An Artist-Mama's Perspective

Welcome to the August Carnival of Natural Parenting: Creating With Kids

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This viagra sales drug month our participants have shared how they make messes and masterpieces with children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I’m an artist and that is a big part of who I am, which is probably obvious from my two online incarnations as The ArtsyMama and The Artful Mama.  Well this doesn’t mean a whole lot to a toddler that has his own idea of what is creative and how he’d most like to express himself.  So as a parent I’ve had to remind myself that my son is his own person and he may be no more interested in drawing then whether or not this purple crayon tastes better then that green one.  So what is a creative mother to do with a creatively different child?  Embrace his creative outlet!

Little Man loves music and dancing and I like to think there are things I did that helped influence this.  The first week we started nursing and Little Man would scream and scream and not latch, I hummed to keep myself calm and to try to calm him.  When Little Man was small I would walk around our neighborhood and blast my Pandora Radio App as he slept happily in the stroller.  When I would get frustrated or overwhelmed by myself all day, I would sing whatever I was doing.  I grew up watching musicals with my grandmother and everything can be sung and danced. What better time to live like you are in a musical, then with a baby?

From the time he could crawl, he swayed back and forth to music.  As he learned to stand, he bounced his knees with the music.  As he learned to walk, he added pirouettes (walking slowly in a circle) and stomping with the music.  If there is music, you can bet he’ll be listening and moving.  I embrace his exploits with musical instruments, I even bought him a music set that had a drum, tambourine, maraca and shakers in it for his first birthday.  Our family couldn’t understand why I would do that to myself, since I turn off all the “music” on his baby toys.  My feeling is the music he makes is better then any annoying pre-recorded electronic noise that a plastic alligator repeats over and over.

If we have the television on, he only stops what he is doing to pay attention when there is music.  Since the return of “So You Think You Can Dance” we have been watching together and he is glued to the television.  If he likes the music, he joins in and bops his head back and forth or dances with them.  On the numbers I love, I pick him up and spin around the room to the quickstep or latin music which he gleefully squeals and asks for more.  These are happy moments that I share with my son in the creative outlet of his choice.

Part of being a natural parent for me is to allow my son to explore the world and to develop into his own person.  Together we share a love of the arts, but we each like to express ourselves in different ways.  I enjoy dancing and singing with him and he does humor me by quietly sitting and scribbling over the drawings I make for him.  I have made the promise to myself and him that I will not push my wants on him and work to keep that promise every day.  What are the creative things you like to do with your children?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Family Draw Time Art ShowKate Wicker shares art (and inspiration!) from her family’s cherished tradition of family draw time.
  • The Rules of Creativity: Learning to Create with the “Non-Creative” — Zoe at Give an Earthly shares how she learned to accept her “non-creative” child and claims that anyone, child or adult, can be creative given the right handling and environment.
  • Creating With Kids: 4 Ways That Work For Us — See how Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings nurtures creativity with her kids through craft projects, outdoor creative play, celebrating the creative process, and setting up “little spaces of beauty.”
  • Creating memories, not things — Mrs. Green from Little Green Blog reflects on life with a ten year old and how ‘creating together’ has evolved from ‘things’ to memories.
  • The Gift of Creation — It may be hot, but Kellie at Our Mindful Life is already thinking about winter.
  • Hidden Talents — Sylvia at MaMammalia describes how providing the opportunity for creativity sometimes means learning to look for hidden talents in unusual places.
  • Creating Joy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she and her one year-old son create joy for their community.
  • How to do Crafts with Kids — Gaby from Tmuffin guest posts at Natural Parents Network and describes how to keep things simple when doing crafts with kids for magical (easy-to-clean, and tantrum-free) results.
  • Sugar & Spice & Baking on the Kitchen Floor — Carrie at Love Notes Mama enjoys making a mess in the kitchen with her daughter.
  • Young Scientist Makes Purple Potion — Hannah at Wild Parenting loves being a lab assistant for the young scientist in her life.
  • Making a butterfly house — Lauren at Hobo Mama demonstrates the proper way to build a wooden butterfly house with a preschooler.
  • Nurturing Creativity — Amyables at Toddler In Tow shares the enjoyment she feels in nurturing the creativity of her children.
  • Home School Music – Sparking A New Generation Of Musicians — Based on her musical background, Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey talks about how she creates with and teaches music to her children.
  • Creating (im)perfectly TogetherMudpiemama shares some of the highlights of a summer spent building everything from ships to hoops but most of a lesson on letting go of perfection.
  • Family Soccer Kick Around — When her children wanted to play soccer, Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children helped organize something that would work for her family.
  • Creating Memories Together on Skype — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how you can create memories online with adult children or anyone who lives in another city or country.
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31 Responses to An Artist-Mama's Perspective

  1. A.Flippin.Men. on the sentiment about homemade music being better than electronic music in plastic toys. Kieran has a whole basket of musical instruments. I must admit, there are a few I have to put up high occasionally b/c they are SO loud – but I do bring them out and dust them off once in awhile. And the drums, kazoos, harmonicas, etc. stay out full time. Music = art – good for you for following his lead!

    • My aunt was saying the other day about getting him a drum set because he was banging a fork on the dishes and dinner and my mom told her he has one. My aunt wanted to know who got it for him, because she wasn’t allowed to get them for us as kids. My mom says – “Your niece bought it, she wasn’t giving anyone else the satisfaction of buying it for him.” I love his drumming but I do hide the tambourine from time to time. I love that he is now picking up on the songs I whistle or hum and tries to do it himself. It made me remember how hard I worked to learn to whistle as a child and how proud I was when I finally did it.

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  6. Isn’t it so fun to see kids creating their own music! Mikko’s current thing is to cut me off whenever I try to teach him a song and tell me he knows a better one. Then he’ll sing a version of my lyrics, free-form and in a semi-monotone that goes on and on and on and on. It cracks me up. But at least he’s being creative!

    • My husband does that – his version of any song always includes some reference to our pugs. I really am enjoying this part of Little Man’s creativity. I cannot wait to take him to his first broadway show!

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  13. Isil says:

    My little boy loves dancing so much, just like your son. Boy, those tambourines are just so loud! lol. I have bought a drum set though. Because he loves banging things. Music is a great outlet for them to express themselves.

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  17. Terri says:

    Music, music, music! We love it in our house too. I totally agree on your sentiments regarding the electronic toys vs homemade music…I can most of the time tolerate really loud drums, guitar, recorders etc but a squeaky pre-recorded ditty drives me nuts after about 2 minutes. I also love it when my kids make lots of noise because it means I know exactly where they are and they are not getting into mischief! (my 22mo will try to pull down the computer from my desk when my back is turned but when he has a drum I am safe!) It’s great to be able to sing to and with the kids all day and like you said, live life like you are in a musical! Happy Days Mama

  18. Momma Jorje says:

    Aw, this is beautiful! And such a healthy attitude. It is important to take an interest in what interests our kids. Probably a lot easier to get started when they’re young than wait til they’re older.

    I can picture your son dancing happily… so sweet. :)

    • Thanks Momma Jorje. I really do enjoy being a part of what interests him. It enriches our relationship so much when I learn more about who he is as a growing person.

  19. There’s so much I love here – the mental picture of joyful toddler dancing, self-expression through music, nurturing our children’s creativity. We had a similar philosophy on musical toys (nothing electronic or automatic, but if they made the music it was celebrated) and got similar reactions from family (sometimes frustrated because they couldn’t see the distinction between the toys we banned and the ones we allowed). Now, at age 5, we get a lot of free form singing, with a dose of kazoo for good measure!

    • I used to love those dime store kazoos as a kid. I’m waiting to give him one of those yet because I don’t want him using my straw as a kazoo while he is sharing my drink! I get that from our family as well. I think it can be frustrating on both ends because they want to give him something he will like but at the same time they are not always quick to ask. I also feel weird about it but, setting up “registries” to ensure our wishes are respected as well has been easier.

  20. What an insightful post! I have several artist friends and I always love to watch how well they step back and allow their children to either be creative in a different way or to not really be creative at all. It sounds like you are doing everything right. Your son is happy with his creative outlets and that is what matters most!

    P.S. I love SYTYCD oh so much! I was a dancer for much of my life (starting at age 2) and would love for my daughter to go that route but am waiting for her to express an interest.

    • Now that it is ended, I am not sure what we are going to do on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. He actually fell asleep early on the evening of the finally and he woke up 30 minutes into it crying and wouldn’t go back down until I brought him out to watch. I DVR’d the last episode but I don’t know how many times I could watch it. ;)

  21. This is fab – interestingly my DD and I are like this but the other way around; I’m the musician and she is the artist, but like you we embrace our differences and respect and support one another’s creative expression.

    • I think if high school had been different and I didn’t have to make the choice I still would have stayed in choir and taken art classes. But my heart lies with visual arts. Hopefully if Little Man does pick up any artist tendencies later, he won’t have to make the choice.

  22. Haha! My son also likes to eat crayons but loves music and dancing! I also bought him a percussion set for his 1st birthday, but he seems to prefer music he can dance to. I appreciate and agree with your view of nurturing their natural interests. Good thing, too, or we’d be cleaning up half-digested crayons instead of watching amusing dances!

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