Bead pictures

Eliza

Eliza is self-possessed and capable of lengthy periods of concentration. Often, she’ll draw at the orange table, or write cards, only needing us when she wants to show what she has completed. Last week, she lay on her bed reading a library book. Most engrossing of all are bead pictures. A dimpled plastic template sits on top of a coloured shape. Eliza places tiny plastic beads onto the dimples, gradually building the picture – a swirling heart, a colourful star or landscape. The end product can be fused together with an iron, but it’s the process that matters to Eliza as, like an angler returning the fish to the water, she clears the beads back into the pot when she’s finished and had the picture admired.

Robin

My return from work is often greeted with Robin tearing to meet me at the front-door. Sometimes shouting ‘Daddyyyy’, grabbing my legs, or nattering to me about tea, a game, a friend who has visited. One day last week, he anticipated my return. As I got closer to the door I could see his silhouette and then two sparkling eyes watching me through the letter box.

Gabe

Following one especially bad-tempered (on all sides) morning, L and I sat down with Gabe. I wanted to explain that it feels as though most of our conversation is nagging – to get him to get dressed, packed, tidied up, etc. We offered him a solution: he could take responsibility for getting himself ready for school in the mornings, or risk being taken in his pyjamas. The benefit would be that we would have more time for more enjoyable chats. L wrote him a reminder list of things he must do each morning. He has responded well and the few mornings since have passed without temper breakdowns.

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