Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Tantrums, Chopin and art

I have been again honoured by Christine at
Now What, who tagged my blog as The One
this week. Thank you, my friend, you have
been with me from the beginning and your
kind words have given me so much

I'd like now move back in my story to the
the time when Cirwen was three years old.
At this stage, she could put maybe three words
together, therefore she had a lot of trouble to
explain what she thought, felt or just desired.
Imagine her sitting in the middle of a room
full of toys, pointing at a general direction, saying
"I want this one"
And there was me, trying to guess what was it,
ten, fifteen, twenty minutes. Sometimes I was
lucky and managed to find the object. Another
time, it finished with a disaster - I could not
figure it out - and we had a tantrum. Full on, ear
splitting scream, inconsolable, hitting the wall,
biting her hands. I felt awful. Helpless and guilty
of failing to come to her aid.

There was also a period in Cirwen's life when I
dreaded her waking up from the afternoon nap.
She would wake up screaming and although we
brought her to our living room, there was nothing
what could cal, her down. We couldn't touch her,
talk to her, no toys would catch her attention. For
half an hour my child was screaming , would not let us
hug her, to console, to make her safe and fine again.
The reason for these tantrums are the mystery to
me till today. All I can think of is, she might have
had a bad dream and didn't know what it was, or
didn't know how to explain why she was upset.

The breakthrough came with the start of the
pre-school. it was a lovely, newly established
venue, with only ten children attending for
three hours a day. The pre-school was run by
local artists. Absolutely fantastic people.
Barbara, the owner, has taken Cirwen under
her wing and taught us both a lot. She noticed
that Cirwen responds very well to music. She
loves to dance and sing. After a while, the best
way to stop a tantrum was to put on a CD with
anything by Chopin. She would immediately stop
screaming, sit down or just stand in a spot and
listen. I obviously adapted this technique at home.

As the place was run by an artist, children worked
a lot with their hands. Made their own toys out of
papier mache, decorated the hole room transforming
it into a chronicle of little piggies travel around the
world. Cirwen loved painting before she started
going there, so she thrived.

One day, children were painting their pictures
while listening to classical music. I think it was
Vivaldi. when I came to pick Cirwen up both
teachers were very excited to show me my girl's
work. I was told she painted with brushes in both
her hands, very concentrated on the tones of music.
If the tones were low, her hands were moving down,
and up with the higher tones. It looked like a register
of sounds. I was also told that every so often, Cirwen
would step away from the easel, look at the picture,
correct something and carry on painting. Something,
what both of the artists were taught to do while in the
college. They were both amazed how she new to do
this instinctively. The painting ended up on the wall
for the rest of the term and at the end I had to fight
with the owner for it, as she dearly wanted to keep it!

Cirwen carries on drawing and painting, although
now she's older she indulges in more fashionable
music. She loves rock and Irish folk. It still provides
her with it's healing properties. The tantrums stopped
gradually with her ability to talk. She still finds it
difficult to express or explain how she feels, but I
we are patient to listen. Sometimes she doesn't want
to talk about it and we leave her to her music and
art. Whether it is a comic strip, or illustrated story
about her friends, she can show us what happened
in her own way.


  1. That is just amazing. Art and Music, what a wonderful way of raising a child.

  2. Can't you show us a photo of the painting? that would be so awesome! BTW, how old is your girl today?

  3. AlpHa, thank you :-) All this and books are always with me and got me through many of my own turbulations. I can't imagine lie without them and so I try to bring my children with them.

    Muadita, I can't believe I didnt think about it! Thanks, I shall try to post the paintings photo soon :-)

  4. Apologies for not a great quality of this pic, but I am not operating a great camera :-( Hope you'l see what I have seen in it.

  5. What a lovely painting, you can almost see the music in the brush strokes.
    Music and art make life so much richer, like you I can't imagine being without both. I enjoy all music, but like Cirwen, my current taste is rock which has it's own special feel.

  6. People often talk about the healing power of music without really understanding what they mean. I love the way that music can appeal to people on so many different levels and I'm glad that Cirwen can express what she hears so well.

  7. SQ, you're my soulmate! I find too many things in common with you (apart from photography - I'm not so good at it). I have a feeling that Cirwen has auired mum's and dad's love for rock. But I do listen to all kinds depending on my mood :-)

    Madame, music is has powerful healing properties. For those with autism it's a pure sensual experience as they can hear, like Cirwen, with their whole body.

  8. Libertine,
    This post, actually Cirwen, was the inspiration for my thought for today. Thank you.

  9. Classical music is definitely the best type of music to calm the soul. I love listening to music to match my mood.

  10. How powerful!!!!! I feel so moved by this post. I actully have goose-bumps!!!

  11. I love Cirwen's painting! And you know what? I can relate to her, having music and art as outlets.

    Very often I find I can't express myself properly (writers can be a bit weird like that), yet I can write a poem or a short story out, to say what I mean.

    Maybe not for the same reasons, but I can understand why its easier to express oneself like that. Keeps me sane, too!