Yesterday Betty and I went to the library so that I could "Cheat" as an artist. I'm painting something for a friend and it really needs to be perfect so, rather than risking it myself (although I know I could have done it) I cheated and projected an image onto the canvas so that I could trace it. I know... it's like the worst thing I could possibly do but at least it will look good, right? and it was really blurry anyway so I couldn't really trace it - I just used it to make sure I got the proportions right... I'm sorry.
Anyway I only tell you that (other than to clear my conscience)in order to tell you about how fun it was to take Betty to the library. I love watching her play and explore new things and make friends. She met a little girl named Abbey and said hi to her and shared her toys. Good moments. We read a really amazing children's book entitled "Jeremy Draws a Monster" by Peter McCarty. The book is so creative and different - It's exactly the type of book I want Betty to read a lot! And it was perfect to read after we had our creative time. While I was sketching on my canvas betty was scribbling away on paper. every time I do something creative, actually, Betty is right there creating too. She loves to read all sorts of books and will draw and explore for hours completely entertained with no help from anyone. It's hard to explain my desire to nurtrure this creative spirit in Betty. Growing up it was such a part of my daily process to be creative somehow and it lasted through highschool ( I'm not saying that I was good at it, mind you.). It was just a part of me and I would naturally be drawn to make and create and improve. I used to make my own paper-mache animals and my own dolls with modeling clay - I'd build whole villages for them and play with them for weeks until they got all dusty and gunky. I was always drawing and reading and imagining little worlds in my back yard. I was a weird kid. I even remember making up a little elvish world for the kids I used to babysit. So weird. Anyway somewhere after high school I stopped being able to access that part of me - I guess you could say I was depressed. I still considered myself to be artistic but I didn't take any joy in it. The love of the little things was lost and I was always grumpy. Since having Betty though, the joy is back. I'm so excited now to create a lovely and whimsical world of imagination for Betty. I remember how real and possible everything was when I was little and I really want her to be able to be joyfully creative and authentically enthusiastic about the world around her. There's another amazing book I've been reading called "Bringing up Geeks" by Marybeth Hicks and it's so encouraging. It really focuses on allowing children to be children. To be their authentic selves and to not be afraid to be excited about their interests - to be different and unique and imaginative. Kids can be so Jaded and it can be so scary to be different but this book has assured me that I can find a way to make sure that Betty is comfortable and secure with who she is then it won't matter if anyone else thinks she's weird.
I want to clarify that the term "weirdo" is being used here in the absolute best possible way. I really want Betty to be able to be as weird as she wants to be. I think confident and genuine weirdos have the fullest lives. They can take risks and make mistakes without it hurting their pride and they can bounce back quickly (something I lack actually.) They can have unique ideas and perspectives and they aren't threatened by other weirdos. I bet if you know a genuinely kind and infectiously positive person then that person is also a confident weirdo. Maybe That's all I want is for Betty to be comfortable with who she is no matter who that person ends up being. I want Betty to be able read and create and imagine fully and freely because if she's happy inside her own head then she'll always be able to find comfort and joy, and as long as she's happy with who she is then she can spread that good vibe elsewhere and make the people around her feel good about themselves as well. Does this make sense? What other values do you think are imortant to cultivate in children?