Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
‘Everyone should have kids, they say. The happiness can’t be compared, they say.’
This was me sarcastically mumbling to myself while cleaning the crayon scribbles on the wall, door and wherever those small pudgy hands could reach. My younger one chose to display his art all over our house. I don’t know if this was how Picasso was and how his mom held on to her sanity, but she sure didn’t have a hubby like me whose BP shot through the roof at the sight of any kind of kid art on the walls and furniture.
Seeing the irritated look on my face, my older one came to me in her smug yet concerned voice (only feasible by an older sister) and said, “Whaaat happened, mummy?”. As usual, my reply to her concern, “Nothing, baby. Just your brother being naughty". As I was cleaning up the last remnants of my son’s art I could hear my daughter lecturing her younger brother on how ‘not to trouble mummy’. My son as usual ignored her and was busy watching his favourite cartoon.
My daughter then came to me and said, “Mum, why don’t you put paper on all the places that he scribbles? I saw that in M’s house. When we went for a birthday party we were allowed to scribble on the wall but it had chart paper. That’s where this boy learnt this baaadd habits”
By then I realise my daughter was making a very big deal of this ‘art work’. She was trying to act all mature and she WAS old enough to know where to draw but not old enough to trail behind me making such a big deal out of this, like it was the end of the world. Though I was not happy about the way my son was exploring and experimenting with colours on different backgrounds, this was the time for him to be creative with a few restrictions. With all this running through my mind and my daughter still lecturing my son, I realised I was more worried about my husband’s reaction than the mess I had just cleaned. If we were so concerned about the small erasable mess, when would our kids experience the simple joys of growing up?
With two kids who love to scribble, draw and play with paints, we had ample art supplies at home which as you would have already realised was easily accessible to the kids. So with a cheerful voice I called my daughter to help me. We put chart papers in their room on two lower sections of the wall (No matter the brother-sister bonding, I need to draw boundaries between these siblings). My son was curious about what got the screaming sister excited all of a sudden.
I gave them both my old T shirts to enhance their carefree moment along with paints and crayons and told them to do whatever they wanted but only on the chart paper. My son wasn’t sure at first but seeing his sister he went for it. The long t shirts and the freedom to do as they please was an empowering moment for them.
I sat down with a cup of tea to capture in my mind’s eye the few precious bonding moments between the brother and sister before I would have to play referee. I wanted to treasure the moments with my kids because I know they would soon be able to do this on their own. Drawing on walls may not excite them. These were the simple joys of childhood.
Though I wish I could always give free reign to their creative inclinations, I had to define their limits without being forceful. Though I wish I could sit back and tell my hubby to take a chill pill, it would not be right to unleash my kid’s creativity throughout the house. While they were happily being kids, I gently told my son, that this was his creative space. He could not use his crayons on other parts of the house. Just seeing me smiling and admiring his art instead of having a stricken expression on my face, made him want to please me.
Though there are various parameters that would tell you, what is the best for your child at different stages of their life, the one thing that is a constant is a ‘happy childhood’. A childhood where children can be children; where we remember that a child is not an adult.
Hopefully, my husband is convinced of this before he is invited for a viewing of their art. I wish I have many more moments of such #Khuljaye Bachpan.