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We Don’t Go to Bed Angry, that’s the Rule

We don’t go to bed angry, that’s the rule. It’s curious about rules. Rules are conceptually external to yourself and to others. Set apart from the particulars of events and situations, they stand like heavy stone pillars surrounding the tumultuous interior where emotions rein.
Irate as each of us were, my 12-year old daughter and me—and I can’t even remember the argument—she quoted the rule to me as she lay in her bed, her outgrown stuffed animals, not a one discarded, taking up room around her.
“No, we can’t,” I agreed, though it took me a moment, sitting on the edge of the bed, tense and annoyed.
The matter itself was not resolved and each of us knew it, an unfairness of some sort, which lay at the foundation of family disputes: favors extended to a sibling, a denial of privilege, a perceived refusal to understand, a broken promise. Whatever the infliction of emotional pain one on the other, the rule made it necessary to wait until the morning for further discussion.
The matter ended for the night with a hug. In fairness to the truth, one probably hugged more than the other, but lumpy or limp the hug reinforced the rule.
A curious thing about hugs. The contact of bodies, embrace of arms, touch of a cool cheek on one’s own—again, the external quiets the turmoil of the inner.
Never is such quietude needed more than at the transition time between day and sleep. The day has brought its own unexpected doings, excitements, angst, twists and turns requiring action and resources brought to bear. The night’s sleep brings the needed rest in which dreams can work in peace to expel in their own wildly creative ways, the trash that clutter the mind, clearing it at least enough to welcome the next day’s surprises.
The transition at bedtime between the dramatic enactments of the day and the curtain closing on night is, for all its seeming insignificance with so little happening, time well spent if spent well. Being read to before sleep in the early years and reading yourself in the forever years after is time well spent. Giving credence to the rule, we don’t go to bed angry is a mission well spent. The rule applies not only to the miss-speak or miss-deeds of others, but to anger addressed to yourself. For anger at yourself is the most vicious and least forgiving.
With a physical hug or an implied one, the rule abides, putting off until morning the effortful anger, allowing dreams to roll in and do their work to exhume the stuff not needed and soften the biting hurts and clear the way to embrace the day.

Scribbling: Importance for Toddlers

Give a toddler a pencil or crayon and sheet of paper and there her attempt to make sense of her world will

    At about two years old, if you put a pencil or crayon in your toddler's hand and a paper in front of her, she will make marks, that though they may look like scribbles, are in actuality the first notations of her attempt to make sense of her world. There are few activities in the pre‑school years,and later through age eleven, as directly relevant to perceptual awareness as art making.  In drawing, children are able to organize their world and give it shape as if by their own hands. With little encouragement chil­dren will make drawings without number and in these artful compositions lies evidence of their increasing perceptual and cognitive awareness.  Encouraging drawing early in the toddler years provides a head start because using drawing as a vehicle of expression takes hold and will be increasingly used.

    In a fascinating study by Rhoda Kellogg of over a million children in all parts of the world, several discoveries were made.  Not the least of these is that children have a natural aesthetic aptitude; that is, a sense of beauty and visual organization.  When children as young as two and three years old draw, they place their markings in patterns on the page, which is to say they are aware of the space within which their markings appear. Their markings are made in a balanced way in relation to that space.  It is a universal propensity of chil­dren to make these marks, to use the page or the sand or the wall (unless you stop them) to scribble and to create placement patterns with those markings. Now that science has made us aware of how much neural activity has already occurred in the womb and as infants, we should not be surprised by these instinctive talents. What we need to do is keep the rudimentary but magical materials of art ready for exploration.

      One of Kellogg's discoveries is that children are inspired and encouraged by their own markings.  The mind/hand coordination that allows them to draw and the shapes that appear from their own hand are the incentives that keep them drawing.  In doing so, both creativity and cognition are developed as they continue to explore. Later come the recognizable images that so delight us.
www.Smart Starts in The Starts in the Arts by Judith Peck, Ed.D is winner of the Mom's Choice Award for excellence in educational products. For other educational Books by Dr. Judith Peck, visit