How to make bad art with a toddler
“Sleeping baby,” the Popple says, thrusting a green crayon into my hand.
I draw this.
“Sleeping bayyybayyy!” she sings. She hands me an orange crayon.
“Orange baby,” she says.
“Awake baby or sleeping baby?” I ask.
I draw another one. She looks down, satisfied.
“Two babies,” she says.
This is what our playtime is like these days. The Popple loves drawing in that toddler way where they scribble aimlessly all over the paper/your table/themselves, but she mostly she wants me to draw things for her.
I can’t draw. As you may have noticed.
My brain likes words. It has no idea what to do with pictures. But there’s no explaining this to an almost two-year-old. When a toddler demands that you draw, you draw.
Thankfully, her artistic demands are mostly simple. She wants me to draw babies, butterflies (‘flies’) and occasionally one of her stuffed animals.
This is Mouse.
This is Fox.
(Despite proclaiming to be a ‘words’ person, I have given my daughter’s stuffed animals totally uncreative names. She has at least three bears that are all called Teddy.)
She has no idea that my drawings are crap. She sometimes even applauds my efforts before scribbling all over them and making her favourite, most insistent demand:
She is obsessed with counting, and loves nothing more than to watch me write the numbers 1-10. I must do red ten. Blue ten. Pink ten. Big ten. ESPECIALLY big ten. We count in both English and Spanish, occasionally skipping straight to the good stuff.
At the end of the day, our papers are covered in what looks like the scrawls of a madman, all numbers and swirls and star-fished sleeping babies. It occurs to me that this mess probably makes total sense to her, which seems about right, because toddlers are mad.
I throw them in the bin, ready to start again the next day.