I'm guessing that every family has a witching hour. We do. Ours is from about 4:30pm until 6pm. Xi is home from school but done with her after-school snack and chill-out time. Echo is in the living room, finishing up a game of whatever she has concocted. And I can see the two ships start to converge. They are a little adrift, a little at a loss. Things could go either way at this point, they could dive into a game together and play until I drag them away for dinner, or....
well the "or" is horrible. They might argue about the jump rope hitting the edge of the rug. Or argue about the crack in the couch cushions. Then tension rises until basically they are both on the lookout for any possible conflict. I hate it.
Yesterday I decided to duck it. I decided to basically chaperon them through the witching hour by engaging them in an activity. Xi wanted a "listen and do" activity but I didn't find anything good on the internet and so decided to write my own. A "listen and do" activity is one where the participant listens to a series of instructions and, well, does them. This is what I came up with:
- Draw a tall box.
- Color it with red stripes.
- Write the word BOX under it.
- Add five plus five and write the answer, very small, somewhere inside the red-striped box. (For Xi: Subtract 105 from 115)
- Draw five clouds at the top of the page.
- Draw a roof for the red-striped box.
- Draw hills in the background.
- Put a fence on them.
- Draw seven chickens in grass.
- Circle the smallest cloud.
- Draw a curvy path to the red-striped box.
- Color the biggest chicken orange.
- Put a tree in the scene.
- Give it six apples, two are laying on the ground.
- Color the apples in the tree red.
- Color the apples in the tree brown.
- Put three flying birds in the sky.
- Underline the largest one.
- Write your name backwards in the left, bottom-hand corner.
- Turn paper over and make a list of five things that describe you.
Xi's five things to describe herself: 1. nice, 2. fun, 3. loving, 4. almost always happy, 5. loves bananas
They were absorbed for forever! And I made dinner really peacefully. They wanted to try again.
- Divide your paper in half with a line.
- Draw a fat bunny with eight turds on the left-hand side.
- Circle the seventh turd.
- Color all turds primary colors.
- Draw a toy dangling over the bunny’s head.
- Attach it to something.
- Give the bunny something soft to sit on.
- And a friend that isn’t a bunny.
- Give the friend a hat.
- Point an arrow at the hat.
- Write the name of the bunny and the friend somewhere near them.
- Draw an angry man on the right-hand side.
- Give him a shack to live in and a dog.
- Make sure the dog has a place to hide if he needs to.
- Color the dog the color you get when you mix red and blue.
- Draw 4 rainclouds in the sky above the man and dog.
- And a lightning bolt.
- Add up the number of turds and the number of clouds and write this in the bottom right-hand corner.
- Draw flowers around the shack.
- Draw hearts between the bunny and friend.
- Send one of those hearts to the man.
- Write your full name in the top-right-hand corner of the page.
- Flip the paper over and write your top five wishes.
What I loved about this project:
2. that there was no right way to follow the directions and the varying delightful results
3. insight into who these girls are! "even more love", "full of ideas" - such a great window into their interior.
4. watching their faces in rapt attention, waiting for me to read the next direction.
5. It doesn't even matter what the directions are! I could have written almost anything.
And in case you are curious, we had an enormous salad for dinner, accompanied by an enormous platter of oven-baked french fries. Yum!