Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Artistic Spirit

Today was not, generally speaking, a Good Day. It was cold, it rained all day, and the funeral of my best girlfriend from junior high and high school was held. And I didn't go. I tried. But I failed. I will speak of that later, when I can order my thoughts.

And there is still the Effexor-weaning, which is getting harder by the day. After being awake crying for most of the night, there was the resulting stuffy-head and headache thing going this morning, plus the swimmy-headedness of Effexor withdrawal...and Bella was UP and RARIN' TO GO today. I actually felt bad after a while because of how many times I had said, "Stop that," "don't," or "BE. QUIET."

Plus there were all these toddler-decreed "rules" today. She could only drink milk from "a little yellow cup" (coffee mug). Songs from movies had to be sung, but only certain parts of the songs. Over and over. She had to have three bananas, but only the top halves. And multiple slices of American cheese, which had to be quartered and then the quarters stacked perfectly symmetrically on top of each other for consumption. (I'm guessing her dietary preferences of late are part of a subconscious effort to be constipated for life, like Mommy.) OH, and the crocodiles. The crocodiles were watching us all day, and had to be avoided at all costs, and the darn things moved around on me. Being as the crocodiles were only visible to Bella, I never knew what danger I was in until I was right on top of them. And then I would get the wits, what little I was hanging onto, frightened out of me with sudden, shrill little-girl shrieks of "MOMMYTHECROC-O-DY-EEE-ULLLLLSAREBOUTTOGETYEWWWWW!!!" The crocs seemed to be preoccupied with guarding the bananas, and once I figured that out, things went more smoothly.

Anyway, the point at which my nerves were frazzled to bare threads happened to coincide with the moment at which my 3-year-old daughter handed to me my digital camera, and asked sweetly, "Mommy, will you picture me?" In a burst of mental-fatigue-induced inspiration, I said, "You know what? How about you take some pictures?"

Bella: (incredulously) "What?"

Me: "Yeah! You can take the camera, and go around the house and take pictures of whatever you want! I'll show you how!"

Bella: (in a hushed, excited voice, with BIG eyes) "Ohhh, that will be great!" (the word "great" lasted at least 20 seconds and had about 5 syllables)

So I showed her how to use the viewfinder, and to depress the shutter-button halfway to focus, etc. This process--the instruction giving--was only allowed, by Bella, to last about 10 seconds, and then she was off and running. I'd see a flash every few seconds, and hear bare feet pat-pat-patting to the next "location." I let her shoot until the memory card was full, and then we went upstairs to load the pictures onto the computer and edit them. Bella edited her pictures herself, complete with yelling "NOOOOOO!" at the top of her lungs if I cropped too tightly, not tightly enough, or in the wrong shape. Cropping was the only editing we did, thank goodness.

Anyway, here is Bella's finished slideshow. To see the pictures individually, with their titles, just click on one at any point, and it will display that way, and then you can continue the slideshow. I loved some of the subjects she chose (paint can), and her framing and concentration; she even canned some of the photos from being included because they "weren't good enough." Internets--she's THREE. Help me think of artsy things to do with her so that this streak never stops!


  1. Those are some interesting photos. My sister will buy her daughters the disposable cameras and let them have at it. It is amazing what they can come up with at that age.

    You are probably doing artsy things now, cameras, drawing, and watching you do stuff. It all will help them develop.

    I'm sorry to hear about your friend. Sending comforting thoughts your way.

  2. Those are really nice pics for such a little one, she's got a pretty good eye! Sorry about your friend & the withdrawal problems. If you need, I'm here.

  3. Some of those are REALLY good! What a good way to get her out of your hair for a bit!

    I suggest taking a few of her favourites and printing off large copies of them, then framing them in dollar store frames and putting them on her wall.

    I hope you feel better soon. I guess I know now why you were commenting on my blog at 2am your time this morning!

  4. {{{{Belinda}}}} may the withdrawl angels guide you safely through to the other side.

    you've got a lot on your plate, love...and you do it all so swimmingly. kudos to you!

  5. Here's a BIG HUG, sweetie. I hope you feel better.

  6. Oh I'm so sorry you haven't had a good day - I hope tomorrow's better. Losing someone you've loved is always difficult, but it seems more so when you can't properly say goodbye.

    I can sympathize with the Effexor withdrawal - I was up last night with the cold sweats and head swims, as well, from trying to quit taking it. I'm down from 150mg to about 60mg, but the end is still a long way off. Ugh. I sure wish now I'd never started taking it!

    Bella's pictures are so interesting. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is fascinating. Have you seen the movie Born into Brothels? It is about the children of prostitutes in Calcutta, and a photographer who gives them cameras to record the world. Well worth a watch if you haven't seen it, their photos are beautiful and heart-wrenching at the same time.

  7. I loved Bella's "peeking toe" picture and took me a while to find the enema with the leaf blower!

    Very sorry about your friend. Hope you feel better tomorrow.


  8. Hugs to you. I hope you can soon cope without the dope. That didn't sound as hideously inappropriate inside my head, so apologies if it comes off that way. The short version is that I hope you're feeling better soon.

    And it seems like you're already doing artsy stuff with her! You have a whole slideshow to prove it. I think classes and museum trips can be great, sure, but you're giving her freedom and confidence by letting her experiment and do it herself!! That's priceless.

  9. Hi again
    These are amazing pictures-really!What a unique little girl she seems to be.
    I am so sorry about your friend. Grief is so hard-you do whatever you need to do-it's ok.
    Here are some hugs and cello music to soothe you...

  10. Those are damn good pictures. I love the Swiffer in the corner shot, and the one of the tile floor. She's got quite the eye.

    When my girl was about her age, we went Fimo crazy for a year or two. Buy as much FIMO as you can afford and start teaching her with bead making, so she can make gifts for her relatives (ahem) and then move into animal sculpting.

    We bought a million craft kids, too. Make your own lampshade, make your own rug, make your own mother... ok, that one wasn't real...but you get the idea.

  11. Very impressive little photographer, that Bella! I'm sorry about your friend...been there, done that. It's definitely not easy. Hugs to you!

  12. I used to eat American cheese slices THE SAME WAY...I guess it runs in the family. Her pictures were interesting. The titles cracked me up. She's a smart one...that runs in the family too.

  13. oh Belinda, I hope you feel better. I have had nights where I just wanted to sit and cry and cry and cry - symptoms of depression.
    I think your idea to let Bella take pictures was ingenious!

  14. The banana guarding crocs are particularly dangerous this time of year, I hear. You must watch for them. Thank heavens you have Bella to watch out for you. I love the way that all those photos are from her point of view. Its interesting to see how different the world looks when you are three. Doorknobs are suddenly a danger to your eye instead of your hip. I am particularly fond of the purse on the floor pic, put it in black and white, blow it up and you have it sold, and the Wendys cup with detached spray bottle head. I think that I have some croc/gator repellant that I will trade you.

  15. Those are great photos. She's a pro already.

    I am sorry about the withdrawl and the tragedy on top of that with your friend. HUGS.

  16. Kim, thanks--maybe she will get to be as good as you!

    Jane, thank you--I know you know how this med rollercoaster rides. Hopefully it's about over. What were they thinking making an AD with a 40-year (yes, I tend toward hyperbole) half-life?

    celena--yep, insomniac emotion-wad, that's me. When the weather is nicer, I'm gonna take little miss thang out and let her take pictures outside, see what we get.

    dunnster and duh-m: Thank you both. The internets make me want to happy-cry.

    erin--you are so right. I kind of do wish I'd never taken it, but while I needed it, it did work well. It's just too bad the price is so high. I guess if you're on it long-term, it's the way to go! And if there's anyone you've "meant to keep in touch with," find them, now. AND you're right about the pics--I especially love the one of the stairs. They look a LOT bigger in that picture than they do to me! That movie you mention is in our Netflix queue, but I'll move it up some.

    Thanks, Judy. I didn't notice the little Fleet's until we were editing. Alex brought it home the other night when Bella was having her "bunt" problem.

    stef--just glad you're back, chicky.

    grammacello--as long as it's not that one piece whose name I can never remember that sounds like beautiful, prolonged sobbing. ;-)

    Margalit, I think she would happily have filled up the memory card with pics of her beloved Swiffer vacuum. And I know not of this "Fimo." You must educate me.

    melissa, thanks. I always knew you'd grow up good. Howzat for grammar?

    jessica...could this be my actual beautiful cousin? My extended family knows how to comment? Man, I knew her OCD tendencies were genetic. We're all so dadgum weird.

    VG--thanks. Are you back from SA already? A lot of my weirdness about the whole thing was tied up in memories of my dad. Remembering my friend pretty much forced remembering my dad, and man, I want them both back now. Never stopped wanting Dad back, but at least I had a handle on it. I still do, but it just had to boil over a bit, you know?

    Britt, I have bonked the poor kid in the head with a doorknob 3 times in the last 2 days. It ain't easy being a toddler, when the crocs are after your bananas and your mom is not exactly Princess Grace.

    Michelle, thank you. I need to email you about flickr and get you loading some Natty Bump-O pictures. You can give it any privacy setting you like: public; named contacts only; friends/family only, etc. It's the best thing since Google. Which is appropriate, since it is a Google program.

  17. First off, I am so sorry about your friend. Bella sounds a lot like my daughter (4 in June!) She is oh so particular about food and everything. MUST HELP around the house...has to pick out her baby sister's diaper, kiss her twice on the head at bedtime, etc. I LOVE Bella's photos. We did washable paints last weekend at the kitchen table and that was fun...