Monday, March 24, 2014

Maja Paints 25mm Bears... and Other Family Time.

Saturday was a such a beautiful day that I threw open the windows and suffered a small chill in the air to blow out the stink of being cooped up inside for nearly six months. 

The wife took little Millie to run errands, so it was my 4-year old daughter Maja and myself for the afternoon.  After dishes, vacuuming, and going through the paces of piecing a house with two kids, two dogs, and two cats back together, it was cups of hot cocoa and one of Maja's normal demands.

After observing enough kids, I realize that I am truly blessed to have Maja as a daughter and some pre-K hellion.  Yes, yes, every parent thinks their child is some special flower full of potential and who can do no wrong, but I've been around the tantrums to know better.     Still, she usually does what she's told, she can follow moderately complex directions,  and I'm constantly told by daycare how she's far more mature and well-mannered than most of the grade school kids who are there in the summer.  Throw in some pretty decent coordination from dance and gymnastics, a love of music, and wanting a "real" basketball hoop to start practicing for high school and I've got a little girl with a whole world of potential (She is the average height of a 7-year old boy, I only half joke about teaching her the Skyhook and getting a UConn scholarship.)

There are three "Daddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddy..." demands that occasionally drive me mad when they're at inopportune times:
  1. Can I have the iPad?:  At times I intentionally put my phone away to avoid wasting time on it (Hi my name's Eric and I haven't played Candy Crush in 12 days... "Hi Eric!").  This child has had a full knowledge of Apple products since the age of two and can help my wife tweak a photo on Instagram.  I simply need to keep technology out of her hands, because she plays pretend so well, and I don't want to sacrifice that for an hour-plus of piece and quiet.  Mom's been controlling her apps, so it might be time for good ol' Dad to take a look and find some nice phonics and numbers ones.  Kindergarten is coming up fast...
  2. Wanna Wrestle?:  In an age of helicopter parenting and insta-lawsuits, I will firmly declare right here and right now, I WANT my child to get hurt.  I'd like her to fall between my tentativeness as a child and kids in the neighborhood who ushered in Summer with their yearly broken arm like the robins announce the beginning of Spring.  Rough housing (and cart wheel practice) has been our exercise for this long and dreary winter.  Michael Vick had it all wrong, Toddler Fight club is where the money's at.  I'd go into more detail, but I'm already breaking rule #1.   She and her sister can turn into vicious animals at the drop of a hat, so I'm thinking we're in the right direction with "kicking and screaming if a stranger tries to take you."   My princesses will know how to pack a punch (and take one, if the playground demands it), I just wish she didn't enjoy beating on the heavy bag, I mean Dear Old Dad so much.
  3. Can I Paint?:  I know, heresy!!!  But painting with kids is more like a series of safety checks to go on the roller coaster than simply slapping some paint on a plate and having them going to town.  The whole idea that next Saturday will be painting the dining room wall to cover the disasters of the previous year (Valspar, you lie!) makes precautions and procedure the norm.  Setting down the newspaper, grabbing the smocks, and settling on a paint palette is time consuming for a child and a pain in the tookus for Dad.
That being said, we have started the slow process of teaching her to paint minis, and not just the rainbow swirl that a few of my figures currently have from her previous endeavours.  I've had two short stints teaching her how to paint "like Daddy" and it's slow and a little painful, but I think it's going to pay off in spades.  

We've started working on the Teddy Bear Pirates I picked up from the flea market at Cold Wars.  Session one involved her finding all the flash on the figures for me to remove with knife (she has a much better eye than me) and then she washed and dried the figures so I could prime them.

This latest session was her first foray into "coloring within the lines."  I had her paint just the exposed fur on the bears.  Painting the clothes a little brown by accident was okay, the whole vest, pants, etc, was very bad.  Despite giving her three shades of brown to work with, all of the bears got a healthy coat of Honey Brown.
She also grabbed two sickly looking banana trees that never got finished and packed up for my Samoa game.    We'll work on painting the clothing sometime this week, then the eyes, and we'll work from there.  Of the 16 bears, I put five aside.  One Maja wants to paint pink, and that was put away at the time, the other four I'd like to paint myself, and keep it close to the bears in the Tanner Jones and the Quest for the Monkey Stone

If she enjoys this, and I give her lots of practice, perhaps she can paint 15mm Soviet tanks to get herself through college, if the UConn basketball scholarship falls through.

Sunday, we were lazy homebodies the whole day, except for running down the mountain into Wilkes-Barre for some cheesesteaks and wings.  Maja tagged along for the drive and was a non-stop font of questions I never expected.

Last week, we went to go see Mr Peabody and Sherman as a family.  Great movie, heartily recommend it to anyone nostalgic for Rocky and Bullwinkle, loves Whibbley-Wobbily excellent adventures in time, and loves historical puns more than life itself.   Maja got a Mr Peabody in her Happy Meal earlier in the week and decided it was a good time to test Daddy's knowledge of all things Egypt.

You didn't see this movie?  Tut, tut...
Considering her two constant questions about anything are "Tell me everything about..." and "And then what happened?"  I believe a did quite admirably, considering I haven't had an interest in Ancient Egypt since the 8th grade.  We covered the pyramids, the Pharaohs,mummies,  irrigation, and I quelled her desire to forgo rings for her wedding and use blood bonding instead.   I'll see if she keeps this up, or if it was a one time barrage and we may have to organize a trip to a "real grown up" museum.  If that goes well, I may need to dig out my DBA and see how she paints 15mm Middle Kingdom Egyptians.

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