Portrait of a Family

Last week Freida created her first self-portrait of her family! She had been coloring happily in the kitchen, while I was eating lunch and plugging away (at a design project my husband is currently working on) at my desk. Every once in a while she’d come into the living room to proudly show me her masterpiece. Most of them were of rainbows, clouds, and crocodiles (can anyone shed some light on how these 3 things connect? :), and I was in total awe when she brought in a paper, demanded that I close my eyes, and went on to surprise me with a full-on description of her drawing of our family! Isn’t it so fun when they suddenly draw something coherent with reality, and we get to see it from their point of view…?!

Here were a few of her descriptions:

“The mommy is pink because she is a girl. She’s wearing lots of hot-pink lipstick and playing guitar.”

“The daughter is pink because she is a girl. She’s stretching next to the Daddy because she is growing.”

“The baby is little because she is a baby. Her legs are like that because she can’t walk. She’s crawling. And growing.”

My absolute favorite part of this drawing is her depiction of the father: “The Daddy is big because Daddy’s are so big.”

I find it so interesting that children naturally view their fathers as big (apparently, even when daddy weighs much less than mommy! :). I think it’s such an baffling and interesting fact that although the fathers work primarily away from the home, have much less involvement in the every-day life of their children vs. the mother, yet get the “big” role in their child’s understanding of life and of people. I had a friend over the other day, and when she saw this drawing hanging in the dining room she immediately commented on how ridiculous and unfair it is that even though the dads do “nothing” in comparison to what the moms do daily for their children, the children still view the dads as the largest part of their life! We spoke about it for a while, and I simply had different views on the matter. I think it’s genius, and obvious!  It’s as if the children anthropologically understand that the father is the “hunter and gatherer” of the family! Isn’t it amazing?

Honestly speaking, I think about this pretty often. Both of my girls smiled first at their daddy, and when Freida was a baby she would immediately change her mood (for the better!) when my husband walked through the door at the end of the day. I thought it was due to the fact that we, the mothers, put the father on a pedestal so often; from “don’t worry, daddy will fix it when he gets home.” to “oh, just you wait until I tell your father about this!” – we are constantly raising the daddy-bar. Setting the table for dinner and waiting at the window until daddy pulls into the driveway is really exciting for the kids, and watching Freida call Manasseh to say goodnight before she retires on the nights he can’t make it home before 7pm is simply wondrous. She LOVES him, and to her, he’s totally king.

Anyways, I used to think that was why they smiled at him first. But recently my mother told me something that changed my mind about all that… She said she thinks all the kids smile at their father because of how happy their mother gets when daddy comes home! That totally hit home for me, and is a much more obvious reason – our mood changes when our husbands come home, and that, in-turn, is felt by our brood as well. Plus, they see us brighten up in our husbands presence and that’s makes all the difference to them. How beautiful is that?

P.S. I love how the baby looks like a baby!

I jotted down a little word-for-word description of everything right as she was telling it to me, plus the date of the drawing. Doing it there and then makes it easier to keep stock of all the things our children make that we want to keep filed. Also, Ikea is the best and cheapest destination for framing things – with a matte and all!

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