Sunday, March 18, 2012

Telling a story

I am not good at telling stories.  Just ask my husband.
I can start the best of them, but midway through I often get side tracked and I'm not really sure of the point anymore.  It drives most people crazy, but it's pretty consistent with my personality.  At this point in my life I am learning to embrace this quality of mine.  If a story needs to be told, I just have my husband tell it.  Apparently, Julia has inherited this same non-storytelling gene.  She has a lot to say, but the point is often lost as she becomes absorbed in her next adventure.  Sometimes I can catch her at those precious moments when everything flows and her words create this beautiful masterpiece on her view of her world, but those times are few and far between.  Most of the time I am wondering how we go from discussion of worms to "when will I ever get to go to the beach again?".  
The other day I caught her talking to herself as she was coloring at her table.  She was engaged in a very frank discussion about the specific colors that Mimi likes and how much fun they have together.  I didn't want to interrupt her, but I had this great often Julia says the greatest things about the people that she loves, but as soon as I get them on the phone, she won't talk.  I figured if I could capture her words as she drew, then we could create a cute little project together.  
This "project" was inspired by my first grade teacher - she used to take our words and create a story. She did such a good job of it that I remember feeling like I was an author.  I loved knowing that my words could create meaning to something.  So as Julia drew a picture (for whoever she chose), we decided to talk about the ways that she loves that person, what is special about them, and what reminds her of that person.  I found that we could only do a few because then it lost some of the excitement, but the ones that we did were quite cute!  
Here is one that she made for my sister:

We did a few others, but I put them in an envelope to send off before I remembered to take a picture.  The others involved crayons and some paint, but she was very specific that she wanted to tell a story with pictures/stickers for Aunt Kirstan (or Aunt Cookie as Julia calls her).
Here is what you need to replicate this on your own:
1) the ability to catch your child at a great moment (sometimes the stars have to align for this to occur)
2) paper, crayons, stickers - whatever a child needs to feel inspired
3) your undivided attention to ask some questions and/or capture their words while they draw

How easy is that?  Happy storytelling.

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