Monday, November 02, 2009

Hello, Mr. Crab

About a month ago I painted Jacob's bedroom in an "under the sea" theme. He loves Spongebob, mermaids, and seashells, so I decided to make it generic enough to fit all these interests and whatever new ones he develops.

I painted the sky the color of a lovely sunny, cloudless day and put a great big sun shining in one corner. The water is a nice mix of blue and green with seaweed and other sea plants growing up from the ocean floor. There is a family of fish, a friendly, smiling whale, a cute little crab, two groups of jellyfish, and a even menacing shark hiding behind the door and scaring off looters from the sunken treasure chest. A few boats float on the water's surface, and a lovely tropical island is off in the horizon.

Chris and the big kids gave me lots of compliments on the project, and everyone who has been over in the past few weeks has either loved it or kindly pretended to. I was so proud of my creation, all done freehand and my first attempt at large-scale art.

I intentionally made it look cartoon-ish, knowing that would be easier to design and paint, and more familiar to Jacob than a realistic under water scene. The fact that it eliminates the need for additional decor is a huge bonus, since nothing that exists in Jacob's room is safe from being destroyed and several items hung on his walls have been a total waste of money. In fact, the less there is in the bedroom the better it looks and this makes it much easier to keep the space clean and clutter free, while still being fun and creative.

Then comes the unexpected complication: Jacob is a little freaked out by the whole thing. I really did not anticipate that he would feel anything but pleasure at having his own little watery hangout where he could play with his imaginary ocean-dwelling friends. What I wasn't considering is how "real" he takes his playmates, Spongebob, Patrick, and Ariel to be. Consequently, he seems to think that the characters I lovingly painted on his walls are real, too.

I will be sitting with him on his bed when he'll quickly look up and towards the crab, as if to catch it moving. He does this over and over, and it kinda creeps me out and makes me think I am going to catch the drawings moving as well. Like the little pinchers will be slightly askew or he will have taken a sideways step. Jacob won't even look the shark in the eyes. The shark is a little mean looking, and that is why I put him behind the door. The fish don't seem to bug him at all, but then they aren't looking at you and have silly smiles.

The progress we had made in getting him to sleep in his own bedroom instead of right in the middle of Chris and I has regressed a bit. He's OK as long as someone is in there with him but, all alone with creatures watching him from every angle, it is entirely possible he sees the cartoons on his walls to be unblinking, menacing, mocking strangers.

I am definitely not ready to paint over my personal masterpiece, so my tactic thus far has been to "greet" the shark and crab every time I enter the room. I'll say "Hello, Mr. Crab. Hello, Mr. Shark" as I touch them and smile. I am hoping as Jacob sees me being all friendly with them, he'll realize they are not a threat and begin to accept them as new buddies. I'm crossing my fingers.


Adrienne Orrock said...

Oh Alaina, I hope he can get used to his room. I would hate it if you had to paint over such a beautiful mural! You are so talented (in many ways!) Good luck, and keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog in my bookmarks and have been reading over the last year of your blog/life. What a story... I love the room too... could you do a desert scene in my room for me??? Or I guess I could just put in some windows... ;)

Love and miss ya!

David Grygla