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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ed Emberley Therapy

I've been trying to make an extra effort to make time for one-on-one stuff with BB. It's not that the kid doesn't get enough attention -- heaven knows she gets PLENTY, both from me and from S -- but things have been busy this summer, and with the start of school for BJ I think she's felt left out of things a bit. From the frequency and intensity of some recent meltdowns, it's been made clear that she would benefit from more focused positive feedback from me.

(Meltdowns? Our sweet BB? Alas, yes. While she's still usually her lovely self, we've had increasing incidences of defiance and power struggles. To give a specific example: during the first week of BJ's school, she had taken to storming off while we were walking BJ home from school. She ran away down the sidewalk, much too far away from me for my comfort not to mention her safety, wouldn't stop when asked, and ended up with me having to chase her down the block. More than once. Not Good. And when taken to task for such behavior, she said outright that she felt left out and needed more attention. Hm! She's also had more than one post-preschool hysterical fit which culminated in her crying in her bed and wailing, "I feel like I have No Love In My Heart!!!")

(I know!!!)

I know, too, that I've not always been at my cheerful best lately (sleep issues, crazy busy with pending start of school, and mostly, I think, simply Mommy At The End Of The Summer Feeling Like She Needs Some Time To Herself, etc) and I'm sure that hasn't been helping things. (Know that saying, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy? Hm.)

Clearly BB and I both needed some Ed Emberley Therapy.

Collaborative Fingerprint Art by BB and Me

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do was to make fingerprint art, following my beloved copy of Ed Emberley's Thumbprint Drawing Book. I'd make everything from intricate garden scenes to elaborate fantasy football end-of-game freeze frames, customized to my father's fan preferences, with wee thumbprint Dallas Cowboys beating the dastardly thumprint Pittsburgh Steelers 1001 to zero, celebratory linebackers with their little pencil-line arms thrust into the air with the thrill of victory. (And this was before fantasty football. This was also back when my professed answers to "What do you want to be when you grow up?" included "A Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader so my daddy can see me on TV!" That explains something, I'm sure. Just not sure what.)

A while back, my mom (bless her!) had sent the kids a copy of the book, and as I paged through the crisp, clean copy, it was great fun to remember all the good times I'd had with it. (And to wonder, whatever happened to my battered old copy?) I'd put aside the brand-new book to bring it out as a special thing. BB got one look at it, and she was entranced. It's interesting that in first grade, I spent many an hour with pink fingertips, engrossed in my thumbprint art, and my own first-grader BJ, so far, has shown no interest in it. But BB is having a blast!

BB's fingerprint art -- lots of cattails and flowers. Note the kitty cat towards the bottom left and the lion in the upper right, both straight out of Emberley's instructions!

We've now covered many pieces of paper with colored fingerprints and had a wonderful time doing it. The books are truly a treasure, so clear and clever and cute and creative -- his step-by-step directions are easy to follow, and it's just plain good fun. BB likes doing her own drawings, of course, and she also enjoys doing ones together, like this garden scene. (I especially like the bird at the top of the tree and the striped red honeypot that she put in at the bottom after I drew the bumblebee at the top right.)

Thumbprint Garden with Honeypot by BB and Me

I think happiness may be an ink-stained thumb. (Temporarily, at least.)

Thank you, Ed Emberley! (And thank you, Mom, for sending along the book!)

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