Yesterday we stopped at a bookstore, and I ran across a highly charming book, "The Tiny Art Director: A Toddler And Her Vision" by Bill Zeman. Zeman is a highly accomplished artist, and he has a very demanding little girl for whom he draws. She tells him she wants a picture of a crocodile or something, and he goes off and creates a fantastic painting and comes back, and she shouts at him something like "I hate it! You are so dumb!". Zeman has recorded all these interactions deadpan in his book, listing "The Commission", "The Critique", and the outcome, Accepted or Rejected in forms next to the beautiful, funky art in question. (I found last night that there is a blog about the Tiny Art Director, but the book is much better, as much of the charm is in the large, beautiful pictures and the mock-professional forms recording the Tiny Art Director's commissions and comments, as though these were real submissions to advertising agencies or magazines).
I showed this book to Iris and Lola, who roared and roared. "This is the funniest book I have ever seen!" said Iris. They particular loved one of the Tiny Art Director's critiques, where she said, "You are dumb! Why don't you grow up, Daddy?" The three of us thumbed through the book in perfect harmony, laughing and laughing.
What I liked about it was the bloodthirstiness of the Tiny Art Director (one drawing was rejected because it didn't show enough blood. "Can't you draw blood?"). I've come under some criticism for recording the darker side of Iris and Lola here on my blog. Sometimes Iris and Lola, sweet little pretty girls that they are, do things like pretending they are vampires drinking blood from goblets, toasting "to the death of a human! To the death of a human!" Also, much has been said over the years about Lola's desire to murder her older sister. This sort of thing has led to people asking me, with only helpfulness and good wishes, why I don't have these children in psychotherapy. Next to the Tiny Art Director, Lola and Iris are straight out of the Osmond clan (the Osmond clan of yore, before Marie struggled with post-partum depression and Donny attempted to go hard rock).
On the way home the children squabbled over who should get "The Tiny Art Director" book for her birthday. Then a more vicious fight broke out: who is funnier, Lola or the Tiny Art Director? This one led to tears, as Lola is accustomed to the title of Funniest Person Anyone In the Family Knows In Person, and Iris was strongly contending that the Tiny Art Director is infinitely funny. No moment of happiness lasts for long enough.
More fodder for the nature vs nurture debate in regards to CEO/art director types.
i've been a big fan of the TAD for a while and i love the way the father relates to his kid. lola is, however, older and more worldly and i think her humor may just be sophisticated and acerbic (except for the whole butts thing which we'll just overlook).
I have been following your blog for over a year now - with Iris, Lola, the Husband, and most importantly, you. You are a fabulous writer with a keen mind and I believe you are raising two of the smartest children on earth. Let them dress as vampires,say things that kids say, be weird and fun. Let them be kids. You allow that, and you give hope to all of us. Congrats! email@example.com
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