Out of the Mouths of Babes

Leah Piken Kolidas

My husband was so curious to see how becoming a mother would affect my art. He thought, once I had Annabelle, that I might start painting babies all the time. But I didn’t. Instead I painted the moon.

Our little girl was not a “good sleeper.” She was up much of the night, every 2-3 hours, until she was 6 and a half months old. Night and I became good friends. I used to be a night owl, making art until the wee hours, but this was different. I had a daytime life, filled with nursing, friends, family, sunshine, and the outdoors and a nighttime life, just baby and I, the darkness, and the moon.

What a strange time. I would sometimes dread the night because it was a bit lonely and so very long. I never knew I could function on so little sleep!

Finding time to create with a baby who doesn’t sleep well wasn’t easy. Even with a baby who sleeps well, it isn’t easy. But I do make time for it. There aren’t long stretches of time, just moments. I’ve had to create in a slightly different way, but I’ve found ways to make it work. Sometimes starting something during a morning nap and finishing it up after she goes to bed.

I continue to create because it’s important to me and it is important to her. Because I know I’m a better, more whole person and mother when I give myself this time to make art.

Now that she’s getting a little older (all of 9 months), we are beginning to create together. Her daddy plays guitar and she shakes her rattle. She draws squiggles of color on big sheets of paper and I join in her delight. I sing a song and she giggles and dances. She’s a natural born creator, a wonderful reminder that we are all born creative. I will continue to nurture that light in her eyes and I will be a good role model by continuing to express my own creativity.

Leah Piken Kolidas is a mixed-media artist living near Boston, MA with her husband, their daughter, and their four fuzzy cats. She sells her art at www.BlueTreeArtGallery.com and blogs and runs creativity challenges at www.CreativeEveryDay.com. She loves silly socks, hot chocolate, her daughter’s laugh, and sleep (when she can get it.)

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