It is possible to spend a lot of money for things of little value, and very little money for things of great value. I think some of our best investments have been a few toys that allow Gigi free reign to creative time.
A few months ago, when I was trying to help her learn shapes, I saw this wooden shapes toy of sorts at a local toy store, and brought it home. It has been so cool to watch her become more sophisticated in what she creates. It has also sustained her attention far longer than most other toys she has. "Look at my design!" is probably one of the most repeated sentences in our home.
A few days ago she came up with this self-portrait and I had to capture it. Usually her designs are rocketships or houses that vaguely look like rocketships or houses, but this was something unique: her careful symmetry and use of color was such a stone's throw from what she used to make that as her mother, I was - humbly of course - very, very impressed.
Gigi also loves painting. Tutu bought her a crayola waterpaint set for her birthday in April, and we finally have a good kitchen with a big open layout to let her loose in. We pull her little table and a chair in from the living room, strip her down, take a deep adult breath and let her at the paints. Yesterday I was able to make a big pot of harvest soup, and for over an hour she painted very contentedly while I cooked in the kitchen. It was one of those moments that makes you think, "Wait... Did we just achieve domestic bliss?".
And I feel like I should note: that cabbage leaf is not a prop for a still life painting (and I painted that "A"). Before Gigi was painting she was up on the counter "helping" me as my sous chef, and she pulled off a leaf of cabbage to use as a hat, which ended up on the table. Oh, c'mon! I know I have my schedule for her training as a Mensa candidate, but give me some credit here. I'm not going to push my 2 year old into painting a still life... Ha ha ha!