When Molly was three we bought a copy of the movie Annie. The kids watched it, as kids do, over and over and over and over again. Molly know the songs backwards and forwards and sung them under her breathe or in whispered hums in the back of the car. If anyone acknowledged her singing, she immediately stopped.
Nine or 10 months later a local group was putting on a production of Annie and I decided to take Molly. She was excited to be going somewhere special with me but didn’t really know what to expect. She perched on my lap with her back straight to get the best look and when Annie came out, boldly and clearly singing the opening lyrics of “Tomorrow” Molly spun around in my lap and, eyes wide, exclaimed “She has an AMAZING voice!” – those words, out of a four year olds mouth, with that much passion- I loved it.
From that day on, Molly would belt out tomorrow at the top of her lungs from the backseat of the car. Or, in the shower, or living room. It was like she’d suddenly been granted permission to use her voice. If only as adults we just needed that little bit of reassurance, right? A few weeks ago, I saw a YouTube video about this 5 year old painting prodigy, Aelita Andre. The beautifully artistic video of her gracefully yet playfully painting in her studio made her appear etherial and angelic.
I think what was so compelling to me about it was that she was just doing what she wanted to do. No rules, no worries about using too much paint or making a mess or getting it wrong or staying in the lines…. the kind of freedom that only a child can capture without trying. So this weekend, I showed Molly and Liat this video and asked if they wanted to do it too. Like the singing, I knew that seeing someone her age express herself so freely would inspire Molly, who has a tendency towards shyness and has been known to freak out if she colors outside the lines. They were psyched. I printed out my Michaels 50% off Memorial Day coupons and we took a family trip to the craft store. Then we went down to the basement and got busy! Here’s a “before” pic and video of the action. I loved making this video- It made me laugh out loud doing a “knock-off” of the very serious vid above.
Truth? As the girls painted, it was hard to stop myself from offering guidance or directions. I wanted to say “Try it this way” or “Don’t mix those colors together” but I didn’t. I just let them go for it. I put out the paint and I put out the glitter and I let them figure it out. It was so tremendously relaxing and so amazing watching them just explore the paint, the colors and their creative freedom. I wanna do this. Maybe together with some friends, some wine, and some music, this would be a totally amazing way to tap into a Muchness that has been feeling stifled for far too long…. Who’s in? 🙂