Mirror, oh, mirror. InNaWriPoMo Day 4.

mirror mirror

Hey! I did this drawing and I took this picture! All Credits are mine 🙂

Mirror, oh, mirror, who is the ugliest of them all?

It is you Milady, you got a running nose.

Mirror, oh, mirror, who is the ugliest of them all?

It is you Milady, your hair and teeth are gone.

Mirror, oh, mirror, for the third time I ask.
Beware, I warn.
Answer as I wish or you’ll be pulverized.
I’ll chop you like an onion,
I’ll bake you with salt and pepper, cinnamon and cardamom.

Now mirror, oh, mirror tell me, who is the ugliest of them all?

It is you Milady, for you’re decrepit and old.
A burden to society, to be hidden and left alone.
None other can be my answer, I can only speak the truth.
Just grant me one last wish, before I meet my doom:
May you introduce a variation in your question,
my answer may please you more.

Ah, hey, hum, oh… A better question?
Mirror, oh, mirror tell me, who is the prettiest of them all?

It’s you Milady for you’re wise and ancient, an experienced soul,
for you sowed the seed of life and you fostered it with love.
For you walked the earth, you suffered your pain and sang your songs,
you’re an old woman,
let us all before you,
in reverence bow.


InNaPoWriMo update:

My dream, he did not comment.

White on black, you already know his mind.

Playfully was a win.

Mirror, oh, mirror: “It is a master piece, he uttered. Maybe we’ll earn some money out of this”.

Counter: 2 to 1, winning.

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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?

Click.

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

Maternity.

Fading beauty, eternally mine.

Maternity: fading beauty, eternally mine. (or why my boys wear flower crowns and feel proud).

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?

Click.

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

Why every mother should have a camera. Pictures of Joy.

I know mothers day is far away. We´ve just finished the rush preparing a creative present for Dad. But let me tell you every mom should have a camera asap. Don´t wait till mohter´s day to get her one. Take me as an example.

Last year, by the time Amararama was born, my husband bought me a nice Panasonic Lumix FZ35 for my birthday.

The only problem was I didn´t have a clue about point and shoot cameras (and about photography in general) and three little boys tend to keep me far away from manuals… You might know already my safest and only reading opportunity  is the bathroom.

So I applied my own experiential learning philosophy and decided to learn on the go. I simply started pointing and shooting.

– At what?, you want to know.

– Well, at the three little boys, is my answer.

That was a perfect way to learn how to use my camera and to keep an eye on kids at the same time. Gradually, I understood the balance between ISO, aperture and speed and my attention was shifted towards what I saw through my lens… Surprise! I rediscovered my kids personality, their gestures and their constant intentional play. Every pic was a revelation.

After my experience every mom should have a camera because:

  • she can have great fun pointing and shooting her kids (instead of pointing and yelling at them).

We were painting pizza trays (remember?) and suddenly the older boy dessapeared. He came back a bit changed… May be on other ocassion I would have scolded him for this (the acrylic painting was not meant for skin). But he looked so great! Ok, it was a little mess and being 8 years old he could have known (should he?)… but it´s art too! Check the costume he searched to match his face!

  • she can realize not every feline on the street is a serial killer

Yes, you know I´m an exagerated mom. And a bit fearful sometimes… That´s why I tend to avoid this kind of situation. “Caressing a strange cat” is not under my safety files. But it made a nice photo. The child (AND the cat) survived and they both got the chance to share a natural expression of love.

  • she can step back and discover new dimensions of her children´s potential.

Normally I would have run to the crying toddler, depriving the elder brothers of the opportunity to care and comfort someone in distress. Is it children do not know how to help or we do not give them enough time and space to do it their way? I love the last pic. He was crying because his helmet was crashed during the play. After receiving comfort from his sibblings, he simply put it on.
I think he didn´t need to “fix” the helmet. Actually he just needed to get his emotions “fixed”.

  • Finally, every mother should have a camera because she can create precious memories of every day life

Can you discover why is he looking so mischevious and happy?

He lost his first tooth!

Oh! How pleased and radiant he was! So many times I´ve seen my children shining, swinging freely in the arms of Joy. And I remember myself thinking: “I´ll keep this picture in my heart all my life” but many of those instants faded away in everyday routine turmoil.

If you know me a bit, you´ll know I´m not precisely a consumerist mom but let me assure you my camera has made a big difference in the way I see (and remember) our family life.

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:

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.

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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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