The lovely Jas over at http://lotusdreams65.wordpress.com/ left me a very humbling comment yesterday. I had let my fingers translate the tangle that often resides in the space between my heart and my head, and a post about death emerged… Maybe not the most jolly subject, but one which I do think could bear to be in our living a little more.
She wrote “awesome at drawing us in”…
Let me breathe that in for a moment, hold it and release it. Accepting compliments doesn’t come easily, but in giving them I’ve tried really hard to learn to accept them. So… I (sometimes) have the ability to draw you in…
I also have a slightly wicked sense of humour!
Oh… and a little warning. I am not an artist. I have an extremely talented sister who (by the way, listening sis?) should really set up a blog to share some of her amazing stories, illustrations and paintings… just lovely. Me? I use tracing or copying a fair bit and I try very hard not to get stuck on perfectionism or I’d never lift a pencil. And with three children who learn primarily visually, that would be a disaster!!
My house is covered in visual timetables, I am the queen of reward charts, instructions and helpful visual hints to manage everything from temper tantrums to remembering to apply deodorants. They don’t always… strike that, they don’t often work for long, but I can churn out visual cues like a … visual cue machine. Ok, I ran out of similes, it was getting a little silly.
Anyway, all this to say that with three children (oh, ad Darling Man who surprisingly responds rather well and without realising it to little pictures suggesting that today is a shaving day!!) who struggle with day to day life, I have learned to be resourceful. Part of this resourcefulness is to put to one side my fear of drawing something which doesn’t look as it does in my imagination and just get the pens out!
So… I draw people in…
Oh my, every time I hear that, I feel it… what a special, special thing to be able to gather people to my heart, my life, my little slice of day and night. I’m not going to pretend to dispense words of wisdom – goodness knows I’m just dealing with one, very specific set of circumstance – I’m in no position to tell anyone how to do their living!
And then I draw people in… Which is what this collection of silly drawings and stories is all about.
Little Man has some weird and wonderful learning difficulty. He is SMART!!! And quick and sweet and insightful. And at the same time, he has a short term memory that a fruit fly would be proud of, a goldfish would be happy with and a hyperactive dog would recognise. Learning things like times tables and spellings is next to impossible – by which I mean it’s V E R Y slow and involves loads, and loads, and loads of repetition. And as I discovered recently, context is also very very helpful!
Each time he brings home some homework my brain does somersaults… how will I get that knowledge into his brain in such a way that it will make its mark in long term memory.
And just a few weeks ago, I thought of picture stories! My plan was to have a picture that would incorporate all the words that had something in common: sniff,stiff, cliff,or bluff, cuff, stuff.
Oh… a little aside. Bluff? Really? How do you go about explaining the meaning of the word to a 9 year old (not least one who functions more like a 5 year old). I was tempted to use the “cliff” meaning, but given that that word was already on the list for the week I thought it would be rather confusing. Best I could do was a version of lying. It’s not perfect, but hey… remember I’m a mum! And I’m trying (really, really hard, against all the odds) to instil in my kids a sense of right and wrong, some mild morality!! So the grey area of words like bluff is not one I enjoy! Pinocchio hiding biscuits (stuff) in the cuff of his sleeve and blaming the dog (bluff) while his nose grows was the best I could do. (No, sorry, that’s entirely false modesty… I was truly proud of myself for that tour de force!)
So far so good – full marks on a spelling test, and I knew he had those down. Does he need some reminders about the double f? Yes, but he’s getting there.
And then… the teacher sent a list of words with NO COMMON PATTERN. Oh. me. oh. my. My imagination has been stretched to breaking point! Tom responds really well to characters, so it’s really important for me to draw him in… either by attracting his laughter, or his surprise. Even now, he gets a visible buzz at seeing his name in a story. So sometimes, like today, I drew him in. Look out for Super Tom below!!
And everyone else… grab a pen and do something silly, funny, useful with it… Draw someone in.