It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Making My Statement

I was browsing about on Pinterest, as one does when one has a few spare minutes nothing better to do is putting off stripping and waxing the kitchen floor. Because stripping and waxing a kitchen floor is something that can best be done at 10 p.m.  OBVIOUSLY!! But it is not 10 p.m. yet. So, right now the best use of my time, the very best, is looking at pictures of Statement Walls.

Statement walls have been around forever, of course. I didn’t just discover them. Neither did you. People were doing statement walls 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago, but they called them ‘accent walls’, or ‘the rogue’s gallery’, or “our holiday souvenirs”, or “all my favourite stuff, arranged prettily”.

Still, they’re fun. Here’s a nice peaceful one for a bedroom:

statement1Or a cheap, rustic one for a tiny bathroom:

statement2

Or this one for a kitchen. (Actually, though this is cool, what I really I covet are the penny-tiled countertops I’ve seen. Too bad we don’t have pennies in Canada any more! Also, for some reason I find this kitchen bleak. But the wall is interesting.)

statement3

You know how it is. You see these things, and you think, “Hey! I could do that! I could be all cool and slick and organized and design-y!” You don’t? It just makes you feel hopelessly inadequate? Oh, dear. I’m so sorry. I hope I haven’t made you feel bad. See, for me, this stuff energizes me! Thrills me to the core! Inspires vast outpourings of wannabe creative juices! Because, really! I have walls, right? And I have pictures! I could do shit like this!

I could! I just know it! And then I, too, could live in a slick, clever, designer-y home that just screams “SOPHISTICATED, INTELLIGENT, WITH-IT WOMAN LIVES HERE!” (The observation that sophisticated people do not pepper their writing with BLOCK CAPS and exclamation points!!! is well taken. I will try to rein it in, and thus up my sophistication quotient.)

Pallets are cheap. The fact that I have no idea where to get pallets, that they’re probably full of nasty preservatives and absolutely Ground Zero for splinters doesn’t ruffle my consciousness. Because that wall in that bathroom is cool!

And pennies? Pennies can be had for, well, pennies!! Well. Not no more, here in Canada. Okay. So no pennies. But oh, my happily creating little mind says, how about buttons? Buttons would be just perfect for a craft room! I bet I could make a wall of buttons in a craft room!! No, I don’t actually have a craft room, but just think what a bright, fun, playful statement a wall of buttons would make!!

You can see why Pinterest is such a bad bad fun fun place for me!

So I start looking around my small house. Surely there’s potential somewhere.  I wander through my home with an eye to a spot to Make My Statement.

I find rooms that have essentially no walls. (How does the ceiling stay up with all those doors and windows?) I find rooms that are too small, too damp (ew, is that mold in the bathroom?), too full of other stuff, walls that are hidden behind shelves and closet rails.

All I need is one wall. Just one. Should it be so difficult to find?

I wander into the dining room. There it is! My long, clear, un-doored, un-windowed, un-obstructed, potential Statement Wall. Right on the main floor! Only there’s a lot of stuff to be taken down first. Stuff. Oh, the stuff. So much stuff. Daycares, I tell you. They clutter your home, people. It’s outrageous.

I mean, just look at it:

A calendar and weather cards. An alphabet, stretching as far as the eye can see…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Number cards, art work, Hippos preparing to Go Berserk

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Red yarn for hanging art work, graphs and charts and plans for the day and week. The alphabet even sneaks round the corner and onto the next wall!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

How on earth can I make any kind of statement with all that STUFF?

Except…

Could it be?

There is a certain theme here. A playful motif. A whimsical consistency. Internal integrity. I look at the clutter that is my dining room wall. I look at the stuff. ALL THAT STUFF!

And, with a sudden blinding flash of clarity and insight I realize I am looking at a Statement Wall. An inadvertent statement wall, but a Statement Wall nonetheless. I am so happy. I have succeeded without even trying. I am a Design Idiot Savant. It’s very clear. The Statement this wall is making?

“This is a Daycare, dummy.”

Pinterest would be so proud.

 

October 14, 2014 Posted by | daycare, Mischief | , , | 2 Comments

Read it again!!!

Parenting (stop me if you’ve heard this) is not one long sunny journey of laughter-filled days. Though of course it has its joys, and of course, creating a happy, functional adult is the ultimate reward, there are lots of exhausted bits, frustrating bits, and stretches of tedium.

One of those, books, comes early. We know books are good for kids. We all probably genuinely enjoy reading. So you take your precious bundle into your lap just about as soon as they can hold their head up, and you start reading to them. Mommy or Daddy’s voice, a warm lap, the comfort of your arms around them. Reading a book is like a great big hug! OF COURSE they will learn to love reading!!

But at first, of course, they can’t read. At first, they have to be read to. (And you may certainly continue that long past the time they can read on their own. I have many warm memories of chapter books read to school-age children, the whole family a cuddling lump of happiness.)

When they are teeny infants, you choose the book, you read the words, you talk about the pictures. You laugh as an excited, dimpled hand swats the pages. Then you choose another book.

Then they become toddlers, and they still love to be read to. So you choose a book … and they loudly object. “Not that book! THIS one!!!” and hand you “Snoofy and Bumpus Learn to Wipe their Bums”. You do not want to read Snoofy and Bumpus. You have read Snoofy and Bumpus every damned day for the past three months. You have even read Snoofy and Bumpus more than once each day. In fact, you know that were it not for a few tantrums (yours) you would have read Snoofy and Bumpus fifteen times back-to-back every day for three months.

You hate Snoofy and Bumpus. You are also harboring serious doubts about your child’s sanity, or at least her intelligence. You have no doubts at all about her literary taste: It stinks.

We can talk some other time about ways to deal with this Common Parenting Challenge, but today we’re going to try to take a more positive approach. Today we are going to list books that we honestly don’t mind reading many times.

Perhaps not many times in a row. Adults, we all know by now, are sorely lacking in attention span, at least when compared to their obsessive-compulsive toddler. But a book you don’t mind reading daily. There are such books!

… Or maybe I’ve just been hanging around toddlers so long they’re starting to rub off on me. Possible. But I do have a few books that I have read literally hundreds of times down the years, and I still enjoy reading them. Seriously.

So, for the record: MARY’S LIST OF RE-READABLE BOOKS

Are You My Mother? Lots of opportunity for a dramatic read in this one, and though some of your more delicate flowers might find it a bit fraught if you pour on the emoting too convincingly, it’s a great read.

Hippos Go Beserk! I love the rowdy rhythm of this book. Just love it.

In fact, Sandra Boynton makes it to my list more than once, with

Blue Hat, Green Hat
But Not the Hippopotamus (Real opportunity to teach empathy and talk about social exclusion, in very simple terms)
The Belly Button Book
The Going to Bed Book
Moo, Baa, LaLaLa
and
Barnyard Dance.

From Head to Toe, by Eric Carle (So fun to see a bunch of toddlers try to wiggle their hips. Because of course you do the actions as the book is read!)

Something from Nothing. There are two stories going on at once in this beautifully illustrated book, one of the boy and his wonderful blanket/coat/vest/handerchief… and one of the mice who live under the floor at his grandparent’s home. Lovely story, lovely to look at. Beautiful book.

I’m sure there are more. I have not been reading the same handful of books for decades, but those will do for a start. How about you? What book(s) can you read repeatedly without pain? Share, please! Every parent needs a bunch of these!

September 11, 2012 Posted by | books | , , , , | 19 Comments