(sort of) Kennings Glossary by a Toddler and his Mother. InNaPoWriMo Day 13

play_activity_18closet-drawer: transferring time

toilet paper-pyramid: boy this is mine!


fascination-monster: garbage truck

saucepan-spoon: what a great drum!


crumble-bun: fine motor skills

hypnosis-circles: stroller wheels


nature-symphony: best music player

onion-peel: translucent layer


sandal-sole: chewing device

ice-cream-shop: I run so nice!


daily life-thing: I get creative

battery-operated: makes me so passive


window-palette: a subtle rainbow

lightswitch-click: to you I bow!


heaven-portal: that’s the front door

biscuit-jar:  my ultimate goal


eyes-light: my little child

bed-time: dream sweet and mild

future-insight: until the blessings of a new day

respect-parenting: rewards you with uninterrupted free-play


(wait… what is a kenning?)


There’s Kids Art for Dinner. A sucessful nutrition service-learning project.

When you caress your baby you are giving him love. You are teaching him to love and in this way you are also nourishing him.

When you caress your baby you are giving him love. You are teaching him to love and in this way you are also nourishing him.

Today I read this post about Food Fights at Not Just Cute.

Then I remembered a project I wanted to share here and this might be the right time for it:

When our older child was in Grade 2 they did a nutrition project at school.

Teachers invited nutrition professionals for an interview, children cooked, they analysed industrial food ingredients and advertisements, they watched videos and played games.

Not only regarding taste, but also the other senses that can be nourished: sight, smell, touch, ear…

Kids did all this with a tremendous interest because it was a service learning project and they were really involved.
The final goal was to create banners for CONIN, an Argentinean NGO working against malnutrition in community canteens where food was served for free to children of their same age.

They thought of a slogan synthesising their nutritional recommendations, they compiled all what they had learned and created two different banners to decorate the community canteens:

  • abstract compositions using kitchen tools,
  • a painted white plate using the yin-yang symbol as background.

Each child painted one plate and in pairs they did the abstract composition.

One of the slogans they came up with was: “let’s become artists, let’s serve at least three colors in our plates”.

Now our child is almost 12 years old, so 5 years have passed by. Still today, when we are serving dinner, he (or his brothers who learned this from him) says: let´s count how many colors do we have here.

This is a very simple way to include a well-balanced meal with protein (dark brown, dark red, white, yellow), vegetables (orange, pink, red, green) and cereals in a same food (soft brown and white)!

Here are some of the art works and slogans children age 7 came up with. I particularly like the last one where the lady is breast-feeding her baby. Which one do you like most?

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Pride, no prejudice. Or why my boys wear flower crowns.

A paper moon, a fading sky.

Evanescent daylight.

Stilled mind opens the gap for a flower hunt.

moon in the kitchen sky
Accomplished the task, hidden mischief, back home we are.

Now scattered perfumes, melted beauty fills the kitchen´s heart.

Nature´s palette embellishing the table of the newborn night.

Also scissors, tape, cardboard (recycled pizza boxes, actually… pizza always inspired us).

natures pallette

In and out flows our breath.

Harmonious creativity, a silent path.

Suddenly the surprise.

Oh my!
A little king emerges,
precious nature’s jewels adorning his inner sky!

the flower jewel

– I love you mom, his petal whispers fall into the fountain of my heart.

A new day arrives, get the camera, go outside.
Catch the best of morning light.

Apples, cheese and bread.

A royal breakfast, pure simplicity.

Three little kings sit and chit-chat.

So young, so proud.

Fulfilled, satisfied, I wear my crown.

Ripe dream, let me be a queen.

– Here son, take a picture of mine.

I extend the camera to the older child.

He takes his time, presses the shooter, shows me his art.

There´s no queen to be seen.

That´s only me, a simple smiling mom.

the mother queen

His focus is in my eyes.

– How I love you son, whispering petals fall into the fountain in his heart…

Now, could you let me see a picture of me wearing the crown?


– There you are, mom. the queen´s crown


Fading beauty, eternally mine.

Rebel or zen aspirant? A 3 years old life adventures.

Hum! Our little self directed player started kindergarten two months ago. He was longing for it. His older brothers attend school and he wanted to join eagerly (once again, excuse my colonial English). That was his ultimate goal.

We have the joy to now his teacher really well since the other boys also had the luck to start kindergarten guided by her loving and clear expertise. We appreciate and trust her and the teaching team.

Now, the thing is our little “gentleman”, who knows very well about the joy derived from free play, seems to be undergoing some rare transformation in Kindergarten. “He is in a rebel attitude”, the teacher told me the other day, “he only wants to do what he wants to do”.

Yes, I noticed that too. The difference is I appreciate his initiative sincerely and I´ve become a much more relaxed mom since I discovered he didn´t need me to organize his games. I just had to step back and enjoy observing how his own creative play unfolds in front of my eyes.

Please don´t missunderstand me. We really love this Kindergarten, it´s play oriented and applies a human values educational program which is simply great. The thing is “play routines” here depend on the adult´s criteria rather than the child´s spontaneous curiosity or impulse. The kind of “now we do this, now we do that” decision is not anymore under the realm of his freewill.

When I ask him how he´s feeling about it, then he says: “when I play, I play”, “when I´m angry, I´m angry”, “when I finish, I finish”.

Oh! How deeply immersed in present time is his consciousness. Here and Now, pure Eternal Present.

And I wonder… How can we softly introduce him into the realm of Rules and Time?

Fly within. A postcard

Today we had a wind storm.

Our little 3 years old and I were going outside to the front garden and we both were surprised to feel the clean autumn air against our skin. Yellow and golden leaves where dancing all around.

The small boy stretched out his arms wide open and asked:

– Why doesn´t fly?

– Do you mean why aren´t you flying?… May be because you didn´t close your eyes, I answered stretching out my own arms. Just before closing my eyes I could peep at him: a little, radiant, smiling face told me he was soaring his inner sky. Joyously I joined in, entering my own spiritual field.

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No colorblind test. It´s a humble Love Card.

We did this card for Father´s Day last year. Thank God kids did not want to use it as a Frisbee since it was the only present we had! It says “I love Dad” in lime green and the background is in yellowish orange & red.

Kids painted using watercolors, cut in stripes and then in squares. I pasted the whole thing using carpenter glue on a thick cardboard (I thought they´d love the pasting part but they didn´t even want to think about it).

After finishing I took a look at our present from a distance and I could hardly differentiate the background from the figure. Since I´m not feeling like going to oculist, I convinced my self this difficulty was due to the use of a common color for both: yellow. I love yellow, I couldn´t help it. Anyway you could choose plain colors for a better contrast if you try this project.

I´m sharing this to show Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings how she can do a Frisbee with her kids, since pizzas over there only come in square boxes and massively eating pizzas to export the trays is not going to do any good to our health.

By the way, don´t be surprised if after finishing your art, kids resist to throw it up in the air.

– No way, mom! This is not a Frisbee. We want to hang it on the wall.

You know. Divergent creativity works like that.

Divergent creativity (or how to let your kids make a Frisbee)

I´m the kind of person that sees a child´s painting and feels a vibrant emotion similar to the one you get when observing an original Picasso ceramic plate at the Modern Museum of Art.

“I used to draw like Raphael, but it has taken me a whole lifetime to learn to draw like a child”, Picasso said.

Beauty, composition, balance and expressive freedom are infused in children´s art works with a sensibility that is not easy to match.

That´s one of the reasons why I tend to collect their artistic productions and create impromptu art exhibitions on walls, doors and windows. I do this for several other reasons too, including the satisfaction of seeing the results of my creative parenting and educational ideas. It´s also great for them, because they can keep track of their progress. Check this great solution I found at parents.com:


I do have lots of ideas for art projects! I´d like to share one of those ideas and it´s unexpected hidden lesson for me.

We love eating pizzas from Maxipasta, the best Pasta House in the West (… of Buenos Aires). The minute I saw the disposable pizza trays I knew they were a great support for painting, so I collected them until I had 23 pieces  (the sad part is I came to realize we might be eating too much pizza, but that´s another story).

Then I chose the best painting material (I decided it was acrylic painting) and I stealthy waited for a perfect time to chase my kids  creativity, honoring the lioness mother there was in me (now I´m becoming a humane mother).

Today the perfect moment has come, I can feel it in the air.

There is no need for words. I simply take down the acrylic pots, the brushes jar and the white pizza canvas (I also bring some water and wet cloths for my scenario). Kids are attracted to the table and they start painting immediately. I can see how their breath becomes rhythmical. Silence reins.

“Oh! Magic is here”, I whisper to myself, doing my best to not interrupt their concentration. Beauty is manifest in the emerging colors and shapes on the good old pizza trays. My creative idea had converged with their creative impulse and there was only a perfect feeling of total union, as a long-dreamt-of hug with your beloved one under the meeting point at Ezeiza airport: you meet him, you hug each other, you become one. That´s what I am experimenting at this point. I am loving it and I dedicate my self to the art of observation.

I´m deciding on which wall I am  going to hung their paintings  when the most unexpected situation happens.

“I think this is going to be the best one”, says boy nr. 1.

“Wait to see how mine flies”, answers nr. 2.

“Yea! Fly, fly, fly!”, toddler giggles.

“What do you mean by fly, honey?”, I dare to ask.

“To fly is to move in the air without falling, mom”, the older one patienly explains.

“I know that dear. But these art works are not meant for that. I´ll hang them on this wall, what do you think?”

To my utter disappointment my kids do not want to hang their plates anywhere and they are not going to change their minds.

They´ve painted helicopters, ninja stars, spaceships, yellow balls and molecules. Now they want to use them.









They want to use their art as Frisbees, throwing the trays in the air and catching them back. They want to see which ones fly best, wich ones are more “powerful”. So they put the fresh paintings in the sun to get them dried as soon as possible.

I resist.

Quite a bit.

I offer them new trays, plain white, to use for that game.

“These are for hanging on some wall, even on the door if you want”, I insist not wanting to see that my creative will, the same that 20 minutes ago was in perfect unison with my kids, is now clearly becoming a divergent line and every word I say makes it move just a bit further.

“Of course not, mooooom!”, they complain notoriously in disagreement.

“But playing like this you´re gonna crash your art works!?” I mumble trying to convince them of what I still don´t want to recognize for what it is: an impossible task.

“White ones are a real disaster”, they complain.

“Those don´t even fly as good as a helicopter, nor do they attack as a ninja star”, they add.

They start asking themselves why did they took the time to paint if now they cannot use them?… They keep on complaining but I have a cerebral feature that allows me to lower their voices thinking louder than what they speak. It helps me a lot when I feel stuck and in need to reverse difficult situations.

“Ok, Ok, I got it. You mean white trays do not fly the same”, I say to gain time and think how to solve this creative mismatch. Thank God they insist a bit further, and because of that I´m forced to find a better solution.

Finally it´s not me who happens to think of a safe exit from this dilemma. Oh, magic is back!, our creative channels abruptly converge again:

“Listen, mom. You could take photos of the paintings and then let us play with them, ok?”.

I give up. I grab my camera, find good light near the window and press the shutter. After a tray is captured it takes off, literally, to fulfill it´s true mission on earth. All of them fly high, far and with style. But each one has a special power conferred by the colores and shapes with which they were decorated. Never, ever, ever a white disposable pizza tray could have performed as these ones do.

They are the most wonderful Frisbees in the whole world and demonstrate, from the very beginning, why free creative play is an art in itself.

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