Beating the Winter Blues: Creating Art With Your Child

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The other morning I left our house wearing my biggest coat that zips up to my nose and drapes down below my knees. I was wearing a hat, sunglasses, and giant boots. I looked like a cross between Frosty the Snowman and the Michelin Man, all hint of womanhood completely hidden (unless you count the Kate Spade sunglasses, which when it’s the only scrap of femininity left in your ensemble, I do). But dang-it, I was prepared for those 15 degree temps.

Prepared, alas, does not mean happy. I’ve been doing everything under the sun to keep sane. I’ve been taking my daily three mile walks despite the weather. I’ve been lighting all the candles. I’ve watched a dozen movies about summertime or anything set by the ocean.

But the one thing that consistently makes me feel like spring is just around the corner is doing art projects with Jane.

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For starters, let me just say I think it’s unfair that as we progress into adulthood it becomes taboo to decorate like it’s full on Mardi Gras. I feel like Jane’s bedroom is my spirit animal. Or rather, I’m living vicariously through her. This was the color of my childhood dreams (Wisteria by Sherwin Williams).

But the room itself feels like summertime. And to top it all off, we’ve been adding some art. What started as a little mermaid project turned big, complete with watercolors, markers, feathers, glitter glue, and at the end, an impromptu story.

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She wrote a little, and I wrote a little. It turned into a story about her and her friend, and between all the painting and the laughing and the Caribbean sunset art, it felt like a tiny bit of summertime in January.

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And while this is a “beat the winter blues” theme, I’ll be honest. I’ve been doing art projects with Jane for years, no matter the season. There is nothing more hilarious (and interesting) than seeing how their little minds work on paper, or hearing them boss you around.

“NO MOM, make the trolls lips green so the sparkles will show up better.”

And while all the drawing and coloring and painting takes place, other stuff happens too. They tell you about their friends, the dream they had the night before, and if you’re really lucky, they show you first hand the “weirdest booger ever” that they pluck from their nose and try to incorporate onto the paper (it’s hard to argue against that once you’ve explained the concept of mixed media). But it’s so nice to have that time, when so much of our lives is spent in cars, doing homework, running errands, and generally rushing for our lives.

So beat the winter blues. Find a tiny person. Draw the ocean. Have them explain to you why the Queen of the Castle NEEDS a half-dog half-spider pet with five braids. It’s no trip the Caribbean, but I guarantee your soul will do a little smiling.

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