Wednesday, October 20, 2010

art therapy 2

today was one of "those" days. you know the kind - where you wake up & there are grumpy vibes coming from everywhere. the first thing i heard was the cats hissing & snarling at each other. i should rephrase that; the big one was hissing and snarling because the little one was bugging the crap out of her & needed her butt to be properly kicked. my kid was whining, my husband was huffing. i wanted to go back to sleep & try the other side of bed a bit later, but i was going to be responsible & productive & peel myself out from between my fabulous sheets, regardless of the day's beginning.

i tried to play peacemaker to all parties involved; i really gave it the old college try when i was out on the back deck putting out bird seed to feed our abundant wildlife. chris made a silly face through the window, so i dropped my pants & mooned him. nothing brings a spurt of shock & bewildered amusement to a group of people like a totally unexpected, pasty white butt flash.

it seemed as though we'd pulled our emotions up by the bootstraps, but after a few hours of school work, brooke & i were both over it. she'd been put onto yellow on her chart (green means good, yellow is not so good & red is bad. i know, so original) and still had to finish her book report. when it was done, she buried her face in my boobs & started shaking & saying that she just wanted to scream really loud for a long time. so i sent her up to take a shower & told her to scream it all out in there. our duplex neighbor wasn't home, thankfully, so it was the place in the house where it was least likely to annoy the snot out of me or result in cops showing up at our door.

when she came down later, she was wearing a red shirt & had made a little paper sign that she stuck to her stomach. i threw it away eventually, but then took a picture of it in the trash because it's kind of funny.

then she made a bigger sign to hang from herself to make sure it was loud & clear that she was feeling red. she frequently shows & expresses her feelings in colors rather than words & red or burgundy seem to be about the worst. well, black's pretty bad too, but that's a whole different place for her.

i told her it was time for another round of art therapy. time to go get her marker box & draw on the floor. when she's extra frustrated, there's nothing like coloring big, huge things to really purge out the crap that's on the inside so that she can go on with her day. there was some stomping, banging & snarking, but she soon got down to business. here comes the predictable giant head of anger. the angry eyebrows & the huge, toothy frown. she didn't have enough juice in her red markers (another source of pissiness) to fill the whole thing & she riduculed me for my suggestions of red polka dots because, duh, mom, polka dots are for cheerful times! she settled for drawing hearts & then scribbling them out to show her sadness & broken heart. she wrote, "I AM SO SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and then she counted how many exclamation points there were so she could point out to me that there were 19 exclamations points worth of sadness displayed on the floor.

i told her that when i was a kid, i used to write all the bad words i knew on paper or in my diary and it kind of made me feel better. i encouraged her to try it because, 1, i thought it might help her. 2, it would be interesting to see what bad words she knows. and 3, it seemed to me that i might just have some bad words of my own that i'd like to write down after having such a draining day.

she resisted my peer pressure to write down bad stuff. she said it would make her feel too bad, so i got out a marker & started my own list.

it wasn't long before she joined in on the fun & was writing away. i told her that spelling didn't count when you're writing your mad words, so she could spell them any old way she wanted. you can clearly see that she did just that.

i love how she spelled onion & stupid & meany. and she asked me to write plaque & then she drew icky teeth. i tried to draw a tooth of my own on the left, but it ended up looking more like long-crotch tights, so i added feet.

she wrote down "o my god" and "damit" but then asked me to erase them immediately because it made her really nervous to even see those written down. she's so much better than me. she wrote down a couple of the stupid songs that i sing to her to help certain words stick in her head because she hates them since they get lodged in her brain & she can't get them out. (mwahaha! all part of my evil parenting scheme!)

we added another level of fun to our therapy by trying to read all our words backwards as we washed them off the floor. this tickled her little self all the way down into her funny bone. she wanted me to read them out & then filmed me washing & shouting them because it was probably the best part of the day & she's all about documenting her life on video. it's a horrible little video, but you can see how the therapy worked for her through her giggling.

she thought it would be fun to color on her face & i decided to join in on that portion of the fun as well. we started out with war paint (we've been studying sioux indians lately) and then it deteriorated to something involving angry eyebrows & a soul patch. it was very funny, either way & thankfully all washed off before bed.

and so ended another day in the riley household in which art therapy came, saw & conquered our pain.


  1. great blog!!!!ty 4 sharing...I sadly felt your pain, but also felt your smiles :) hugs!

  2. This totally makes me want to go draw on my floor!

  3. I'll have to remember that trick next time I'm feeling really grumpy. When your Dad comes home from work and sees words like vomit, zit, maggot, decompose, filth, atrocious, bile, rage, and halitosis scribbled on the kitchen floor, he'll know to keep his expectations on the low side for the rest of the day.

  4. what a great entry! I told you that you are an amazing mom.. you found a way to work her through it. :)

  5. You are such an awesome mother! I love her "stoopied!" I am having one of those days today!

  6. i think i'm going to have to host art therapy parties for my friends. i'll invite over all of my pissed off, exhausted, frustrated friends & we can write all of our angry words on my floor & then dance on them to stomp the crap away. i'd have a whole new slew of pictures & thoughts to blog about then!

  7. Oh Sherilin... you crack me up! Thanks for always stopping by with your hilarious comments!!!

  8. P.S. Pus, cockroach, stench, earwax, idiot, gollum, sulphur, prostitute, infection, slime. Help! I can't stop!

  9. Oh my gosh. Sign me up for some of that therapy. When I feel angry I have no idea what to do with the feeling (growing up, the answer was obvious - stuff it down!). That looks so fun!

  10. oh, and to answer you I live in Chattanooga, a couple blocks down from our mutual buddy Rachel. I found your blog through hers.

  11. Let me know when the party is! I have some words to use that probably wouldn't, or don't need to be used in any other way! Lol

  12. Great post Sherilin, you have an adorable daughter and what a creative Mom for helping her work her way thru her red moments! Found you thru Tracy @ It's An Average Life :))


  13. Thank you Thank you for this post. Now that winter is setting in and I HATE WINTER...and I'm rather isolated in the Canadian tundra country....I will now go buy markers and draw on myself and hubby.

    I am here visiting you from It's An Average I'll be back (no that's not a threat, I am rather harmless)

  14. What a great mom you are! Just dropped by from Paying it forward.


don't let me be the only one doing the talking around here. spill your guts!