Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pay Me Some Attention

I asked my five year old to draw the Human Figure Drawing.
I watched her quickly put a person together on paper and hold it up for my approval.
I smiled, but inside my heart sank.

We haven't done the Human Figure drawing in a long time. Months, really.
Her last drawing was so much more detailed.
What has been going on? And worse, why haven't I picked up on it?

We went through the checklist discussing the finer points of facial features and the accuracy of drawing.
We compared our real bodies to her drawing and noted the differences.
We talked in length about details and why noticing details are important (Great bridging and meaning happened at this point).
I ended our talk on pointing out all the things that she did that were precise and accurate.
She left the exercise in a place of success.

I looked at the drawing again, knowing that she's capable of more.
I studied the back of the Human Figure sheet and noticed that it talked about mediating a sense of belonging was needed if the limbs were tiny.

That made sense to me.
With our lives being a frenzy of activity with Jeep's physio therapy and our upheaval in schedule, I was barely having time for real one-on-one time with her. The frenzy had brought us to a place of co-existing. As a family, we were spending loads of time together but it was in the car driving Jeep places, going to the grocery store together, tidying up the house and so on...but I wasn't making time for the one-on-one snuggle time she craves.



And a discussion with her on my lap.
"We've been busy lately."
"Yeah," her soft reply.
"What have you missed us doing together?"
"Snuggling. Reading books. Playing with me. You haven't played with me much. We don't have tea parties or dance."
" I know. Mommy's been tired from all our running around and I haven't made time for special time. Can you forgive me?"
"Yes, of course."
"What are three things you'd like us to do together in the next few days?"
She thought and came up with three suggestions.
"What would you like to do right now?"
"Hmmm...just keep snuggling and sing together."

The next few days, my husband and I made a concerted effort to include her in our busyness. She became my helper on tasks that I had previously done by myself (you know, because I can get them done quicker if I do it alone. pffft.) My husband took her out on a date together where she was treated to dinner and a drink. They spent time giggling and telling stories. We became intentional about inviting her into play and discussion when the other kids were around.
We noticed marked improvement in her countenance and her interactions with everyone.

We sat down to do anther Human Figure Drawing.
Results were much improved. Detail, accuracy, precision were there as well as elements of things we had discussed before.

She was so excited after our discussion that she wanted to try another drawing, improving on this drawing with more details. Check out those eyelashes:

During this whole time, I recognized that my daughter loves verbal praise and affirmation. She is like me, in that way. Our primary love language is being told that we're doing a great job, that we're loved and that we are wanted.

I had originally approached the whole Human Figure Drawing in hopes to bring elevated awareness to her reading capabilities...but we got so much more out of it.
Now that she knows that she belongs, she is also ready to learn and is no longer resistant to direction.

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