Out front. It’s where we go on afternoons when it’s not raining and when we don’t have much day light left to make a trip to the park, but still need space and air to let the after nap energy escape. Or possibly on those long days where naps were discarded completely, and I need something, anything, for us to do to make it through those hours. It may only be a handful of trees lining a busy street and a sidewalk but it’s still a city kid’s makeshift playground. A canvas for chalking. A 10 minute break on the bench and breath of fresh air in between taking the trash out and heading back upstairs to finish dinner. It’s nothing special, but it’s an escape at it’s best and a patch of grass at it’s simplest.
I took the kids out front the other day for a project I wanted to try-the 5 minute project. The idea is just as it sounds, take 5 average minutes and document it. Here are our 5 minutes. Out front.
This may be my favorite Theo picture yet.
When Evelyn gets excited about something, she doesn’t stop talking leading up to whatever project or event we might be doing, laying out plans and specifics and running everything by me: “Ok, mom? Does that sound good? I think it will work great.” She gets all matter of fact, I think she’s worried that I might drop the ball. She all the sudden turns into this little planner and adult. But then she squeals in excitement when I bring out the pumpkins and gets covered in paint and says things like “cretend” instead of “pretend” and I’ve got my little girl back.
Theo, on the other hand, does not concern himself with the how or the why or the when. He just shows up when all is ready and gets down to business. His lower lip sticks out as he has tunnel vision for only what is in front of him. He has no regard for his clothes or his surroundings. For such an active boy, I love his concentration when he gets really engrossed in something that interests him.
Despite the mess paint always makes, seeing those parts of their personalities emerge was worth it. Yet, we never painted pumpkins growing up, we always carved them. So I’m not sure why I decided to switch things up this year. Probably my complete dislike for the slimy insides of pumpkins. And, my idea of what I want to carve never, ever turns out how I envision it will turn out. Plus, my kids + carving knives did not seem like a safe idea. So paint we did. We started about 11 in the morning, although by the shadows cast it looks more like late afternoon. If I had waited until after naps we would’ve run out of sun. It wasn’t a big ordeal, just me with my camera, the kids content with their sticky, colored fingers and Matt peeking out through the window. Meltdowns ensued when I called it a day because the red jar of paint was turning into a grayish, mucky mess. But the air was light, catching the autumn colors. The traffic below was our soundtrack.
we have this space that is created in and subsequently made clear again, over and over. a live and ongoing art project. i thought it’d be fun to follow it’s different stages. the thoughts of evelyn and theo manifested in squiggles and big eyed, short legged people. our food for the week, in my scratchy handwriting.
i’m moving my way slowly towards doing some sort of project that doesn’t involve my kids. i.e. strangers. serious discomfort (fear) starts to creep in at the mere thought. but for now, the chalkboard project: first edition.