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What's Wrong With This Picture?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Last night was "meet the teacher" night at Alex's kindergarten. It was very cute and everything we saw made us feel really good about his teacher, his school and his skills. Even this self portrait was a pleasant surprise. I honestly didn't know Alex could color like this. And by "like this" I mean at all. 

I have friends whose kids can draw beautiful pictures of immediately-recognizable things, kids who stay within the lines and use color in an asthetically-pleasing way, kids who will sit quietly for hours creating displayable artwork. I was one of those kids (art was always a huge passion of mine). My kids are not like that. We try to color with them but they are just not interested at this point. I was worried about Alex heading to kindergarten with only very basic stick-figure skills but last night I was pleasantly surprised. I think this self portrait is actually pretty good for him. I know some of your kids could probably create this when they were two but for Al, this is an accomplishment. Of course there were other portraits that rocked (most of them by girls, incidentally) but there were also others that Nora could have drawn. He was totally average and—for coloring, at least—I'm OK with that. 

Another couple we talked to were betting that their kid got help with his drawing because they couldn't believe how decent it was. We felt the same way. (The kids' names were traced and Alex did an exceptional job at that, if I may say so). Maybe they are actually learning something! Maybe he just doesn't like to color with me. Maybe he's too afraid to get up from his desk so the only option is to draw like his life depended on it. The other day he brought home a picture he'd made of a snail that actually looked like a snail and I was shocked (most of his artwork requires a dissertation). I grilled him about it (nicely) asking if someone had helped him or if he'd traced it—the answer was no. I was beaming with pride. 

Can your kid color and draw? Do you ever compare his work to other kids his age? A friend and I were obsessing about this topic yesterday and she was saying she finds herself shamelessly mentioning to the preschool teacher that her daughter is younger than the rest of the class when she sees some of the impressive life-like drawings the other three year old's churn out. I totally get it and I do this too. Why do we care so much? There's just something about coloring and drawing that seems so essential to childhood that I'm almost more obsessed about this than all the other stuff . Also, we only ever see artwork displayed on the walls so that's the only way we can compare at this point. For now I'm just glad Alex doesn't completely suck at art. How's that for low standards?! Happy Friday, everyone! Hope the weekend treats you well.