‘More paper, Mummy,’ she demanded without even turning her head from what she was doing.
Too in awe of what was happening, I forgot to remind her to use the magic word. Instead I nodded, raced to our art and craft cupboard, grabbed some paper, raced back and handed it to her.
She grabbed the wad of paper, threw it on the floor in reckless abandon beside her in the way only a toddler can, before picking up a single piece and placing it onto her little, yellow table. She dipped her paintbrush into a container of purple paint and started painting.
She has started painting again.
Flashback to December 2012, I received from Curly-locks’ daycare a journal of her daycare experience that year. In it were the words, ‘Art is one of your favourite activities, picking the colours and finding the right spot on the paper for the brush. I can see this creative side of you being something that will interest you for the rest of your life’.
I had beamed when I read this. It came as no surprise though, as we did plenty of painting at home, sometimes going through a whole paint book in half an hour. Aside from dancing and reading, art was her all time favourite thing to do.
Flash forward from December 2012 to a few months ago, Curly-locks’ daycare teacher told me Curly-locks had chosen to not participate in art that day. The activity involved kids dipping their hands in paint to make a beautiful hand printed mural. The photos taken on the day showed a group of smiley kids covered in paint. All of the kids except Curly-locks.
Curly-locks’ teacher explained it was quite a messy activity and perhaps that was why she didn’t want to be involved. Curly-locks, at times, has been known to have a thing about being clean, so this could potentially make sense.
I asked her gently on the way home why she hadn’t wanted to participate and she said it was because she was shy. This also made sense to me. The scene portrayed in the pictures did look quite hectic. Maybe it was all a bit too much for her. Boisterous group activity is not everyone’s cup of tea.
I left it there and didn’t make an issue out of it. She didn’t participate one time. Big deal. We all have our off days. The thing is, the same thing happened week after week. Her teachers would say to me at each pick up, ‘No art again today. She played happily in the home corner with the dolls instead’.
Curly-locks’ teacher didn’t believe in drawing attention to Curly-locks’ self-imposed art ban, nor make an issue about it. Curly-locks was content and still loved going to daycare, so we just left it.
I have been asking her off and on without pressure if she wanted to paint with me at home, but she never did.
That is until I showed her this week a bracelet making kit she had received for her birthday. The kit involved painting beads and then making a bracelet. She was instantly intrigued.
She happily painted the beads and once that was done came the orders for more paper. She painted 10 pictures and then we broke for morning tea. She then painted seven more. This was huge for a young child with a short attention span. She had lunch and then a nap. When she woke up, her eyes still sleepy, she walked straight over to her yellow table in her undies, dragging her Teddy behind her, sat down and painted some more. I couldn’t believe it.
She had painted for virtually an entire day!
I guess we will never know what caused her painting hiatus and what got her started again … And whether or not she will paint at daycare next week.
At any rate, I’m glad we took the route of not pressuring her and just letting nature take its course.
Has your child ever suddenly refused to do something they once loved? Share.