Sundays are the one day of the week that I usually have off. It’s a family day, and Baby T has nicknamed it “Sunday Funday.” This week, Sunday Funday began and ended with Zen. Don’t get too jealous–it’s the type of Zen that you get living with a 2 and a 4 year old. The nonexistent kind.
Ok, so back track to Friday, when I Pinterested the coolest thing. Something I had never seen before. Something that totally intrigued me. Zentangling. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s like controlled doodling with a mindful steadiness yet a lack of control over the final outcome. It’s easy for anyone to create a beautiful design, even with no artistic background. It’s also peaceful, deliberate, and relaxing. Totally Zen. I became a little obsessed. Like I really need something to do in all my spare time.
So anyway, this got me thinking. Maybe I could do some zentangling with Baby T in the morning. He was learning about patterns, and his handwriting has really become more controlled in the past few months. He also really digs following his finger around the birth labyrinths we sell in the store and loves doing mazes.
It was a plan. We were going to do some zentangling Sunday morning.
After the usual this and that, I asked Baby T if he wanted to do a new type of drawing. He was all for it. So I grabbed some index cards from the art drawer, got out a few markers, and we all sat down at the kitchen table for our Sunday Funday morning of Zen.
This is how our Zen moment went down:
Baby T and Little M were talking at the same time, escalating their whines for my attention, frantically drawing on their index cards, arguing over who had what color marker, saying they didn’t want to do the drawing my way, asking for different things at the same time, asking for the same things at different times, me trying to model how to begin the zentangle, and then me throwing a marker and yelling that they had to listen if they wanted to do this project.
After we all got over our initial tantrum, Tieren, wide eyed and quiet, drew an “X” on his index card, just as I had.
Apparently he’s good at listening in the midst of chaos.
Then, we all buckled down for some zentangling. The basic method involves outlining shapes on a piece of paper, then filling each area or shape in with a repeating pattern. Here’s the zentangle I had begun the night before:
I convinced Baby T that his didn’t have to look like a flower, and we set out to finish our zentangle. The first step, which he had already completed, was to draw a diagonal line from one corner of his index card to the one across from it. He repeated that with the other corners, making an “X” on the card. Now we had 4 triangles on the index card. I explained that we were going to fill one triangle with a striped pattern and began drawing it on my index card. He immediately picked up on it and created stripes on his. The next pattern was dots, then we did “V’s”, and then we made fish scales.
The repetitive nature of this exercise really encouraged him to focus, and he was intent on completing the pattern in each segment. Chaos went out the window. Things really were Zen for about 5 minutes.
Baby T was pleased with his work. So was Little M, who had passionately colored his index card green.
The exercise then took on a life of its own, as our work/art/play normally does. Actually, it took on a life of Baby T’s, to be precise. Baby T decided that these needed stamps and we should mail them to Daddy (who was in the shower). The next 20 minutes involved putting stickers on the cards and tossing them and several other pieces of the kids’ artwork into a hollow storage stool. I’m not sure Daddy ever saw them, and I’m pretty sure they are still in there. Not quite sure what else might be hiding in there.
Baby T likes to think outside of the box. I’m never sure what he’s going to come up with next. It’s fun to encourage him to focus within the lines, but I love seeing what his mind creates when he’s left to his own devices.
Coincidentally enough, we ended out our Sunday Funday with a similarly
chaotic Zen activity. We traipsed out to the golf course, where the kids raked the bunker for a while.
This is how that Zen moment went down:
Baby T fell into the sand trap, Little M yelled at the rake because it was too big and he couldn’t figure out how to hold it, then he fell in too, wouldn’t stop screaming, came to me with sand all over his hands, wiped it on my butt, felt better, tentatively climbed into the bunker, and proceeded to run around, trailing the rake behind him. Zen or not, they stayed occupied.