I never thought I’d be one of those parents.
But sometimes when I arrive to pick up my son at his daycare, there’s the faint echo of eye rolls in the air (if you’ve ever been at the receiving end of one, I promise this makes sense).
One of the teachers sifts through a pile of large white papers so slathered with paint that they’re stiff as cardboard. “Here’s the one he did yesterday,” she says.
I never realized this would be something unusual to ask for, but then again, it’s true that if your kid does a fingerpainting a day, which is possible at the daycare, the seemingly senseless paint smears would pile up. Maybe you wouldn’t mind them going into the round file instead of your apartment. But my son’s paintings are rare.
I guess I’m a bit surprised by that. His paternal grandfather and maternal great-grandfather were artists, and he loves gazing at pictures in books or even in the art collections I keep on the shelf in our living room (Gauguin is his favorite).
Then again, you could say I’m the same: I love art, but can’t paint or sculpt to save my life. But when I was young, before I realized that, I filled notebooks with doodles and drawings, and I have many fond memories of painting at preschool, too. Oddly enough, I don’ think my parents saved any of those….
Whenever my son does draw or paint something, I find myself looking, maybe uselessly, for something inside those seemingly disordered lines, as if I could decode him a little. If that were the case, I might be worried: The first piece he brought home was a white sheet adorned with two small yellow, circle-shaped stickers. There was something stylishly minimalist about it, sure, but what kid his age doesn’t go crazy when they, as the teacher told me, had access to dozens of different stickers?
His second work was even more troubling: A small yellow sticker — this time in the shape of a boat — in the midst of a swirl of red lines. I call it “The Maelstrom”.
But quickly my son’s rare paintings and drawings took a happier turn, like the drawing of a car he made for his dad for Father’s Day this year. Or the ever more colorful finger paintings he’s been creating lately.
The other day, though, he drew something that took me outside myself for time, that made me feel at once that I mattered and that I was seeing myself from a distance. If you’d like to find out about it, Mamalode.com is featuring my piece about it, here.
Please feel free to stop by — and share your own thoughts about your kids’ artwork, too. Anyone else have an existential crisis-inducing picture of a ship lost in a turbulent sea? Or a picture that was like a mirror held up to who you are? Or even just a really cool-looking made-up animal (I’m really looking forward to that phase)?