A note on being weird

Yup, that's me. Age 12.

Here's to wierd

Day forty-three

Day forty-four

Milo, "Do monsters make art?"

Day forty-five (this is one of my favorites so far)

Having been strange my whole life I feel like I am well equipped to parent a weird kid. I’ve always been the “artsy” one. I think that’s a nice way of saying that I’m a bit weird.

I do think that all kids are weird in fantastic ways. That is one of the best things about being a teacher, especially an art teacher. I get to be privy to all the weird things kids come up with. First grader jokes are among the best. Milo is no exception. He is super weird. He just decided that he is not a person who wears socks. He’s had a scribbled on receipt from pizza delivery taped next to his bed for a year and would be devastated if we tried to take it down. We’ve already discussed his obsession with pens.

For kids, weird is fine, it’s widely accepted at least until school age. We let our kids wear Robin and Superman costumes day and night, we let our kids read books in cardboard boxes. Then we do something to people. We shame them into hiding the things that make them who they are. How sad. If you went to middle school, you probably remember someone being incredibly unkind to you because you didn’t do something the way they expected you to. It takes a super weird person not to give a *%^& when this happens (thank you with all my heart to one Ms. Rebecca Rubel). I taught middle school for one year and that was quite enough for me, thank you. I went running and screaming back to those weird little first graders. I would much rather sit in a tiny chair with a crayon in my hand hanging with silly, imaginative little kids anyday.

We all want to be part of the tribe but we need to be who we are. Think about the people you are drawn to the most. Are they the safe, beige people (I just looked down and I’m wearing a beige sweater, damn it.) or are they the little-bit-weird folks who seem to take a few more risks than you do, say what they mean a little more often, and seem to live in their skin a bit more comfortably? I’ll take the later.

Let’s keep it weird people. What was your favorite weird kid memory of yourself or your own kiddos?

I’ll go first:

Me: I had an obsession with the author Roald Dahl. When he died I was in the third or fourth grade. I cried tears and was so grief stricken that I insisted that the librarian let me create a shrine to him in the library. She begrudgingly agreed and I painstakingly recreated a bunch of his illustrations from the BFG and the Twits and turned the whole thing into a huge display with stand up cut outs and a backdrop. Can you say dork?

Milo: I think this week’s pictures speak for themselves.

Loving Milo's monster art

Milo, Day 44

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21 responses to “A note on being weird

  1. thumbs down to those who squash creativity:: mine was a third grade teacher who said I was taking way too much time on the art project, illustrating a poem about how sad the autumn leaves were to fall to the ground….I was painstakingly drawing sad faces and tears on the leaves I had colored, when she snipped at me…In a panic, I colored over the tears and the frowns and handed in my paper. The teacher sneered,” you took all that time for THAT!” Wonder if she ever had a clue how her criticism devastated me? I still do not like to paint outside where someone might stop and watch! Shouldn’t let it stifle me, Huh?

  2. I am a bit of a social nut. Not that I am or have ever been a socially gifted but I do get my energy from being with people. I know this isn’t necessarily odd because lots of people do this. But, the weird part is when I get denied the ability to be social I choose to create a new social context. For instance; when I was in second grade I got in trouble for talking so much that my teacher placed me at the back of the room behind a screen. I could barely see over it enough to see her lectures. So, in my social vacuum I decided that I was the teacher of my own class. I had my students sitting in front of me and repeated everything the teacher said to my students.

  3. I am obsessed with lotion, especially on my feet which are always dry. I make my husband rub a ton in and then put socks over to let it soak all the way in (and so I don’t fall down!). He dreads lotionsocks. I love them.

  4. oh man, that 12 yr old picture of you is beyond awesome! i dont really know where to begin in my adult wierdness, but the first thing that comes to mind for some reason about my childhood habits is how my bff and i would spend hrs concocting a tale of a dead girl who we swore lived in her apt builing, finding clues to her murder and discussing them in our candlelit “clubhouse” which was really the trash room at her apt buliding, while we choked down camel filters we stole from her teenaged sis. 4th grade.

    your 45 and milos 44 are both mindblowing to me right now, not sure if i am just drunk off my kombucha or what… oh, theres something weird about adult me. my obsession with bacteria food 🙂

  5. Oh yeah, Milo is the master monster artist, and this weeks are is beautiful. I will buy one, maybe I want your favorite, is it for sale? 😉

  6. Since you had the courage to post your tux photo, which is still one of my best photo’s, I will go back to the same era. I wanted nothing else than to be a ninja. I even ordered the whole get-up and snuck around our neighborhood acting like I was defending the world! Sometimes, I still feel like acting out my inner little warrior. I could go on an on about my wierdness as a child, and adult really. But, thanks to our amazing mom and dad for encouraging us in all our weird glory, no matter what.

  7. My favorite post so far (perfect timing to set up Spirit Da on Oct 20th), and I also love day 44 painting the best. Milos, as you know, has mad skills. Here’s two weird things from my kids: Seth was the original Captain underpants, wearing Ninja Turtle underpants, a beaded Indian belt, and an Ninja Turtle bandana, then pretending to be an All Star Wrestler; this went on daily. Jess didn’t have much hair until she was in third grade (and it didn’t help that she went to a Bilingual school where all those little Mexicanas had buttloads of long, glorious waist length braids), so starting when she was about 18 months old and realized that she should have hair, she wore panties and tights on her head. She even used to make me “braid” the tights and put barrettes and hair doodles in them, and yes, she wore them out in public. Seth is now 26 and still wears Ninja Turtles (banker by day, punk by night), and Jess now has a full head of hair, thank you very much; she is doing grad school in England, where she says is a perfect place for nerds ( “Mom, EVERYONE is a nerd here! It’s great!” Check out her blog under
    jessunderafricanskies.blogspot.org)
    As for myself, I have always been the round peg in the square hole, but I find myself terribly amusing.
    Love you! Keep up the great work!

  8. I pull out my leg hairs with tweezers.

  9. Gross… and weird… that’s me.

  10. Heh. Jen and I used to put her mom’s old walking cast on one of us and go walking around the block with crutches. We told everyone who asked (and everyone who didn’t) that we were twins and that the one with the broken leg had fallen off her horse. Mind you, even I didn’t have horses at the time – and you know we look sooo similar…!

  11. Last week I reignited my weird side with a sweet mohawk in honor of the coming of Erin and I’s second baby (due any minute). My corporate conterparts kept asking me if I lost I bet. I had to keep insisting that I’m just keeping it real.

    Go weird!

  12. Ha, LOVE that picture of you! Too funny!

    Weird? I had an odd sense of business at a young age. Too bad I didn’t cultivate that and be someone that could support my hubby. I decided to write a “How to Frenchbraid” book and make my friends sign contracts saying I would give them 10% profit but could pull their hair all I wanted. I guess that is also mean.

    I would save ALL my halloween candy and wait until my friends ate all of theirs then sell mine to them. Five cents for the crappy stuff, .25 for the chocolate.

    I was always trying to make a buck.

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