How Fort Worth's Niki Little, the Mom Behind the Wheel of Little Art Bus, Spends Her Wednesday
Words Niki Little, Photography Virginia Nell
Published February 2019 FortWorthChild
Updated February 20, 2019
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Tarrant County families have likely seen Niki Little driving around town in her Tiffany blue art studio on wheels, The Little Art Bus. When she’s not bringing art activities to schools, parties and local businesses, the mom of two is busy raising her family in Westworth Village. She lives with her husband, a telecommunications construction contractor, and their two kids, 6-year-old Elise and 2-month-old Roscoe, plus their three dogs—a Chowbrador named Loki, a Boston terrier named Bob and a French bulldog named Ninja.  

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GET TO KNOW NIKI

YEARLY DESTINATION Arkansas family lake house
WHERE SHE GOES FOR RETAIL THERAPY Target and any art supply store
FIRST CELEBRITY CRUSH Jordan Knight from New Kids on The Block
FAVORITE DATE NIGHT Eva’s Taco Shack and a concert
BEST PURCHASE EVER A huge sweater coat from Madewell
BLOG OR INSTAGRAM SHE FOLLOWS  @artcampla is my favorite for kid art inspiration
BEAUTY PRODUCT SHE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT Dry shampoo
WHAT SHE DOES WHEN LIFE GETS STRESSFUL Drink a few glasses of wine and call my mom, or just go to bed
ONGOING PROJECT Home and bus renovations
FAVORITE GIFT TO GIVE FRIENDS Tacos

4AM Wake up for the third time and look at the clock. Oops, I slept through my pump alarm. Time to nurse Roscoe (or at least try). I wonder if I’ll get to squeeze in a shower.

5AM Roscoe fights me and refuses to nurse. Time to put him down and pump.

5:23AM I pump as Roscoe sucks on his fists. Guess I’ll try bottle-feeding him what I pumped.

5:38AM Decide to make coffee and keep Roscoe’s bottle on standby. He’ll scream at me when he’s ready. I’m still not sure about that shower.

6AM Pour myself a cup of coffee. Roscoe still won’t eat, so I swaddle and lay him back down. He seems content. My husband, Allen, is up now so I opt to take that shower.

6:42AM Allen and I discuss kid logistics while I get dressed (Little Art Bus T-shirt, jeans, Converse) and he searches for irritating music to get Elise out of bed. He blasts “Stand and Deliver” by Adam and the Ants. Our thoroughly annoyed 6-year-old rolls out of bed and shouts, “Alexa, stop playing!” Let the morning chaos begin.

7AM Help Elise fix her hair. Shove a banana and cereal bar in my mouth while she eats her cereal. Roscoe is still sleeping. I have time to put on some makeup (a rare occurrence) before I get him ready to go.

7:30AM Allen and Elise are out the door and headed to school. I dress Roscoe and load him into his car seat. Before heading out, I put Ninja, our French bulldog puppy, in his dojo (crate). He’s jealous because Bob the Boston terrier and Loki the Chowbrador are free to roam.

7:42AM Strap Roscoe into his seat on the bus, check that I haven’t forgotten anything and then head to Arlington for this morning’s preschool art activities.

8AM My mouth waters as we near a Whataburger. We’re a little early, so I pull the bus into the parking lot and take Roscoe in for his first visit to our favorite Texas fast food chain. Sausage biscuit and hash browns, what a breakfast!

8:30AM Pull into the preschool, finish my breakfast and try feeding Roscoe again. Success! Let him eat while April, my assistant for the day, sets up art stations. We’re using paper shapes, tempera paint and googly eyes to make some craft creatures.

9AM Head into the preschool. I love hearing the kids chant my name in excitement. Our first group lines up, climbs into the bus, gets seated and settled. I give some quick instruction on the art project and then turn on Kidz Bop and let the creativity commence.

10AM First group finishes their activity session. Time for round two.

10:30AM Art fun over for today. Clean up and then it’s back home to feed Roscoe.

11:30AM Back home. Loki is in the backyard, all wet from the rain. Allen must not have realized he was still outside when he left this morning. I let him in and dry him off. Oh yeah, the other two dogs need to go out too. Three wet dogs later … rain, rain, go away!

12PM Roscoe is fussy about nursing again, but it’s nearing the time that I have to leave for my hair appointment. I opt to pump.

12:30PM Allen walks through the door, so I leave him with Roscoe and a bottle and rush off to the salon.

2PM Home again, with a slightly shorter ’do. My hairstyle choice is not my favorite but it will grow back. I successfully feed Roscoe and even manage to finish in time to go pick up big sister.

3PM Meet Elise outside of her school. On the drive, she tells me about her fun day of singing, dancing and art while her class is preparing for their winter performance of The Nutcracker.

4PM Stop for coffee at Craftwork on Magnolia Avenue, and then visit Grow Plant Shop to try to book a kids’ crafting event. I propose that we park the Little Art Bus in their lot and use some of their leaf clippings to make leaf print pop art for a Saturday morning activity session. They love the idea.

4:32PM Arrive back home. Elise is passed out in the back seat. I send a quick message to my assistant to let her know the event is booked.

5PM Make a bagel and cream cheese as a snack for Elise and then check her backpack. I get her started on homework and then run to my desk to send out some emails and party invoices.

5:45PM Elise is hard at work. I check in on Roscoe. He’s fast asleep, and I decide to slip in a quick nap.

6:30PM Roscoe wakes up—he’s hungry, and so am I. While I’m feeding him, I declare this a Chinese takeout night. Pepper steak and lo mein from China Bowl always hits the spot. I delegate ordering duties to Allen and remind Elise to feed the dogs.

8PM Dinner arrives later than expected. The three of us gather at the table to eat our late dinner and sleepily recount our days.

8:30PM Clean up the kitchen, put Elise to bed, respond to more emails.

9PM Feed Roscoe. For the next three hours, Allen and I take turns patting and rocking him to get him back to sleep.

12:30AM Crawl into the daybed next to Roscoe’s rocker and pass out with dreams of a few hours’ sleep.