Babyboy has been a little bundle of creative energy. We keep running out of paper, he draws so many pictures a day. As a matter of fact, for lack of plain paper handy, he drew this picture on his bedroom wall.
I was interviewing a babysitting candidate at the time, showing her around the house. As we were upstairs chatting about the kids’ bedtime routine, Babyboy grabbed a black marker, knelt by the wall next to his bed, and started sketching.
As he was sketching, he was explaining what he was drawing, not for us, but just because that’s what he does. He talks while he draws, as many kids do, verbally illustrating the scene that they’re imagining.
He was saying:
“The doctor says, you need an x-ray. You ate some sticks and leaves and they might make you sick. So you need an xray. You need to lie down on that table. Then the helicopter will come and land on the roof. There’s more sick people in the helicopter.”
I was floored. He was drawing a hospital! And a doctor, and an x-ray machine, and a helicopter. I watched and listened, fascinated.
Meanwhile, the babysitter was floored too. She’s a lovely college student from a good family. A family that very likely never allowed their kids to draw on their bedroom walls.
“Um, is it okay for him to do that?” she asked.
I only had to think for a second.
“Sure, why not… My parents let me draw on my bedroom walls when I was a kid, too.” And it’s true, they did. A a teenager, they let me painted over the flowery wallpaper and devote a whole wall to my own graffiti artwork. I was very proud of it. I spent hours thinking about what to say and how to say it, in art form. Sometimes, my friends added their names or doodles, and they thought it was the coolest thing ever. That wall was a beam of cheery light in an otherwise dreary adolescence.
But seriously, how different are kids’ drawings from those stickers and stencils people put on their kids’ walls? Just, it’s the kid’s own artwork, so it’s even better. Let them own their rooms.
Someday, we’ll just paint over it, if need be. What’s the big deal?
I leaned forward and squeezed Babyboy. “I love your picture, honey. It looks just like the hospital where I work. Good job.”
But I did make sure to explain to the sitter that they aren’t allowed to draw on the living room walls. The creative freedom ends at the bedroom door…
I made Babyboy stop working on his little mural, and we headed back downstairs to show the sitter the kitchen and mealtime routine.
When Hubby got home and saw the drawing, he smiled and exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, it’s a helicopter, isn’t it?”
Babyboy was so proud. “Yes! It is! And there is the doctor. And this is the x-ray machine…”
Hubby and I exchanged glances, smiling. He hugged Babyboy and praised him. Not one second wasted worrying about the damaged paint job.
I sat on the bed and thought, here is further evidence to suggest that I married the right guy, and Babyboy’s going to be just fine.