He has a line in him that he must mark, must get out on everything including the walls, drawers, and cotton sheets. He brushes with highlighter, crayon, and nail polish. His etchings, fragmented narratives that leave a trail of creative (or mischief): the solar system on the walls, shooting stars and Saturn’s rings, his shaky attempts at lettering, and the drip, drip thick of red and teal nail color on the table and the cabinet. I should be angry—but I’m not.
I suppose my four-year-old’s creative endeavors and my pause to reflect on them are reminiscent of the sighs and acceptance I imagine my own mother must have made, her hands up in the air at any point in dismay or frustration followed by her ultimately giving in to her persistently imaginative child who often made something, anything out of everything—that making naturally involved creative risk and a mess.
It is true I can have nothing precious in this unconventional art studio otherwise known as our home; and even after several encouraging words, threats and squinting eyes, my busy little four year old seems to suggest through his runaway markings that paper just won’t do.
Maybe this is a sign, a call to make or his way of saying he needs an art class. Maybe he’s just looking for some attention and using mischief to get it. My husband recently said, “We’ve got to channel his drawing in some way, it’s everywhere,” and I would agree, we need to make sure he can color, mark, sketch, dance, move, and do whatever else his artful heart desires. Maybe through his four-year-old eyes he’s just hanging out in his gallery, leaving his signature on everything he makes, waiting for us to acknowledge and support his creative. That all sounds good and we’ll get to that—right after we’re done scrubbing, painting, and scolding.
“Do not erase the designs the child makes in the soft wax of his inner life.” -Maria Montessori