Portrait of play, week 36


We spent the day at the book festival. Chuck got some Georgia peach ice cream after she tripped on a step and hit a rail. She doesn’t always look where she’s going. I thought she had hurt her mouth, so I didn’t see the big goose egg right between her eyes until her grandma swept her bangs off her forehead. The ice cream eased the hurt. When we got home from the festival and said goodbye to G, she suggested Chuck do some sidewalk chalk since it was so nice outside. Charlotte jumped to it, grabbing some paintbrushes and water on her way out the door along with the chalk. I set up a blanket for Winnie, but she kept creeping to the edge to play with the grass and dirt. I eventually gave up on my attempts to move her back to the center of the blanket. The mosquitoes were relentless, so I took her inside sooner than she wanted anyways.

Charlotte chalked, painted, chalked, and painted the same patches of sidewalk over and over, layering colors of chalk dust and water. She was lost in a zone in her usual squat with her darkening hair swinging down in front of her face, illuminating some still blonde strands. I’m not sure I would have been so fond of this play squat of hers if I hadn’t been doing this portrait project, but I’ve noticed it’s her go-to creative crouch, and I’ve seen it now for many weeks. As she moved to paint other parts of the sidewalk, she positioned her body in many different ways. I was surprised to see her toes peeking over the edge of the pink sandals that were too big for her at the start of summer. Growth is not always gradual, or maybe it’s that I’ve been paying more attention to the far more noticeable growth of Winnie these days.

We don’t often play in the front yard. Landscaping is at the end of our 10 year renovation plan (or at least I imagine it will be…it hasn’t even made it on the list yet). Last week, we did gather all the little branches that had fallen over the course of the summer storms. They never made it to the backyard and sat in a pile in the front yard. Charlotte took a break from chalking to “light a fire” with the sticks. After that, her focus was broken, and she put the paintbrushes in the “oven” and started making some plates of food with flower pot trays and weeds. At one point, she pulled her pants down and started peeing in the yard. I started to argue with her about it, but it was too late. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t take a picture. I guess we will need to spend more time in the front yard to learn how some back yard behaviors are not appropriate for the front yard. After a quick game of hide and seek in the bushes, Charlotte went inside to clean out her brushes and wash up. Before following her, I made a vow to spend more time on the front stoop, where the mosquitoes are hanging on like it’s still summer, but there’s a breeze in the air carried from a fall that’s happening somewhere.



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