I remember when my daughter Hannah started drawing. It was a few months before her fourth birthday, and WHAM!, her creativity just exploded. She started spending a good portion of her days drawing. While my husband and I repeated the mantra we only draw on paper over and over again, sometimes her art just refused to be contained. She drew on walls. She drew on herself. She painted on the floor. She covered the world in lines, shapes and colours.
Hannah hasn’t stopped drawing since. She remains a prolific artist, and while I am undoubtedly biased as her mother, all that practice has made her pretty good. Many of her drawings are better than mine, even though I have nearly three full decades on her. I love that Hannah has this outlet that allows her to express herself, explore her world, and play. I love that my daughter is an artist. I’m also glad that she’s gotten much better at keeping the art on paper and off the walls.
Now my son Jacob is coming up on his fourth birthday, and recently he went through a creative explosion of his own. He’s started drawing and colouring and creating recognizable forms, like this “friendly ghost”:
Jacob is spending more and more time with a marker in his hand. And just like his sister before him, his art refuses to be contained. We remind him repeatedly that he should draw on paper and nowhere else. If you ask him where he should draw, he dutifully replies, “Only on paper.” He has the rote theory down, and yet we still often come across scenes like this:
When I catch my son red-handed, drawing on the back of my kitchen island, I point out to him that we only draw on paper. He says, “Yes, we draw on paper.” When I try to take the marker out of his hand, though, he says, “No! Wait! I’m not finished yet!” Then he proudly shows me his creation. He can talk the talk, but he’s not walking the walk.
I love seeing Jacob’s budding artistic skills. I love that he’s expressing himself creatively. I understand that this penchant towards graffiti is natural. I understand that Jacob will eventually learn where it’s okay to draw, and where it’s not okay to draw. I only give my children washable markers, so Jacob’s work is relatively easy to clean. And yet, it’s hard not to feel a little bit, erm, put out, when I come across yet another masterpiece on my wall, my curtains or my coffee table.
Can you relate? Do your little Picassos draw on every surface in your home? If you’ve recently gone through this stage, how long did it last? I could use some commiseration from other parents who have drawings all over their walls.