You and your grandma came with me to the optometrist a few weeks ago - an errand which I knew was risky considering your persistent sneaky grabs at my glasses, but you did so well. You sat patiently and played with grandma while I tried on frame after frame, even giving one pair a decided thumbs down when you refused to even look in my direction so long as I was wearing them. And while I went back to get my eyes tested you went to the waiting room and waited. I'd spotted a big latch board on the way in and knew it'd be right up your alley. All those shiny brass fixtures to twiddle with your fancy twiddling finger. (You perfected your twiddling at a very early age while you nursed...but if you're old enough to read you probably don't want to know anything about that). Pupils dilated, prescription in hand, ready to go, I asked grandma what you thought about the latch board. "Oh, he really liked it. But what really surprised me was that he liked the MagnaDoodle!"
Be still my beating heart.
Could it be? Could we have reached the age of coloring already?
We sprinted to Target the next afternoon and got our hands on a MagnaDoodle of our own, wanting to see if grandma had once again exaggerated her grandchildren's abilities. As soon as we got home I opened it up and sat you in front of it. And you picked up the pen. Passed it back and forth from hand to hand - lefty? righty? lefty? righty? - and finally put it down on the screen. And away you went. Scribbles, of course, but scribbles with a purpose. Scribbles, I really believe, that attempt to fill in big open shapes I draw. A good day is measured by a screen full of jaggedy lines, an even better day sees the pad cleared over and over while you color (although I confess, blushing a bit, that I cringe every time I erase your masterpieces, wishing I could tack the whole board to the fridge).
With magnetic coloring a success, I brought out the big guns and moved on to toddler markers - cute little round animals with felt tip heads. I was shocked by how much ink they spread - making them almost more suitable for finger painting than coloring - and disappointed to find that Crayola's inventors clearly didn't have toddlers. Because if they did they would realize the shape guides little hands to hold on to the ink, not the base, and that the tips are so flat they have to be held perfectly upright to work. Clearly a tall task for even the most passionate of budding 13 month old Van Goghs - a skill beyond your scope at the moment. And crayons? Well, after you saw the vibrancy of the markers the dull, broken crayon colors far from thrilled you.
But after your dad called one evening to say he'd be late from work after a hard, hard day (and going in over the weekend as well) I knew he needed a pick-me-up. So I grabbed a plastic bucket by the handle, popped you on my hip and out we went to the driveway. For sidewalk chalk. We drew your daddy a giant sign to welcome him home: "We love you, Daddy! xo, Ollie & Mama". You aren't so good at your letters yet (although your eyes light so bright every time you hear the alphabet song) so you helped add character to our masterpiece. Your cheeks and knees covered in chalk dust, your lips a little pinker after a gentle taste of the red, you looked like an artist. You wanted the whole bucket within your reach - not because you were greedy but because you wanted every color in your arsenal. A little blue scribble, a big swirl of purple, slashes of orange and yellow and pink, you were in heaven with your concrete canvas. And as your dad pulled up and saw our creation I could actually see the fatigue of the day wash off him and when he got out of the car he danced.
You've pointed at the chalk every time we've entered the garage since - you've got the coloring bug for sure. And soon (maybe tonight?) we'll head back outside and get ourselves messy. This is the life I've always wanted. These are the moments I was waiting for. And it seems they're the moments you were waiting for, too.