Monet and Manet

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I brought out the small foldout table and set some scratch paper out for Cole and Avery to draw on. I had Mad bring out her colored pencils because I knew Avery would eat the crayons. Utter fiasco.

12I’ve had Cole doodle with me before so I hoped that he would take to the activity quickly. For a very brief time, it looked like he might actually sketch out some lines or scribbles, but the lure of the table proved too much for Cubby Candy. He put one of his chubby feet on the table. “No!” I said. He locked eyes with me and slowly lowered his chunky pad. But the trade-off for this obedience was a total lack of interest in the actual purpose of the colored pencil party.

Instead, he treated the pencils like anti-pick-up sticks. He gathered as many as he could in his hands, then dropped them onto the table because – I think – he liked the way they sounded when hitting the surface. He’s a boy. He likes making noise and using things to make noise. This went on for some time. He even pulled the yellow pencil right out of Madison’s hand as she was drawing with it, then hurled it onto the pink blanket.

At some point, though, he calmed himself and began pressing the tip of the pencil against the paper and came up with some lines. “Yay, Cole!” Madison said. I clapped for moral support. Cole got so excited that he threw the pencils in his hands to clap with me. Sigh.

34Oh, Avery. I wish I could have taken a picture of Avery’s face break out into a full glow when she saw me slide the table out from behind the entertainment unit. She knew it was back there and from time to time has tried to pat it, pull it, push it, and of course, eat it. When I started to prop the legs out, she walked through my legs to get to the table. As soon as I placed the table down in the middle of the living room, Avery scaled the table. I pulled her down and gave her the same “No!” that I gave Cole. Avery reacted poorly. She threw her arms up and head back. She screamed for a few moments before rolling over and disappearing into her bedroom where she continued her screaming tantrum. Not much later, she stomped out of the bedroom like the Juggernaut while crying. I looked at her and shook my head. She turned around and ran back into the bedroom. I caught this picture on her second trip out of the room.

I put her on my lap and gave her a few pencils. She immediately put one in her mouth. I took it out, then took her chubby fist in my own chubby fist and drew circles, hoping to inspire her. Nope. She sat there for a few minutes collecting as many pencils as she could, then banging them down against the table. But Avery was just working me. At one point Cole started to run with the pencils in hand so I got up to stop him. I sat Avery down at the table and before I even got to Cole she had mounted the table. This kid.

5Thank goodness I had the one kid who followed directions (this time). She was great about trying to include Cole and Avery even though it was obvious neither of them cared about the magical properties of the colored pencils. She didn’t even snap at Cole when he yanked the yellow pencil out of her hand mid-stroke. I would have snapped.

Today’s art activity was an unmitigated disaster, but man, how else are we gonna find out, you know? I can kind of, sort of remember my summers with Madison. I tried different stuff all the time just to see if she was ready. It was just so much easier with just the one of her, though. Every time I try something new and it falls apart in the first few minutes… it’s a bummer, honestly. Part of me just wants Cole and Avery to be 5 so we can go to the beach, already. But when that time comes, I know I’ll miss these times. Time is (at least) a double-edge sword.

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