Thursday, November 5, 2009

Artifacts

As I was heading out the door this morning, I was struck by the changes that had taken place in the house in the short period of time while I was in the shower. I didn't know how or why that duck was on the couch, why that Valentines' Day card was propped on the dining room table, or why the collage Duncan made yesterday was moved from the sideboard to a prominent place on the refrigerator. Well, I DID know, actually. All those changes result from a small person with a developing psyche wanting to make his own mark on his environment.  The misplaced objects all tell their own stories; sometimes they are shared family stories, and sometimes they are an individual's stories. They are everywhere, and yet they go largely unnoticed and undocumented.

In my World Series, sleep deprived, state, I mused about the hundreds of tiny stories around our house, stories that an outsider (or even an insider) would never know. I am fascinated by the way objects move about the house, alighting in areas, spending a little time, and moving on. We are as tidy as we can make time to be. Eventually everything goes back where it belongs, but some things stay in strange places a little longer than others.

This is Ducky, who was an Easter present from Nana, and "bug blanket," which was a baby present from Uncle Vernon's mom. Ducky came downstairs this morning while I was in the shower and settled in on the couch. Apparently, he was having a sick day.



This is an octopus Duncan drew yesterday. Duncan is going through a huge drawing and writing phase, a renaissance of sorts. He INSISTS on displaying his work all around the house. Yesterday, we were running a little low on wall space so the octopus was displayed in the bathroom.














The pumpkin was a project the preschoolers did in the spring (go figure) at the local retirement home. I unearthed it last week to use it as a decoration, but Duncan moved it to the lamp to share space with the star art that he did with Jamie earlier in the summer. It hung on the window in his bedroom until it moved down to the lamp. We have a similar piece in our bedroom.



When I made paper cranes for Christmas ornaments last year, Duncan really wanted to make one. His skills were not quite up to origami so I told him that if he colored the paper, I would fold it into a bird. I thought that within a few days, we'd toss it in the trash, but he wanted to hang it up, so it hovers in the kitchen door.


Yesterday, when Duncan started to recuperate from his stomach bug, he developed some cabin fever. We went outside to do some light yard work and collected pine cones and leaves for a project. The pine cones lay in waiting on the kitchen table.


As I mentioned above, Duncan is newly obsessed with writing. He has a renewed interest in drawing as well, but he will write, undisturbed, for 30 minutes at a time. The time between our return home and dinner is turning out to be a great time to practice writing, and I try to slip in a little light reading instruction as well...This is one of four pieces in our dining/living room. (Some of the writing is mine...don't be too impressed).  In the bottom, right hand corner, he turned an f and an h into mailboxes. On the bottom left, he turned my h into a b. On another piece (not shown), he turned the letter k into a teeter-totter.




This concludes my little tour into the landscape of our daily life. Take a look around yours. The artifacts are all around you, especially if a child spends time in your life. What can you learn from them? What do they say about you? I don't care if ours say that we're untidy. I care more that they show that a child's work is valued, that he has enough confidence in himself to want to display his wares, that we appreciate the outdoors, that we endeavor to bring the outdoors indoors, that our child is developing a sense of agency, and that he appreciates the time we spend together. He is the newest curator of our house and our personal history, and there is so much to learn from his exhibits.
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