I have a tradition with my nephews and my niece. It started with my oldest nephew when my niece was born. We’ve done it every year but one since then!
We play in my art journal together. The tradition starts with tracing hands; my hand, my nephew’s hand the first year, when my niece was born, in 2008. He scribbled, I scribbled. It was fun.
We missed the next year. In 2010, we added my niece’s hand to the collection, so now there were 3. My niece joined in the scribbling. My nephew practiced his letters. We played with water color crayons and Nijii water brushes.
In 2011, 3 more hands. My niece scribbled. My nephew drew very small pictures with great concentration. I colored on his page drew flowers on his monster. My niece wanted to play with the water colors again. Circles and color.
In 2012, we welcomed a new baby to the family and I added his hand to my growing collection, along with his older brother and sister. Both the older two wanted to play with the water color crayons and water brushes. My nephew drew small tight shapes on his page. My niece drew Easter Eggs shapes. I bought both of them art supplies for Christmas!
This last Christmas, I again brought my art-journal over. My niece, on the phone, said “Auntie Amy, can we craft?” “Yes, sweetie.” “Are you bringing your journal?” “Of course”. The first day they were there, my niece and I sat at the Ikea kid’s table in my mother’s craft room with my journal and the water colors, this time a travel kit with pans of colors and the brushes. I started tracing our hands. My youngest nephew wandered in and wanted to play, so we traced his hand. His mom, my SIL, came in, “Can I trace my hand?” “of course!”. My oldest nephew came in – “You are going to trace my hand, right?” “Of course! It’s a tradition!”. Oldest nephew’s hand was traced, and he wandered back out. He’s at the age where video games are the ultimate in entertainment and is not as easily enticed to play in my journal.
My niece and I played in my journal almost every night they were visiting. We drew, we doodled, we stamped. My youngest nephew often joined us, but used the eraser as a toy car – chasing crayons off on the floor. I did get him to scribble a bit, but it’s so hard to see, that I can’t photograph it. I still haven’t convinced my brother to trace his hand yet.
I made a quilt for my mom in 2011 – from the hand-prints and scribbling in my journal. She wants me to add the baby’s hands to it. My sister-in-law wants a copy of the page from my journal. Perhaps she will get a quilt as well.