Happy, Happy Birthday to You!

Sometimes the things that the kids say in the clinic are so funny and cute that it is worth sharing. The priceless musings of our patients function not only as reminders of how delightful and resilient they are, but also as reminders of why the staff here loves the job that we all do.

There are so many examples of how our young patients make the everyday special with their unique view of the world.  A 3 year- old girl who had a really rough time and was admitted to the hospital, woke up the next morning  feeling better and excitedly requested sparkles and ribbon. She spent a long time creating a mixed media masterpiece, humming, singing and even doing an impromptu chicken dance as she worked. When she had finished making art and I was getting ready to leave the room she exclaimed, “Happy, Happy Birthday to you!”  It was neither her birthday nor mine, but she was just so happy that it must have seemed like the right thing to say.

photo- bdayblog

Creative Destruction

Creation and destruction are two sides of the same creative coin. Part of the empowerment of art therapy comes because the patient is in control of when to create and destroy. Kids with serious medical conditions deal with a lot of experiences that are painful and scary, and anger and the impulse to destroy can be an instinctive response to pain. The destructive side of creation can  be  therapeutic, with the right approach.

One really fun, slightly destructive, and very exciting art project is to create a “volcano” and explode it using the chemical reaction of vinegar and baking soda. Here are some pictures of two of our guys erupting the volcano that one of them sculpted out of clay– turning a day of chemo into fun and exciting play.

IMG_8227IMG_8226IMG_8224

Tape-imals

The art room at the Methodist Children’s clinic is currently overrun with tape animals (and a few other interesting creatures), and they have created quite a buzz among everyone who sees them!

tape-imals

tape-imals4

tape-imals3

A young college student visited our clinic one day to learn more about art therapy and specifically how Tracy’s Kids operates.  While she sat in the art room, getting to know some of the kids, she showed us how to make sculptures out of paper and masking tape.  The kids and I were enthralled.  The construction is simple, but really require a lot of patience and problem-solving to get the desired effect.  It’s a great project for families to do together, because sometimes you need extra hands.

All you need is paper, masking tape, and paint.  Regular masking tape works the best.  We started with painter’s tape because I had it on hand, but it doesn’t stick very well (by design), even though it IS  a fun blue color.  The paper is easiest to sculpt if it’s on the thin side, like copy paper.  This could be a great use for extra sheets of paper that are often floating around hospital clinics.  Crumple the paper and work it with your hands until you get the desired shape, then wrap in several layers of tape.  If you do make an animal – or anything with limbs and parts that stick out – it works best to do it in pieces, and then join them together.  Most kids decide to paint the sculptures at the end, but it’s up to them!

I am a big fan of any art that is cheap to create.  As an added bonus, despite their use of simple materials, the end-result looks really special.  I love the attention they get from everyone in the clinic – doctors and nurses and everyone who happens by all “ooh” and”ahh” over them, to the kids’ delight.

tape-imals2

Yes, that is the Pillsbury Doughboy!

“Nistar” Comic Book Event

 

We hope many of our friends can join us for this very special event NEXT TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 at 2:00 p.m. at Lombardi. The Go 4 the Goal Foundation is hosting a book tour for Shira Frimer, author of a comic book about a superhero who works to find a cure for childhood cancer. Ms. Frimer is an Israeli author and art therapist, and the book is illustrated by a professional comic book artist who illustrates for Marvel and DC comics! Autographed books, refreshments and a fun art activity will make it a really interesting and enjoyable afternoon.  Patients, friends and families of Tracy’s Kids are welcome to come. Nistar Poster

Progam Evaluation Time!

The Tracy’s Kids programs are collecting feedback from kids and families who participate at all five locations.  We are confident that we do good work, but we always want to know how we can improve.

We are asking  specifically if we are meeting our key goals: helping  kids and families in the clinic or hospital relax and calm down, deal with scary or stressful situations, have fun, express feelings, and cooperate with treatment–and if we help in other ways too. We’d love for you to tell us about the things we are doing really right,  and also hear suggestions about opportunities we may be missing.

If you participate in one of our programs, please take a minute to fill out a questionnaire the next time you visit–and if you’re all done with treatment and you don’t have to go back anytime soon, email me and I will send you a questionnaire. Thanks for your feedback!

I’ve included a little photo gallery from our past blogs just for fun.

Tracy's Kids at Carroll Square 2012

Tracy’s Kids at Carroll Square 2012

Coloring the Model Magic

Coloring the Model MagicIv pole

Ladybug fairy

Ladybug fairy

imagefiesta window

TK-MCH-1xraysIMG_8098

Sticky Art

Recently, a little girl started to come to our clinic for treatment. Although she is only 3 years old she is very brave when it comes to her medical procedures. The only thing that bothers her is the medical tape, which irritates the skin around her port (a tube for infusing medicine and drawing blood). Her fear of the sticky tape causes her a lot of distress and her parents as well as the medical team have been working hard each visit to reassure her that the tape is not going to hurt her.  Today we had an opportunity to make art about this fear when she exclaimed, “I want to make sticky art”!

With an array of colorful tape, stickers, glue dots and band-aids at hand this little girl set to work creating a flower garden. As she worked, the sticky materials stuck to her fingers and she talked about what it felt like to remove something that was stuck to her. With a sense of achievement, she peeled the band-aids off her fingers and stuck them to the paper.  

IMG_8208

Using sticky art materials and medical supplies to create her flower garden helped this little girl express her fear about the tape around her port.  Being in control of how much tape and how many band-aids she placed on her paper allowed for her to gain power over something scary. This is a good example of how art therapy can help address the fears that can come from some of the medical procedures our kids have to endure and how the art making process can help to empower them.