school papers and art projects

Ever since G started kindergarten, I have been overwhelmed with papers and artwork. He has a folder that goes home with him each day, and it seems like it is constantly stuffed to the brim with worksheets, notices and art projects.

Not wanting to throw anything away, I initially started to keep everything in a folder. I had visions of myself flipping through its contents at the end of the school year, seeing how much G progressed in his first year of elementary school.

I couldn’t close the folder by mid-October, and I decided I needed a new tactic. (Actually, a few.)

Following are six creative ideas to preserve all those papers and projects your kids come home with. Some of them are mine, and some came from friends. (One friend pointed out that as the kids get older, the colorful papers and crafty creations get replaced by actual work. So, preserve early!)

  • Scan and/or take pictures of everything and save it to CD-ROM or flash drive. At the end of the year, you can make a photo book, complete with captions and stories about the projects. (I have G explain to me what each of his pictures depict. Like any artwork, it has more meaning when you hear how the artist was inspired.) With a program like iMovie, you can even make a short video with pictures, subtitles and music. And as an added bonus, you have some great gifts for the grandparents!
  • Put together a binder. If you’re not into digitizing everything, a binder is a good alternative. Use a 3-hole punch or sheet protectors to make a nice book of preschool, school or daycare papers and projects. I made G an “ABC 123” binder with all the worksheets he completed in nursery school. It was a fun way to see G’s progression in writing, and he used it as a reference when he wanted to remember what the letters looked like.
  • Store the papers and projects in a safe place. You can’t put larger items in a binder. Mid-preschool, I purchased a bin to keep my favorite pictures and larger art projects that came home with G from daycare and preschool. (The fridge got way too full.) Along with a date, I indicated where the artwork came from (school or daycare) and any necessary description of the piece. (It may look like a spider when you put it in. After a while, it just looks like scribbles, even for Mom.)
  • Create your own art gallery at home. Designate an area of the house for exhibiting the very best works of art. It could be a bulletin board in an office or kitchen. One of my friends strung some rope along her kitchen wall and hung her kids’ artwork on it with clothes pins. We converted a second kitchen in our house to an art room and fill the walls with an ever-changing gallery of work. Of course, if you’re short on space, there’s always the fridge.
  • Frame the really good stuff. Some pieces are just too good not to display in a more permanent manner. Showing off colorful kids art in a nice, black modern frame can bring some real pop to a room. For a more dramatic look, cut out a portion of the picture and use a larger white matte when you frame it. (Don’t forget to date it!) I framed G’s first paper from preschool, added a picture from the first day of school and created an instant keepsake for the hallway wall. The possibilities are endless when it comes to framing, and the framed artwork also make great grandparents gifts.
  • Make some placemats. I can’t remember where I heard this idea, but I thought it was a pretty good one. If you have a laminator (or access to one), take the pieces of artwork and laminate them. You can use them as placemats. They are easy to clean, and you can change them out on a regular basis.

In the end, you have some wonderful pieces of artwork to share with your family and friends. And you’ve preserved some very precious memories. Plus, it’s a great way to see how much your little one has grown up (both for him and you).

I’m sure I’ll be opening that bin of artwork for G in a few years, yearning for the days of the overwhelming simple alphabet papers and art projects.

It’s all about perspective, right?

Have some creative ideas of your own? Please share in the comments section!

Not So Traumatic Kindergarten Transitions

My oldest son, G, started kindergarten this week. I fully expected it to be a traumatic experience for both me and him.

It was not. In fact, it feels like just another week.

At barely five years old (he turned five mid-July), this child continues to amaze me. I keep waiting for the event that’s going to really throw him for a loop. It hasn’t come yet.

G was an early talker and was fully potty trained by two and a half. (I mean really potty trained. No transitional night time diapers or anything.) When he decided to ride a bike without training wheels this summer, he got on the bike and never looked back. In nursery school, he would call the teacher out if she said anything incorrect.

The key to G is talking and prepping. While I was pregnant, my husband and I agreed to never use baby talk. It’s just not our style. So, from the beginning, I’ve always talked to G. I tell him what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, what’s going on around us, what’s about to happen, etc. And, we talk every night before he goes to bed about how our days went and what’s happening tomorrow.

For the big transitions, as long as I tell him what’s going on and what’s coming up, he knows what he needs to do. (The one hiccup I made was in his first year of preschool and I forgot to tell him about picture day. He freaked out a bit, and the teacher told me he wasn’t good with change. Fast-forward a year, and she told me he was taking over the class from the teacher. Go figure.)

Kids are human beings, and a lot smarter than we give them credit for. While I freaked out a few times this summer trying to figure out how to navigate the whole kindergarten thing, I never let G see this. We talked about how fun it would be and how his schedule would change. He was so excited this week, he’s been up around 5:30am every morning. He had a ball riding the bus with me and my husband on the first “mini” day with parents. And on his first day (without parents) when he had to wait for the bus to loop around the block because the bus driver didn’t see his daycare provider who was there to pick him up, he wasn’t phased one bit.

G’s one complaint so far? Having to sit at a table to wait for his bus number to be called at the end of the day. Apparently, that’s too boring for him. I’m thinking this will change once he goes to a full day next week. Hopefully he’ll be more tired after a full day, and the table sitting won’t be as annoying.

Now I have to transition into leaving work on time so I can be at the bus stop for G in the afternoon. I’m thinking I can handle it, with a little prepping from G.

Graduation changes everything, at least for Mom

The graduating class

My oldest son, G, graduated from preschool yesterday. It was quite the event. The preschool has been in existence for 50 years, and this was their 48th and final graduating class. Miss Nancie, at 71 years old, decided to take the plunge into retirement. Needless to say, there were a lot of emotions.

I didn’t think I would be so emotional. It was only preschool, after all. It’s not like G’s going away to college next year. But, as I listen to parents of older kids, I realize it’s not that far off.

Once children come into our lives, we, as parents, all come to the realization that it’s not about us anymore. Whether we like it or not, we are suddenly responsible for another human being. We must feed them, shelter them, keep them clean and teach them how to get through life. Up to this point, I’ve had control over everything that G does. Now that he’s about to turn 5 and go to Kindergarten in the fall, everything is changing.

Suddenly, I have to be at screening appointments for 10:00am on a Tueday. (Not so convenient for a working mom.) He’s eligible to sign up for various activities, and he’s expressing interest in said activities. This summer, we have tennis, tee-ball and swimming lessons.

My husband and I, luckily, have pretty flexible and family-friendly jobs. So, we can adjust schedules and juggle things pretty well. It’s interesting to take a glimpse into the future though. As we took pictures of he and his best buddy, his buddy’s mom commented that the picture we were taking was for their future high school year book. That’s when it got a little emotional.

I’m so proud of everything G’s done in his almost 5 years of existence, and I can’t wait to see what he can accomplish as he gets older. G lead his class down the aisle yesterday. Unbeknownst to me, he also had a duet with another girl in the musical performance part of the graduation. (I mentioned it was quite the production. There was a cowboy theme and an intermission involved.) The other performances involved 4 – 8 kids. After his performance, I think I might have to add musical theatre camp to his activities.

G took it all in stride, as he always does. He is so ready for Kindergarten. I realize, now, that it’s me that’s going to have the toughest transition.

“I can’t understand a word he’s saying”

The boys and I were at the Curtis Memorial Library the other day in the kids’ play area. My 14 month old was chattering away in his little language that only I and Miss Lori from daycare can decipher. A boy my older son was playing with said to me, with a frustrated look, “I can’t understand a word he’s saying.”

This comment made me laugh. I explained that Biz (his actual nickname) was still learning to talk, and that he probably talked like that when he was little. It made me think about all the funny things G, my 4 1/2 year old, has said in the few short years he’s been talking.

He was an early talker, and I wrote down every word he would say until he said so many new words that I couldn’t keep up. All kids say funny things at some point. Here are some of my favorite quotes from G in no particular order:

  • While in the waiting for an ob appointment: “Is her going to pee in a cup?” (re: every pregnant woman who walked by us)
  • After my dad asked me to get a fork for him while I got up from the dinner table to tend to his baby brother: “My mom has two hands and not four.”
  • While watching a Bruins v. Flyers hockey game: “That orange guy just beat up our Bruin. That’s not good.”
  • After telling him to “hold his horses” because he was rushing me out the door: “I can’t mom. My horse ran away.”
  • Loudly and assertively: “Doing?!” (his way of asking what we were doing before he could put an actual sentence together)
  • When he wanted something as a baby: “Habit!” (instead of “have it”)

Some of his best quotes are actually interpretations of songs he hears on the radio. Here are a few fun ones:

  • “Go nothing, Go nothing!” – Kings of Leon’s “Notion” (instead of “So don’t knock it, don’t knock it”)
  • “You know that I could use some bad air!” – Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” (instead of “You know that I could use somebody”)
  • “Mommy, he’s singing about diarrhea.” (with a disgusted look on his face) – Breaking Benjamin’s acoustic version of “Diary of Jane”

Unfortunately, I haven’t been so good with writing down words that Biz says. I think it’s partly because he’s the second child and partly because Biz isn’t as verbal as G was at the same age. (However, Biz definitely has the facial expressions and hand talking down more than G did. Must be the Italian in him.) So, I thought I’d end this post with all the words I’ve deciphered from Biz at some point over the past few months that I can remember. Here goes – yay, mama/mom/mommy, dad/daddy/da, dog, woof, meow, up/uppy, moo, uh oh, bird, lolly (for lollipop), no, hi, hello, bye, nigh nigh (for night night), dat (for that), light, sssssss (snake sound), oo oo (monkey sound). Judging from his babbling, I have a feeling we’re going to have some pretty good quotes from him in about 3 1/2 years.

P.S. (3/3/10) I have to admit that I’ve come back to this post several times since I wrote it to add words I remember that Biz has said. I guess I’m not giving him enough credit for being verbal. Sure, some of these words have only been uttered once or twice and most have only been heard by me or Miss Lori. I hear them, though, and others will eventually.