In response to my post about Matthew and his tape-and-blanket experiment, I received a comment (thanks Leanne and Gwen) about Matthew's creativity. This demands a response from me. Yeah, Matthew's creative. Though he likes regular paper-and-marker types of crafts, his creativity most commonly manifests itself in different ways.
For one thing, he's a talker and a thinker...more so than a doer! As I've mentioned before, he talks and asks questions all of the time - I'm talking about a hundred or more questions a day...like a dog with a bone. Two days ago, his questions were oriented around post-death issues...again. In the past, we've covered all kinds of questions about what happens when we die: who goes to heaven; how do we get to heaven; how does God get us there; is he strong enough to carry us or does he bring an airplane to shoot us up there and how sure am I about my answers to these questions; etc etc etc. Tuesday's questions were more oriented around bad guys: who decides what's in someone's heart enough to decide who's a good guy and who's a bad guy; if someone does something that's mean, does that make them a bad guy; what makes a bad guy a bad guy; what happens to bad guys after they die; if someone does good things but has bad intentions in his heart while he does them, does this mean that they're bad (and vice versa). It's exhausting at times, but I so often marvel at the creativity of his thoughts and how profound some of his insights are. My brain is often more tired than my body at the end of the day...making a case for exercise, I suppose.
Anyway, there are many other ways he's very creative. First, he regularly develops little obsessions - his tape fixation, for example, as I've hinted already with the tape-and-blanket post. Scotch, masking and plumber's tapes are everywhere in our house: stringing together the bannisters; holding teddies together in permanent hugging positions; fastening chairs to tables; effectively locking doors to cupboards; and regularly used in the creation of intricate spider web formations in doorways, to prevent people from entering a room without five minutes of careful (and sometimes irritating) deconstruction. If ever I am in need of tape, I can be assured that it will not be found in my 'junk' drawer but rather in one of Matthew's craft drawers or treasure boxes!
Another way his creativity is apparent is through his love of experimentation. About eight months ago, I did a few little science experiments with Matthew - some involving acid/explosive chemical reactions and others about colour creation. Ever since then, he's loved to experiment by making his own mixtures and potions, often using whatever kitchen contents he can find: food colouring; baking soda in combination with vinegar or other acidic stuff he finds; crushed cereals; various leftover or other pantry ingredients. They're disgusting creations but he loves them - they usually provide decoration to our counter-tops for a day or two before I can secret them away...down the guarborator (sp?).
His experimental nature comes out in another way as well. When Matthew is allowed to watch tv, one of his two favourite types of programming is the Discovery channel (the other is the fantastic Life nature series we've been taping for him); he and Geoff often get experiment and construction-like ideas from watching Discovery shows. Last night, for example, while I was at my book club gathering, the two of them built a zip line that they'd seen constructed on Discovery recently. I came home from my evening and found the zip line strung across my kitchen, from one wall to another. They strung a regular drinking straw onto a sturdy string and then fasted both ends of the string to opposite walls; then they attached a rolled-up piece of strong tape (from Matthew's collection, no doubt) to the bottom of the straw. This morning, they both demonstrated what to do with it: you blow up a balloon and, holding the end closed with your fingers, you stick the balloon onto the tape; then you let go of the balloon so that the air comes gushing out. The result? The pressure of the air rushing out forces the straw (with balloon stuck to the bottom of it) to fly across the zip line to the other end. It's great, actually! Though I wonder how long it's going to grace my kitchen.
The downside to much of this creativity?? The clean-up. The bigger downside? The reality that I'm often the one doing the majority of the clean-up! Yay, creativity!