Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Clay Bracelet

Add ImageA beautiful, self-made, bracelet of beads of clay, painted in different colors. This came out of an envelope with science work on soil, sand, pebbles and clay.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

First Poem

Her very first poem ever!
And she turned 7. She's been celebrating her birthday for about 3 weeks now, with a party here and a party there. She still writes her number in reverse, but I switched the 'd' for the 'b' forever.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pumpkin Teeth

She’s got three wiggly teeth. She frequently checks them with her fingers, but no, they are still wiggling. “If they all fall out at the same time, I will have pumpkin teeth,” she says.
In Holland we would call that a bicycle rack (fietsenrek).

Monday, December 7, 2009

On Hana's Arabic Reading & Proud Mom

Hana has had issues with reading. We (her teachers and her mom) thought it would all come naturally, as she seems to be quite a bright child, but it didn’t.
And so in came some serious reading intervention. All this of course is taking place in English, as this is her main language, and the language in which she expresses herself. But 3 months later, although she is improving, her reading is still coming along very very slowly.

Everyone sort of ignored the Arabic reading, because – after all – that is only one of the subjects in class. She doesn’t even speak Arabic, and if you cannot read and write English, but speak it very well, than how on Earth can you read a language which you don’t even speak, right? Wrong. She can read Arabic much better than she can read English. Hats off to her Arabic teachers who managed to do such a good job and such a short time without anyone noticing it!

So here’s some of her Arabic reading! A story about Maha and Mamma, and a boat in the rain. Only Arabic speaker swill understand the story, I'm afraid, but it is a story about Maha and her friend Bassem, and the rain.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Some Work

Hana has been actively creative & creatively active; however, her mom had a bit of an overload of work, and so she failed to document it all. But here are some of the things. At school she wrote a book about her family. She is reading it to her mom here. It’s a 6 page document, which of course I could document here (maybe I will if I have more time), but the page I just could not resist is this one: Don’t you see that muscle man! Muscles bulging of this guys shirt like there is no tomorrow. And in his thoughts he’s kissing this woman. What more could a woman want? And who is the lucky woman? Well, her Mom of course! You don’t believe it? Then go check the caption. “My Dad likes Mom. (ignore the question mark there for a moment) My dad divz. (dives)”
Then there was a bout of swine flu, that could have gone better if Hana had accepted to take her medication. But to have Hana take but a tiny spoon of liquid strawberry tasting Panadol will bring down the house. As if you are murdering a child! Had I been living in a Dutch apartment complex, they’d have sent the ‘Kinderbescherming’ (Social Child Services) at me, because the ruckus she makes is deafening. In the end, I had to explain to her the function of her immune system, how the white blood cells were fighting the nasty intruders, the viruses that were entering the body and the blood stream, and how the medication would help these guys fight off the bad guys. Inspired by this all, she made this drawing of the medication entering the mouth (see all the teeth?), and the battle between the good guys (green) and bad guys (red). Funny how she associates colors already with a feeling. Green is good, red is bad.
She's been busy on her easel as well. I cannot find this particular painting, which seems to be inspired by Picasso. We have a bit of an overactive housekeeper as well, who likes to get things out of her way. We've had to buy a trash can for Hana in her drawing room, so she can inspect the things we throw away, but that doesn't always help.
A princess under an arch of . . . well, something.Another princess, and this time with a boyfriend. Maybe a prince.

Mom's Desk

Hana's drawings are becoming more realistic and detailed. This is a drawing of my office. Or desk, actually, can’t really call it an office anymore as the entire household is pouring their junk into it.
And as you can see (you can compare it with the real thing), she’s quite accurate.

We’ve Got a Writer!

And finally! We have independently written text! I have waited anxiously for this one, remembering that I knew how to read by Christmas in grade 1 (and we’ve got only one more month to go), but if you can write, you can read.
It has a Dr. Seuss-like quality to it.

The Dog Sat on Mom ? and I Sat on the Mom

Mom smiles when the dog sits on her, but apparently Hana is a little too heavy, because now Mom’s not smiling anymore. She still switches her letters around, but that will solve itself eventually. A sigh of relief, I have to say.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sight Words

Hana is learning how to read. We play Memory with a number of sight words. At the end of the game (which Hana always wins due to her incredible cheating capacities), she gets to make sentences. She loves it when I read them out loud. Especially this one. In case Miss Founouni is reading this; Yes, those are your brownies. They were quite good!I know I've already posted this one, but this Bikini Lady intrigues me. Her belly button, the orange hair flowing from one side only, the very hip bikini (if I may say so), the dainty little right foot (left for her), and then this ogre on her left who is obviously trying to get her attention, dropping his flowers while doing so. What is he trying to do anyway? Tickle her under her chin? And what’s with the headwear, dude? Going 10012 nights? I don’t know.

Halloween is in the air. She cut out some scary figures for me to decorate my room. Very cute.

Monday, October 26, 2009


We bought a pumpkin on Sunday. An ‘ara’, in Arabic, although someone told me that the correct term would be ‘Latin’. Anyway, at $1 a kilo, we ended up with an 8 dollar pumpkin. She designed the scary face herself, and I helped her carve it. And this is the result. Mind you, Halloween is not a Lebanese tradition, nor a Dutch one. This one is totally’ school infused’.

Lessons of Life

If there is one thing that Hana has learned since she has entered grade 1, it is how to cheat. A dear friend of mine made this picture of Hana in school at the bus gate. She wanted to show me that Hana does know her letters; after all, look at the words she wrote on her am. I recognize the words as the spelling words of the week, on which she had a spelling test that day. She aced it, first time ever. Now I know why. Well, she learn an important lesson on life. ‘Those that cheat, will pass.’

We’d call that a ‘performance assessment’ in my trade.

The Age of Realism

It’s been a while since Hana has updated. She does paint, but her mom is not able to upload it all. Here are some examples. She’s become more ‘realistic’ in her drawings lately. This particular lady reminds me of Beyonce. This is a happy couple, sharing drinks. She painted the bottom of the glasses in silver color; that’s why they reflect.
She’s been quite busy in school with ‘dot paintings’; an version of pointillisme.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Fish

On the front a fish,
but I kind of liked the back even better.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Special Girl

"What are these?" asks Hana's mom.
"A girl and a boy," replies Hana.
"Just a girl?"
"Whyn is she wearing a crown?"
"Because she is very special to the boy."

With hair like that, I hope she's not bringing one like that home. Is he wearing a black ballet suit under his blue jeans?


If this is not an art, I don't know what is.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Queen for the Day’

This one is no drawing from Hana, but about Hana. Today she was ‘Queen for the Day’ and all her classmates learned how to spell her name, drew her picture, and asked her questions. These are the results. Hana was particularly smitten with this one. “I can’t understand that she’s not amazed with her own drawing,” she said.
Hana was. “She is from another country, almost like China or something.”
Hana practising her sight words in class.
A drawing of a lady painting a Christmastree.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Day of School

Today is Hana’s first day in elementary school; she started grade 1 this morning. Her first work home was an assignment; “Draw Your Favorite Reading Place”. For Hana, that is the balcony that has her pool, and the big brass bed with the pillows, and the bamboo. I could recognize the spot. Can you? Up is her drawing, down is the actual spot.
A pinto horse.
And a fox, that looks like the cat in the hat. But it is a fox.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Princess Dress

Hana got some pink satin gloves. And so she brought her mother’s high heels out. But something was missing; a gown to go with the gloves. She picked out a design from a magazine (very elaborate one, I might add), and browsed through my stock of textiles-that-I-want-to-do-something-with-one-day-but-haven’t-had-the-time-to-do-so-for-the-past-18-years, and picked up some pink stuff for the dress.
So why the frustration, you might think (on her face)? She assumed she just could cut the dress into a fit, but the fact that it needs to be sewed as well, greatly annoyed her. And so she gave up.

Peanut People

"What are these, Hana?" asks Hana's mom.
"Peanut people," replies Hana.
"And what do these peanut people do?" says Hana's mom.
"I had a feeling you were going to ask that," replies Hana.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


For her ‘oma’ (grandma) and ‘opa’ (grandpa) in Holland, Hana made some handkerchiefs, decorated with textile paint. She thought they might come in very handy.

Picture Frame

A picture frame, made by Hana. It has a wooden ‘thing’ on the back with which you can secure the picture in its frame.

Beach Bum

Hana's summer is almost over; September 8 the Beach Bum/ Donkey Rider is due back in school. Let's see what the new year brings.

Last week.
I had a collection of pens traveling around in my handbag. As it was very annoying - everything got ink over it - I looked around for a pencil case. The only one I could find was a hippo pencil case of Hana (a pencil case shaped like a hippo). I quickly emptied it of its contents, and used it for my pens, and put it in my handbag.

This week.
Hana and I are talking about the upcoming school year. She telling me all the things she needs, as this year she is going to the ‘big school’; grade 1. Everything passes the venue, from lunchboxes to waterbottles, to erasers and pencils and I don’t know what.

But you will have to get it ready and organize it, put it in one place,” I tell her.
Oh,” she replies, “I already put all my school supplies together.”
Oh, where did you put them,” I ask her, without really thinking about it.
I put them in my hippo pencil case,” she says.


Oooops, I think I just dumped all that stuff out. Better organize myself tonight, or I am going to eat it. I can just visualize this.


Love Story

Hana’s brother is growing up, and past holiday was spent mainly in the company of girls. Hana finds this entirely fascinating; that girls would actually pass by because they want to be in the company of her – in her eyes – incredibly annoying brother.
And so she’s been drawing about love, and kisses and hearts. This particular one is a love story. It came as a book.Girl meets boy, and is thinking that she actually really would like to kiss him (thinking bubbles). The feeling is obviously mutual. Check out the puckered lips.
And so they kiss. The lying on the ground must be something she sees in movies. I thought it was a church bell up above, but no, it was just a lamp. The girl has her boobies in her neck.
Next comes a reflective piece of the mother (formerly the girl kissing, so obviously they must have gotten married). I’d think she probably thinks “Oh my God, what did I get myself into”, but Hana says she’s thinking on “doing a band with the family”. (boobies still in her neck)
And indeed, here they are; a performing family. Mom, Dad, and a boy and a girl, in rock band disguise. Complete with hairdo, chains and poses.

Pictographic Shopping List

Hana cannot read and write yet, much to her dismay. But she has circumvented the problem with this graphic shopping list.

The list features water ( a bottle with some water movement, ice tea (a water bottle with ice cubes), eggs (chicken with eggs, butter (buttercup with a B in it), cornflakes for her and her brother (A + H above box), chocolate paste (Nutella jar, go figure if you can find that one and tuna fish (fish).

I thought it was just a memory thing, and that she’d soon forget what each item meant. However, this shopping list was ‘written’ on August 18, and when I just asked (August 30) her if she could clarify the items for me, she could do so immediately.
I guess you could call this a pictographic shopping list.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Another thing Hana saw, and I didn't see it.
"Look Mom, this stone looks like a strawberry," she said when she picked up this stone from a beach in Yport.
I thought she meant the texture of the stone, but when she painted it, I saw the strawberry. Indeed, it does look like a strawberry.

What Is It?

At first I though it was an art work made with stones, depicting a heart. Alas, Hana's mom is at times a little too lyrical.
"No, it is a fireplace," Hana said impatiently, "Don't you see the stones around it? ANd in the middle you put the fire."
Yes, of course.