In school Andrew and I are reading My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss. I really like this book. The illustrations are so pretty, the words are so clever and I love what the book is trying to say. It goes through each color and describes what that color might feel like. And when I get to brown, I feel such relief.
I listened to a Radio Lab show a few weeks ago and I heard the host say something like, “when the first personal cameras were put on the market, the directions on the back of the box said try to get your subject to smile at the camera creating a culture where happiness is king.” It didn’t go exactly like that, but you get the idea. And it’s something I keep thinking about…this underlying notion that happy is the best way to feel. And if you don’t feel happy…perhaps fake it? Anyway, when I feel sad, not only do I feel sad, but I often feel self-conscious about it.
Andrew’s not the best at knowing his own emotions. He’ll often tell us he’s happy when he’s clearly not. We’ve been working on adding “sad” “angry” “scared” to his descriptive repertoire…with slow and steady progress. He’s not at 100%, but honestly, neither am I.
So when I get to the brown page in My Many Colored Days, I want to hug Dr. Seuss. It says, “Some days, of course, feel sort of Brown. Then I feel slow and low, low down.” It has a painting of a big, brown bear sleeping in a dark cave. The painting feels warm and soft and a-ok. It’s normal and natural and fine to feel brown. Hurray for brown!
Yesterday I asked Andrew to paint the animal/color that he feels like today. A bit abstract, for sure, but he picked the bird, found just-the-right blue and painted it. He’s been working on his flying lately (“when I run fast, I can fly!” “Mom, I have wings on my back. They are locked on. You cannot take them off, not even with the smallest key.”) so I wasn’t surprised he chose the bird. In fact I think it’s great he could identify with the bird. I just don’t want him to feel like he has to identify with it.
Or I guess, I don’t want to feel like I have to, either.
Because man, does that brown bear look cozy and warm.
I put together this scrapbook page using Andrew’s paintings of the planets from the planet banner and the blog post I wrote here.
And right now? It’s lightly snowing and the weekend is ahead. Tess turns 2 and we are planning to party hard. I hope yours is lovely!