By Contributing Mama Daphne Biener
Looks like we’re going to make it through kindergarten. I guess that all Acadia really needed was some time. Time, that is, and a cupcake or twelve.
With almost every kid in her class celebrating a birthday in August or September, it’s a rare day that she comes home without frosting smeared all over her face. I’ll tell you, a cupcake a day goes a long way towards developing some happy-about-school feelings.
There is one thing in the ever-changing roller coaster ride of parenting that I have found to be completely reliable. As soon as you get settled in; as soon as you get your head wrapped around an issue; as soon as that last tear has been wiped and you start thinking, sure I can handle this – then WHAM something new crashes into life like a tornado in a toaster oven. You just never see it coming.
Like elementary school art class.
Art class? Oh you mean your district is cutting back on the humanities? No, you see, that issue I would have expected. An outrage, yes, but within the realm of what is out there.
No, my almost five year-old has her little fists clenched in rage over her school art teacher. The first day of Friday art class, she came home in tears, muttering incomprehensibly about the teacher making her put the wrong kind of feathers on her birds when she ALREADY knows how to make a bird.
I’m sorry to admit that I did not really take her seriously. She stopped crying and things rolled smoothly ahead into the next week until Friday showed up and she came home in tears, again. Citing art as the problem, again.
This time, I sat with it, wading through the hyperventilation and the sobs until, at last, I deciphered the issue. I wanted to believe her, but come on, really? What kind of person, never mind an elementary school teacher would DRAW ON A CHILD’S PICTURE DESPITE HER DESPERATE PLEAS TO LEAVE IT ALONE!?
I got back-up over the weekend from her big sister and a couple of kids in the neighborhood. All of them concurred: Yup. He always draws on the kids’ pictures.
Why, I asked the older girls, why would he draw on your pictures?
You know, to make them prettier.
ARRRRGGGGGGHHHHH. THAT IS TOTALLY INSANE!
Now, I am aware that I have some inherent biases. When my little Van Gogh creates things like this wonderful portrait of “Parents as King and Queen,”
I smile, and I gush. I do not analyze nor do I offer thoughtful critique. I do not point out that, gee, how could a family so clearly plagued by clubbed limbs be elected to the throne? I just hang the thing on the wall.
I myself make no claims at being artistic. It doesn’t bother me that my rabbits don’t look particularly rabbitty. I mourned when the kids learned to assemble Mr. Potato Head without three eyes and an arm sticking out of an ear. I adore the abstract creatures produced by their wild imaginations. I bet Picasso’s mother would agree.
So maybe the goal of the class is just to produce massive amounts of identical, perfectly representational works of art? Not according to the school web site, which claims that art should “give rise to ideas, invention and imagination.” Hmmm, imagination?
Yesterday I went in and spoke with Acadia’s teacher, who agreed to take the issue up with the art teacher. I reassured Acadia, but explained realistically that this teacher might not change his ways. No matter what, I told her, you can make your own pictures your own way when you are at home.
And can I rip up all the ones I make in art class?
Yes, I nodded sadly, you can.
And then I, my dear, will rip the teacher in half in a mano-v-mama show-down at the Crayola corral.
To read more of Daphne’s work, visit her eco-fabulous blog, A Greener Biener.