For a long time, coloring was an activity that held little interest for Little Boy. I would place paper and crayons in front of him, and he would scribble for a few minutes before looking around for something else to do. I also tried watercolors to no avail; he liked to squeeze play-dough, but looked at me blankly when I showed him how to make shapes to form animals. This perplexed me a little, as I thought kids just naturally loved these activities, but he showed such a preference for toys that could be manipulated that we figured he was just an engineer, not an artist.
An early childhood education expert with whom I work told me not to worry; coloring just sort of “clicks” within children. One day they’re scribbling indiscriminately at the paper, the next day they’re actually drawing objects. I’m not sure exactly when this switchover happened for Little Boy, but about a month ago we were making a card for someone, and he picked up a crayon and drew a circle flanked by little lines coming off the side. “Sun!” he told me, and I was so surprised I hugged him and expressed a full minute of amazement over his beautiful purple sun. I brought out more paper and he draw pictures of people, animals, and cars — real pictures, not the usual frustrated scribblings.
Now we color almost everyday, and he has started to show interest in the cache of coloring books that he has received as presents over the past year, realizing that all the pictures are devoid of color because he’s supposed to provide it. Yesterday morning, as we bustled around getting ready for the day, he sat quietly and studiously with a coloring book and his box of crayons (which, pre-coloring, he used to enjoy dumping out on the floor — now, a new respect). I looked over his shoulder and saw this:
Heavens. I can only imagine how a child psychologist would interpret this. In defense of Little Boy, I don’t think he intended to make this as violent-looking as it comes off, and I don’t think he has the underpinnings of a sociopath, but heavens.