Monday, 3 November 2008

Darn Those Motherly Urges

Since every other day during the week is filled with extra curricular activities for the children, I used today, Monday, as the time to whip together a homemade "pin the tail on the donkey" poster for Marta's 8th birthday party this coming Friday. Except it wasn't a donkey. Instead, I agreed to draw a Sandra Boynton pig by special request of the birthday girl herself.

At first, I thought I would be designing the poster alone. And being as much of a perfectionist as I am an artist, I had an elaborate and meticulous design planned out in my head to 'wow' the children. I must admit, my heart sunk a little when Marta, Pietro and Anna started insisting on assisting me with not only the colouring, but also the drawing itself. It was a difficult amount of control for me to relinquish since I have always preferred to draw alone and have never had young children around to twist my arm.

However, that hour I spent drawing with the children turned out to be one of the best moments during my time here so far. I found that the more work I gave the children to do on the poster, the more they warmed up to me. It didn't matter anymore that the poster wasn't perfect -- we were having a good time together, and that was enough. Anna was in charge of gluing down the stars while Pietro took to drawing various faces on them, and Marta and I did most of the colouring and the designing. My heart especially swelled when Pietro affectionately babbled over and over, "Heather is such a wonderful artist. I love her drawings." I was good and ready to give up my freedom and produce my own affectionate little spawn right then and there!

I might as well mention as a side note that the kids no longer despise speaking English. In fact, all of them now make a conscious effort to memorize and use the new phrases and words that they learn. And now that they are genuinely interested, boy, has the speed of their learning picked up! I would say that Pietro averages fifteen new words a day, while Marta and Anna are only trailing behind slightly. (And then there is me who feels lucky if she remembers even a couple of phrases a day!) I cannot wait for the day when I will actually be able to hold a full conversation with them, with the knowledge that everything THEY know is the product of what I have taught them.

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