Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011, February - LC

February, I replaced the drawing on the fridge with LC's new, expressive crayon drawing: And she continued to ask for many sheets of paper every day and sat down and drew.
She also was focused on drawing faces (she can only draw "happy" and "sad", right now, so I should find a book about emotions or facial expressions with simplified drawings...she asks me to draw others for her on paper, like "surprised", "scared", "mad", "laughing", "shy", "excited" etc.) and she draws specific body parts (eyes, nose, mouth, chin, belly button etc.) pointing out the areas on the picture afterwards and tries to be more detailed, like this picture of a man.
After she drew this picture, she said "I made a baby" and pointed out the "eyes", "nose", "mouth", "hair", "cheeks" etc.:
And she took one of the boxes I was going to flatten for recycling and decided to make a pretend "house" out of it. You know how they say the best toys aren't bought at the store.
February, I decided to test LC's patience, since she was 34 months old...and begin bringing her to live performances. Seeing "Sesame Street Live: Elmo's Green Thumb" at Madison Square Garden was a magical day for LC. She hasn't stopped talking about it, still! She found a new love for Big Bird, who was near us most of the time during the performance and she chose a Big Bird doll for me to buy for her, to remember this event. She shook the hands of many of the performers, including Grover, Bert and Zoe...and she later asked for an Elmo-themed birthday party, which I am in the midst of planning now.
February, we also visited Puppetworks in Brooklyn...and we saw a beautiful performance of Alice in Wonderland, with handmade wood marionettes on strings. Awesome, LC loved it and so did I.
Afterwards, I took LC to a local spot, called Two Boots, that makes "happy face" pizza for kids. That small, creative touch made this the most fascinating pizza for LC, she even dropped the crayon on the table in the below pic (she was coloring before it arrived)...and she is not a big pizza eater (and chooses not to eat french fries, most of the time...& never drinks soda or juice, preferring healthier foods), but she finished one whole slice of this pizza, with her cup of water.
In February, LC had a play date at our home...and her friend V & her mom K came over...and K brought a wonderful book to read to the girls, Is Your Mama a Llama?
Then, K helped LC with an art activity related to the reading...matching up mama & baby animal pictures and gluing the pics to construction paper.

LC loves glue sticks.


The girls snacked on Earth's Best organic alphabet letter oatmeal cinnamon cookies, they both love singing (& locating) the letters of the alphabet.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011, February - Mama

LC said "BEAUTIFUL PICTURES, MOMMY!!!!!" She loves watching me draw, her eyes light up.... I'm very much out of practice, though. So, I took two well-known children's book writers/illustrators... and put their books in front of me...and tried to draw a bit like them for 15 minutes (though it's hard to take on someone else's style and these illustrators have won awards and published a gazillion books...so, I am not in their league)...but it was super fun and LC enjoyed watching the familiar pictures materialize on the blank sheets of paper in front of me. This one is a scene with Max being naughty...from the 1963 children's picture book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak: This one is a combination of a few pics from Sandra Boynton's board book Are You a Cow?:
I sat down with LC and I told her I want to create a little world for our own children's book...with a character I drew on people's greeting cards since high school. She was thrilled! She sat down next to me, at the dining room table, and made suggestions about colors, facial expressions, actions etc. It was so much fun to start on this process together.

When I was looking at old pictures of my childhood...I came across two pictures that reminded me of moments that were special and filled me with so much pride in elementary school. Here's a large cartoon I drew that was well-received and hung up in a very visible location at the school I attended in Hell's Kitchen:
And here I am hanging upside down on the monkey bars...in Central Park, after leaving a museum. I was honored to be one of a select group of children chosen to paint a mural for the The Electric Company Magazine. That was a magazine published from 1972-1987 for The Children's Television Workshop (in 2000, the company changed its name to Sesame Workshop) TV series "The Electric Company". They had us all dressed the same and we posed for a picture in front of our giant, painted mural of superheroes, for the magazine.
There were other moments that filled me with great pride in elementary school, and of all those moments surely this achievement should have been captured in a photograph. I won a prize in a national photography contest...I was in 4th or 5th or 6th grade...and one of my teachers liked a photo I showed her and she submitted it on my behalf for a school contest. I had asked a group of friends to jump up in the air at the same time in the schoolyard, quite a lot of boys and girls...and I captured a very cool moment (way back then, obviously, it was not a digital camera...so I didn't think the picture came out well until it was developed weeks later and printed.) Sadly, I didn't save the negatives and the photograph was lost on its way back from Washington D.C. LC certainly loves to be involved in creative projects...and on her 3rd birthday, she will be getting her first camera (a low-quality, preschooler camera that can be dropped many times on the ground and survive)...I will post some of her blurry photos on this blog. She is very excited to "take pictures toys, bugs, bandaids". And LC is super excited to balance out her days with a team athletic activity this spring season...her first sport...soccer!!! I showed her the below picture of ME when I was learning to play the game and LC said immediately "you playing soccer!"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2011, January

So, about a month later...we revisited the Children's Museum of the Arts, with LC's friend V and her mom K again. Another awesome day. LC enjoyed watercolor painting:



Drawing with chalk, on the chalkboard table:

Playing in the ball pond:

And learning from a staff member:

The CMA staff member encouraged LC to explore a pair of super blunt scissors, for the first time, and LC used the blades to shred some paper strips.

LC loved finding this mirror at CMA, when she sat down to draw with colored pencils...the mirror was there to encourage children to draw self-portraits.

I continued to learn how to crochet.

And some of the work was successful (blue crochet circles that kinda resemble flowers) and some of it was not (my first attempt at a scarf, which ended up rather uneven):

LC was very happy to be signed up for a winter music class with Jen. Here's LC right before the 1st class started. (Our last class will be this coming week.)

Here's LC at home, a play date with her friend V, they were pretending to be a rock band.

and the girls both love "reading" picture books.

LC's crayon drawings at home were getting more interesting...with her beginning to fill in shapes with color, not just make lines & curves on a page.

I found this wonderful indoor play space in Greenpoint, which was so essential during this winter in NYC...since there were so many incredible snowfalls. Here's LC playing pretend with their kitchen set:

and enjoying their music room:

I also found a one day art workshop at the family center nearby...and LC's friend V & her mom K joined us. The kids enjoyed painting on a wall mural (teacher rolled out a large sheet of paper and taped it to the wall and made sure each child had a chance to work with each paint color):


Teacher also gave them watercolor paper, cut into little squares, and the kids drew on the paper with water-soluble oil pastels and then brushed on some water. Cool effect. Then, the parents attached the paper with colorful strings. Here's LC's work drying at the family center:

and here it is (still) hanging up in our dining room. Every single day, LC sees it and proudly says "I made that in art class!"

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tap Dancing Chicken, 12/1/10

Let's end the 2010 posts with frame grabs from a personal movie clip...LC at the Children's Museum of the Arts. They had a bunch of costumes the kids could put on and play dress-up. Once LC put on the chicken costume, she was inspired. She yelled "tap dancing chicken!!!!" and ran into another room and proceeded to entertain the staff of CMA, doing a wonderful job pretending. The room was filled with such joy.





They were kind enough to then show LC the pine cones that were being decorated.



And give her a sheet of paper and colored pencil, so she could "draw pine cone!"



This was all after LC making her first bead bracelet...jumping on giant balls in their ball pond...and being invited by a staff member to have a one-on-one hands-on lesson on stop motion animation. And that is just a fraction of what she did that day, for a low admissions fee. Awesome place, I would have loved to visit when I was a child, but they weren't founded until 1988. They have always been in the SOHO neighborhood of Manhattan, but Fall 2011...they are going to move to a much bigger space and I think it's in the South Village (so I have to find a new subway/walking route to get there, without getting lost ;-).
Thanks for reading...enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2010, December

At home, LC drew a person, for the first time...with face, body, hands and feet.

It's still hanging up on the fridge. She was very proud.

I managed to teach myself quickly how to crochet granny squares (it was a great activity at night, to relax)...and then sew them together to make a hat for LC. She loved it.

LC & I made a construction paper hat...I glued on the fringe she selected and a feather...after she drew on the paper with markers... (below pic, LC using paint pens, in the kitchen):

LC liked wearing the hat whenever she sat down to draw, at home. Below pic at our dining room table, drawing with jumbo triangular Melissa & Doug crayons.

At home, rocking it out with her keyboard...singing on the microphone and playing music.


Also, loves her chalkboard/dry erase marker, magnetic easel...


Still loving the legos.

We attended a class for a few weeks that was divided into various activities, to help toddlers make quick transitions in a structured class environment (dance, art, story telling, toy playtime, snack time, bubble time etc.) and follow directions given by a teacher & her assistant...LC did rather well, almost immediately. One day, it ended up being just LC and the teacher & assistant, no other kids...(due to cold/flu season)...and they let LC spend more time doing art, than usual...and I was waiting outside in the hallway...and when they asked me to come inside, they showed me her 3 paintings and said they were very impressed that at her age, she very clearly told them the concepts she had in mind when she painted the pictures. And she corrected them if they repeated the wrong words to her, like "peas", giving it a bit of context.

This is "PEACE":



This is "A MONSTER":


This is "APPLE":

One of the nicest places in NYC to bring children who love to create...the Children's Museum of the Arts, in SOHO. Can easily spend hours there doing a wide variety of activities, all perfectly suited for the young ones. Just 3 examples...