As far as Aurora is concerned, every day is Halloween, so we hope all you moms had a “spooktacular” Mother’s Day!
Archive for Creative Kid
Between sickness and rain or snow, it’s been a very indoor month for us, but I do have a few more photos to share of our rainy-day (or quarantine) activities.
Knitting (for me) and celebrating Halloween in the mouse house (an all-year-round activity for Aurora);
Dancing (with or without unicorn);
Graduating to “tiny” Legos;
And in between colds and flus, we even got a small chance to embrace the winter weather, and go snowshoeing at Mt. Seymour. Well, two-thirds of us were on snowshoes, anyways:
Sometimes it’s a lot of fun to speculate on what your kid is going to be when he or she grows up. If he constantly plays his little guitar, will he be a musician? If she can’t get enough of building with blocks, will she be an architect? If he likes playing with fire, will he be a firefighter (or an arsonist)? Let’s play a little game here; I’ll tell you what I think Aurora will be when she grows up, and y’all can check back in a couple of decades to see if I was on the money.
My prediction: Theatre Director
- Aurora loves telling stories, all the time.
- The stories can be “written” by herself, or even better, co-written by one, two or three other people (just like a lot of screenplays).
- She loves putting all her “guys” (characters) into a variety of wacky scenarios.
- She repeats the scenarios over and over, manipulating one factor at a time, until she’s satisfied with the result.
- She’s very concerned with casting issues (more on this later).
- Most importantly, she is a natural at telling everyone around her what to do.
Right now Aurora is in the bathtub, mounting an elaborate stage version of Toy Story 2 with a variety of puppets and props. Many of the main characters came ready-made:
But the casting director had to make do with a variety of other duplo guys and random toys (and in one case a small Yukon Gold potato) to portray the rest of the large cast of characters. In previous stagings of TS2 and TS3, we’ve built Al’s apartment building and Sunnyside Daycare out of duplo blocks, and we have a garbage truck and a Pizza Planet delivery truck, too. We even have tiny suitcases for the climactic baggage conveyor belt scene in TS2. Last weekend Daddy and Aurora produced a 45-minute version of Toy Story 3 in which the director (AKA Aurora) stepped in to play Bonnie, the little girl who inherits all of Andy’s toys.
Tonight’s bathtime production got off to a rocky start when we had trouble finding the 2-inch-high actor who plays the character “Al”. Daddy and I put forward many similar-looking replacements (even a plastic chicken), but Aurora could not let the play begin until her Al, the guy in the grey shirt and black pants, was located.
So, what do you think? Will Aurora be the next Julie Taymor (the first woman to win a Tony award for best director)? Or will the recent purchase of a doctor kit swing her off in a new occupational direction? We shall see, we shall see…
Do you remember Coyote Party, Aurora’s first story? Charming, right? Nobody got eaten, right? Well, lately around here we’ve gotten stuck in a particular groove in the storytelling record. In almost every story Aurora tells these days, somebody gets eaten.
The Big, Bad Wolf started out just eating pigs or Little Red Riding Hood, but he’s moved on, apparently, to dinosaurs, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse guys, the Toy Story guys, Clifford the Big Red Dog, or anyone else foolhardy enough to enter a story being told jointly by Aurora and one of us. Her other favourite big eater is her crocodile puppet, who started out snapping up bratty, teasing monkey puppets, but whose massive appetite couldn’t be sated until he’d also eaten all the other felt finger puppets, including all five speckled frogs and their spotted log, an owl, Red, Grandma, the Wolf, and Horton the Elephant. Luckily, he always seemed to miss the Woodsman, who saved the day with his axe and released the victims from their reptilian holding cell.
The Big, Bad Wolf is especially persistent. Aurora likes us to take turns telling the story, so she’ll introduce a pair of characters, such as Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin. They very quickly get lost in the woods (in this case, the Hundred Acre Wood) and get eaten by the Wolf. Then it’s Mommy’s turn. I save them, by making the wolf lose his victims in one of any number of disgusting ways (there really is no good way out of a wolf)*. In Aurora’s imagination, just like in the original Red Riding Hood story, there is no such thing as digestion, so the characters pop out of the wolf still walking, talking and looking fine. Then, I hand the story back over to her, and the wolf promptly eats them again. So I save them again by some other means, and she makes them get eaten again, and again, and again. This afternoon I got totally fed up and decapitated the wolf, sending his head down the river, gone forever. She said, “Okay, that’s the end of Part One. Now it’s time for Part Two. Clifford and Emily Elizabeth were walking in the deep, dark woods when they got lost…”
* When Daddy is telling the story, he prefers less gruesome methods, such as tickling the wolf’s tummy (from inside) until he laughs, so they can jump out.
Do you remember, or have you heard about, the adventure serials that used to play before the feature film in movie theatres? The ones that inspired Steven Spielberg to write Indiana Jones? Well, Aurora’s writing (telling) her own serial these days, although the adventures are rather less harrowing than anything Indy had to face.
The storytelling usually starts with, “It was Friday day…” and then the cast of characters is introduced. This can take up to an hour, since it usually involves the characters in every story she’s enjoyed in the past two weeks. Then we get started with the plot, wherein the characters sometimes bounce balls down the stairs, go to the park, hide from the rain, bake a birthday cake, or whatever characters do. Aurora can go on for hours in this manner, but she relies upon well-timed comments on her story, so you’d better pay attention! This is not always possible, and I often try to get her to wrap the story up, so we can have a meal, go out, or get to sleep.
Her reply? “This is a story that never ends, Mommy.”
Aurora’s imagination is on rapid fire, and I sometimes get a little dizzy, switching from princess to princess. “Who is Mommy now? Belle, Ariel or Jasmine?” “You’re Mater, Mommy!” Here at the Castle/Radiator Springs, things have been pretty busy, but I have managed to take a few pictures of our activities.
Our little buddy Barrett loves waffles, so we had a waffle brunch for his 2nd birthday. They look like little grownups, happily munching on waffles at the kids’ table – with cutlery, no less!
My little creative genius working on the visual arts side of things. Nice Volcanos, kiddo.
Who needs a pesky older brother with the Beast/Max the Dog/Aladdin/Sheriff around?
Then last week Grandma Gail (Mrs. Potts/Sebastian the Crab/Nemo/Sally) came for a visit, so we did a few more fun things out of the house. First up, a Treasure Hunt. The hunt was Daddy’s idea, and he wrote the clues and did the setup. Mommy’s job was to make the prize: a board game called Pink Milk (based on Charlie & Lola).
Daddy set up clues for Aurora to find; inside her cardboard clubhouse, under the couch cushions, on a tree outside, and down the street at the big chessboard. She got so excited about finding each numbered clue, that I think she was disappointed to find an X rather than a #5 clue next to the apple tree in our backyard. She dug with her little shovel until she got bored, and then Daddy helped her unearth the buried treasure. Rolling the dice and moving the right way around the board is going to take some practice, but the four of us had a good time.
A few days later we took Grandma to Maplewood Farm. It’s been almost a year since we last went, and a much bolder Aurora was brave enough to actually feed the bunnies:
We went early enough in the morning that they were still a bit hungry, and were willing to take the carrots and celery they were offered.
The goats were still a bit intimidating, although I didn’t have to force Aurora to pat them this time. Mostly she wanted to climb the rocky goat hills.
Grandma’s favourite part was the Wood Duck sighting. They’re nowhere near as common as Mallards, and we saw three pair that day.
Then it started raining again, so we undertook an activity that should occupy us for many rainy days to come: making a doll house. A couple of large boxes, some glue, tape and a utility knife later, and we’ve got a four-room abode for a small family of happy mice (thanks, Grandma Gail!). Just like in real life, the attic is storage space for the “lumber” and supplies for making more furniture and renos. It just looks like cardboard now, but I’ve got plans, big plans. Stay tuned.