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Living With Creative Child

When my child is amusing us with these little mental challenges I am in awe of her mind – she sees the world from a very different viewpoint than the rest of us; and she keeps us on our toes. But there is a but… She rarely sleeps before 10.00 pm despite being under 9 years old. She never stops. There is always something she is working on or trying to create, drawing and sketching, writing novels (yes) and poetry, baking and painting, then she might pick some flowers to put in a display, ask how to make a fabric collage… and I don’t joke when I say this might all have taken place before 8.30 on a Saturday morning.

My child has an insatiable need to create. She has a desire to be in the PROCESS at all times and in more than one PROJECT. At the moment there is the photographic project – we go on walks in the local countryside and photograph the changing season – currently the beautiful change from Summer to Autumn. The walk then takes on a new life of PROJECT; she becomes frustrated that she cannot get the right picture and her ‘creative temprament’ takes over. We have swings of self-loathing, glory, depression, enjoyment and then others. The other ‘one the go’ project at the moment is a series of books that she is writing, she illustrates them and gets them ‘published’ by her grandmother with proper binding and front pieces. She is very proud of this work and often gives herself a critique on the pointers for improvement.

These things are projects that she tends to work on a complete. But her spirit is Creative – and that is where she becomes a bit of a challenge to parent effectively. She needs ‘ponder’ time – and this is a time of complete inactivity where she will simply stare into space or watch a TV screen (or other screen) for quite a while, sometimes a couple of hours, before springing up and spreading herself around the house with paint, or chalk, paper and a camera – or whatever the project requires.

Another feature of this creative spirit is that she can be on a totally different thought thread to all of us – she gets frustrated that we don’t know what she needs or what she is talking about. Her thought processes have been buzzing away for hours and she needs some answers immediately – and when we are scrabbling around our imaginations and brains to find a response, she becomes very upset and angry with us.

When she was tiny I realised that this was a very different spirit – my other two children were equally artistic and enjoyed all the same things – but the little one went further. She NEEDED so much physical stimulation as a toddler that bed time was more like an hour in a playbarn to calm her down. I attended classes at JABADEO and with the INPP to learn about Developmental Movement Play – and applied it to her. She loved it and I learned how much to help her explore her natural state through tumbling, rolling and bouncing – I watched until she simply became satiated then she could settle.

Similarly she now needs so much input in order to keep her on track. She has such varied methods to express this need that we keep her plied with paper and notebooks, pens and paints, a permanent art station in the garage and a white bedroom wall which is her ‘canvas’ – she is allowed to do whatever she likes on that wall either posters or doodles or stickers. With the confines of the one white wall, she can go to explore in her own space and slightly contain her exuberance for art in the home!