The kids are here on the farm fulltime, no breaks, no snooze button. I’ve never had the energy to parse them out to various camps or pay-by-day activities so we spend each glorious day growing and learning as a family. I’ve always been fond of Idle parenting. With four kids, you don’t have much of a choice. So the kids get bored. I love it when they get bored. When the kids get bored, they find cool stuff to do. The day runs along in waves. Low waves of easy entertainment with a little T.V. or some computer time. Things that require very little energy to participate. Then we head into a transition period while they whine or complain or run around before they set into a new adventure. When there is no T.V. and no computer, magic happens. The kids come up with great games. Because the kids live on a small farm with tons of old, crazy found objects and barns and rooms, they have the freedom to get totally lost in their made-up world. When they’re done with that, they enjoy the many functions of plain white paper. They will draw. They will wad and toss. They will fly. They will fold. Paper has many uses. Zélie has even crumpled it up and gave it a little cuddle ( she’s not deprived of cuddly objects, she’s a bit of an over cuddler. She likes to say, “aaaaaaaaah.” ). Lucy has been motivated to write a book a week. She is a great story teller. She’s written many books for everybody. She writes more than a book a week, but I’ve asked her to pick her favorite. I don’t really care if she’s talented or not because she is motivated. If the kids are motivated, we like to step aside and let them run with it. Her motivation is contagious because Otto and Minty are also writing their books. Each one with illustration. Each one with Lucy’s binding and publishing techniques.
I enjoy hearing their stories. Kids write the books they want to read. So many children’s books are written for parents. Olivia, a much loved children’s book, drives me nuts. I read an Olivia book to the kids and I spend most of the time explaining the inside parental jokes conveyed with the text and the image. The text says a straightforward line while the image contradicts the text in a funny parental way which leads down a road of twenty-questions on book review and “why is she saying that?” conversation. I love to review books, projects, art, whatever, but I’m trying to read a book to my kid and enjoy the story. We are not enjoying the story. We are analyzing the author’s writing technique and general empire building. A fair lesson I suppose. Yeah, that’s right, I know it’s sacrilegious, but I don’t like Olivia the pig. I like straightforward story telling like Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy. I like First Book of Sushi., Henry Hikes to Fitchburg ( which has parental signaling without all the inside jokes ) and Some Dogs Do. The kids get sucked into the story.
“Love Heart” by Minty Curtis
Minty’s writing tip of the week: Do a little ball to stop it.
“I wrote it and wrote it and then I do a little ball to stop it.” I think Minty is on to something. All those fancy punctuation marks can do more harm then good. When you’re writing a story, she says, you need to stick a little ball on the end to stop it.
This week, we have Mr. No! Shoes!
Long Story Short: Man has no shoes and wonders why. Writes a letter (signed with only hugs) and gets shoes sent to him in the mail.
… and my favorite Children’s book brilliantly created and read by Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey in BlackBooks: