Learning

I’ve been feeling conflicted lately, because this is MY blog and I should get to write about whatever I want to . . . but I like having readers, so I’d rather not drive you all away by writing too much or too little about any subject. (“What if I talk about Darfur too much? What if I don’t talk about Darfur enough?” –Leslie Knope)

Then again, I want to be able to share the things I’m working on – whether that’s teaching Evan to read (slowly . . . very slowly, he has minimal interest and I’d rather not push him too hard or he’ll rebel in a big way), potty-training June (amazing! She’s phenomenal!), what I’ve been reading (nothing much lately, but I just started The Andromeda Strain), or my latest creative project (there are many). You probably guessed that I want to talk more about creative stuff right now. If you aren’t interested, leave now! It’s okay! Just come back later, please?

So I made these Valentine’s Day cards (shamelessly linked) based on a quote from Evan. I more or less edited the quote a tiny bit; it’s more an amalgam of various things he’s said recently. I went through a few variations and asked for opinions, then chose the most popular/my favorite (which thankfully were the same) to print and sell. Jarom mentioned the first time I sketched the quote out that he preferred it without the attribution. I disagreed, and spent the money on printing 20 cards. I picked them up today and – GASP! Jarom was right! No one will want to buy these because it says it’s from a 4-year-old! What if it would have been better to leave the attribution off? What if I had sold a million (or just 20) without the “Evan, age 4” at the bottom?

Despite my pointless worries – I can’t afford to print new cards at this point – I’ve learned a few things from the experience. First, practice makes perfect. Or at least it improves things. Since doing our graduation announcements, I’ve gotten used to doing multiple drafts of everything (except blog posts). And it leads to a better final product. Second, my scanner sucks. It was generously given to me, and free is good, but the colors end up completely off (lovely purple watercolors ended up as plain ol’ blue, with almost none of the watercolor effect in the original), and it adds in a lot of noise to the image. A new scanner is high on my list of things to save up for  – quickly. Third, when measuring to cut cards down to size, always start on the side that has the least wiggle room. I had to scrap the first card I cut because it printed slightly off center, and I shaved off the bottom of the logo. Fourth, what I love more than doing watercolor is hand-lettering and layout. I did these birth announcements for Evan the other night, and even though there’s a lot to fix, I had fun. Lots of fun. I definitely want to do more of these!

To do: (1) make "Evan" less wibbly-wobbly. (2) increase thickness of outlines. (3) find better bullet point, ditch the star. (4) change the writing in the box to something more awesome. (5) add a border to the whole thing?

To do: (1) make “Evan” less wibbly-wobbly. (2) increase thickness of outlines. (3) find better bullet point, ditch the star. (4) change the writing in the box to something more awesome. (5) add a border to the whole thing?

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Violent

June has entered an unpleasant phase – she hits and punches Evan whenever she gets upset. It’s obvious that she does it to hurt him. Of course she goes straight into time out for hitting, punching, kicking, slapping, and so on, and we always have a talk afterwards about why those things are bad – and she can demonstrate what “soft” or “nice” behavior would be. But she’s so impulsive that it seems she can’t resist responding with violence when she thinks Evan has wronged her.

I know she’ll eventually get the message that what she’s doing isn’t ok, so for now I plan to stick with the time outs and discussion – June is smart enough that she understands the concept, it’s just hard to apply. Because she’s 2.

Evan went through a similar phase at a similar age, and he grew out of it. But it started when Jarom was in Korea for an internship while I was pregnant with June, so I had a hard time dealing with it. Fortunately it seems that a lot of things are easier the second time around, and I’m not as worried about June turning into a violent criminal. (At all, really. Can you imagine?) I don’t mean that I let her bad behavior slide or that I act unconcerned – I just don’t spend extra time fretting that I’m not doing a good job of parenting. For that reason, at least.

If your kids skipped this phase, please don’t tell me. I’d like to assume it’s standard.

Hard to believe this ball of cuteness could ever be mean-spirited.

Hard to believe this ball of cuteness could ever be mean-spirited.