Thursday, January 14, 2016

Alessia and Mortality

About six months ago Alessia figured out death, and not in an abstract way. She figured it out in her heart. She burst into tears and said "I don't want us to die. I don't want to die." I told her I didn't want her to die either, but everyone does die. I talked about my dad in heaven with God and his parents. I hugged her. We read books in which death is the natural end of a life well lived. Mostly I tried to give her space.

Alessia has always been a vegetarian. I think at first it was mostly a texture issue. After she figured out death, she became a vegetarian by conviction. She respects that the rest of us eat meat, but the thought of eating it herself is repulsive to her.

A little while later, the issue of animals eating other animals came up. I told her that was just how God made certain animals. I could tell she was thinking through that one. Then one day at the Museum of Science, she put on an animal costume and asked me what the animal ate. I told her that I thought the animal ate fish. She got a very serious look on her face and ran off. A few moments later she returned to triumphantly inform me that the museum staff had told her the animal was a vegetarian.

Yesterday we were drawing together. She said something about a big fish eating a little fish, and then added "the little fish wanted to be eaten." I said, "Oh no, nothing wants to be eaten. It's just the way of things." Again, she fell into a thoughtful silence.

I wonder what the next part of this ongoing conversation is going to be.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Big paper drawing and small things play

My girls generally aren't into small things play. They have a train set with buildings and cars. They have farm animals and sea animals, but they very rarely take them out and pretend with them. Today I suggested we do big paper drawing and take out some of our houses and small animals to go with it. We did a little of this last winter. I would draw train tracks and roads and the girls would add trees and lakes. Today I proposed a more involved set up inspired by our trips to coastal Maine.

To the far left of the paper is the ocean. Then a beach with streets leading up into a town and from there two streets leading off to the right into the countryside. The girls really got into this idea. Their drawings ranged from fairly realistic (like the farm scene) to pure fantasy (like the man with the really long snorkel fencing with a swordfish underwater) and included memories from our trips to Maine (like the Coastal Children's Museum). We used a lot of stickers. Last year Olivia was still not doing much drawing and stickers was how she participated in these activities. This year she is drawing a lot more and today she went back and forth between drawing and "stickering," as she calls it. Having multiple areas within the project worked out really well. At times all three of us were spread out each working on a different area, then we would find ourselves talking about and adding drawings to a specific area all together.

Overall we had a great time. It was nice to get out some small toys they don't normally play with and see how they could inspire drawings and stories.