Thursday, December 27, 2007

On Toddler Performance Art

I'm in the home stress stretch of my first fall back from Japan--less than 24 hours to turn in my grades! And I do mean home--I've done the vast majority of my grading from home this week, mostly by choice but also thanks to bad weather, illness, and a low-level migraine that hit the Full Metal Archivist yesterday. So in between papers I've gotten the chance to witness a wide range of performance art from onechan (who just turned 4) and imoto (who's 20 months old today). Here are some highlights:

Onechan: Branching out into drama, particularly stage direction and set design. At her girls' birthday party this past Sunday (7 girls under 5, 2 dads, and 1 mom for almost 3 hours!) and at the impromptu Christmas get-together at a friend's place, she enjoyed assigning roles to her friends, from the fantastic ("I'll be the princess, you be the prince, you be the good witch, and you be the bad witch!") to the everyday ("I'll be the mom, you be the dad, and you be the baby!"), and then setting up various kinds of improvs (from fighting a dragon to having a baby to being sick and having to stay home from work or school or see a doctor). At home with imoto, she's enjoyed rearranging the desks, chairs, and toy boxes in the play room to form little rooms, houses, or tents in one or another area of it. She's also enjoyed naming the various baby dolls strewn about the house after the various characters in our fictional pantheon and play-acting her favorite scenarios.

Imoto: Pushing the boundaries of bodily fluid expulsion. Moved from snot to diarrhea to vomit this week. Specializes in coughing so violently in the middle of the night she almost spits up the breast milk she's just extorted from the Full Metal Archivist. For the first time in her long and changing illness(es), she's running a fever, so adding sweat to her repertoire.

Onechan: Continues to explore musical performance. She treated us to a concert after dinner yesterday, complete with stage (one of her little chairs on top of her wood toy box), a playlist (her new Dora checkers board), original songs (one in her version of Spanish, even!) and old classics (the alphabet song, among them, which features "ello mello pee" and "double you, ess, why, and zee"!), and of course instrumentals. We're not just talking the mean air guitar she already plays, but violin (consisting of a little coat hanger from one of the presents her grandmother got her and a plastic golf club) and flute (consisting of the same plastic golf club with the head unscrewed), as well.

Imoto: Also into music. Likes to cradle one of her musical dolls and sway to the beat (kind of) or jump around to Buzz Buzz or The PowerPuff Girls CD with her big sister. Often tries to sing along with onechan, say on the Japanese version of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," but due to her limited vocabulary mostly just substitutes her sister's name in the opening "Kila, kila, hikaru" line.

Onechan: Beginning to tell stories, some from real life (a little anecdote from her hoikuen that something that's just happened reminds her of), some from her drawings (telling me what's happening), and some from our pantheon of imaginary characters. I'm having fun at bed time asking her what happens next in the stories I'm making up for her, or having her edit them when I go off track ("no, no, daddy, tell it this way!"), but I can't yet get her to tell me a bedtime story.

Imoto: Into cosplay, particularly when it comes to footwear and, less often, hats. Still mostly other people's shoes and slippers but lately has enjoyed slipping her feet into the fuzzy boots her grandma just got her and stomping around the house on the hardwood floors. That, and slamming upstairs doors. And running away, giggling, when it's time to change her diaper or throw her in the tub. And rolling around on the big bed after her bath to avoid getting her pajamas on. And kicking me with both feet when I've finally pinned her. And laughing uproariously when I pretend the kicks have knocked me backwards or off the bed--just like her sister did when I played that game with her a few years ago!

Yup, we've been lucky that the girls have mostly kept their energy and good spirits, despite being sick most of the past month. Now it's time to make that final grading push!

1 comment:

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