Cheap notebook paper has been playing a huge part in MJ’s imaginative play recently. It began when we purchased an unremarkable note pad at Target so she would have something to draw in on the airplane. When we got home from vacation, there were still a lot of pages left, so we put the pad out, along with some crayons, on a small table in the living room.
MJ generally has access to art supplies, but the sheets she usually draws on are much larger, and attached to an easel. These six-by-eight leafs seemed to really grab her imagination. So she grabbed them. One by one. After scribbling on them, of course. She tore each out, and began spreading them here, there, and everywhere. Suddenly every game she played involved the paper. It became — in her imagination — menus, beds, money, books, trains, cars, telephones, lakes. Sheets of it got wedged between the louvres of our windows and called curtains. Others were wrapped around the legs of stuffed animals and called diapers.
Sometimes I couldn’t tell what role the paper was playing — it was just laid under other toys like some sort of play-hour placemat. At times like this Mike, being Mike, would aver that MJ was using the paper to create “discursive fields.” Foucault, he said, wrote all about it. Whatever. I thought she was just being OCD. And — ahem — I was the philosophy major.
Anyway. MJ and I went to Ikea to buy some frames today. When we got home and took them all out of their wrapping Myra-Jean found herself with a new substance to fool around with. Calling it “water,” she draped discarded cellophane everywhere: on chairs, legos, pillows.
I got busy framing what pictures I could — some of the frame sizes I’d purchased were wrong, and one eight-and-a-half-by-eleven style I’d bought turned out — mysteriously — to come with no glass. Guess that’s why it was $1.89.
When I was finally finished I glanced up. MJ was deeply engrossed at the window sill. Walking over, I found her putting the finishing touches on one of her typical mise en scenes — orderly, repetitive, and colorful. All the media were in play. (As well as my blush brushes, neither of which, no matter what I do, I can keep out of my daughter’s sticky little hands.) I liked it. A lot.
Discursive field or not, I think the plastic adds an interesting new element. I hope it’s BPA free; I have a feeling we’ll be seeing quite a lot of it.
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