Treehouse Shakers

Treehouse Shakers
Hatched, BAM Fisher, Hillman Studio

Monday, March 26, 2012

Creating A Creative Child

Teaching my daughter to be creative comes easily to me. I was raised by a painter, so in many ways I am raising her similarly to the way I was raised. Except instead of watching her mother paint, my daughter sees me pretending for a living. She also sees me directing, writing, negotiating.

22 months, exploring homemade playdough
I wasn't sure how I would juggle motherhood with a career in the arts, but I knew I wasn't going to give up what my business partner, Emily and I had created and built. Shortly after my daughter was born, I found out what that juggling would exactly mean. I wrote the majority of our dance-play, Let's Talk About IT! with my daughter in my lap; mostly nursing, and the sound of her sleep machine set to the ocean. She returned to rehearsal with me at three months old, strapped to my stomach, as I caught the subway to our rehearsal space in Queens. At rehearsal, I jumped back and forth between nursing and learning the choreography for Let's Talk About IT! I also relied so much on Emily (an entire blog could be dedicated to all she has done for us) and company members. They helped me gear back up for the subway, held her, cooed and rocked her back to sleep. They were the ones who visited us back home, took me out of the apartment in the early weeks, and helped with babysitting. My overall sanity nurtured by their laughter and support. They are our family.

My daughter backstage with Emily and myself at 18 months at Victoria Theater Association
By six months old my daughter had already been to two arts conferences, tours in Massachusetts and Wyoming, board meetings, business meetings, mailings and many performances by colleagues. I introduced her to art museums, music, yoga classes, read to her, and had her explore textures; shaving cream, feathers, fabrics. I told her stories, rehearsed my storytelling performances for her, and danced with her in the living room while remembering my steps.

Stretching with Aunt Emily at 2 in the dance studio, Wyoming
Now three, she has been to more performances than most adults will ever be in their entire lifetime. She loves performances, and will quickly shush the other children should they break the code of theater etiquette. She pretends to write grants for her fairies while I am on a deadline, helps put stamps on the mailings, and plays director in her room. She also dresses up, uses voices, and is already reading a variety of words. She loves taking pictures and rushes to her art sets daily to paint and draw. She immerses quickly into creative play, can tell a story with a clear beginning, middle and end. It is an understatement to say she is obsessed with folklore, myth and fairy tales. We spend hours contemplating mermaids, dragons, and witches.
After a show of Desert Travels, age 3
Playing Wizard of OZ dress-up, age 3
As she grows, we will continue to support her into whomever she becomes. For now, though, I hope her creativity continues to lend itself to a life that is inquisitive, thoughtful and caring. This creativity will help foster problem solving, create emotional health, and support her to make strong choices in life. It is also a delightfully fun way to parent.

1 comment:

  1. Mara:
    Love this post...being an artist and parent is the strangest and most rewarding thing! Sawyer (6) can't wait to get on the ladder and hang lights with Aunt Star, Star's daughter Jade creates ballets all over the place and my other friend Jen's 12 year old, Skye, is an example of what we hope we see in their futures. Skye works professionally all over town, but her mama makes sure that she still has real life! Travel! Dances! Friends! Homework! Like I told Jen yesterday, if Skye ever changes her mind and decides she's really wanting to be a zoologist, Jen will be making the reservations for their trip to Kenya. Because art doesn't close us down--it opens us up! And our awesome kiddos are learning fun and discipline simultaneously!!!! Love you, Kellie