Last week I stumbled upon a local toy store that is going out of business. I felt sad for the owners, who wore defeated expressions. At the same time, I was thrilled to find shelves full of merchandise marked 50% off. I spent $60 and walked out with three bags full of goodies for the girls. The loot included, Melissa & Doug art supplies*, large white easel paper rolls, a genuine purple playground ball, wooden beads, wooden puzzles, wooden sewing templates, 100 colorful blocks, and a few other things.
I'm the most excited about the art supplies. They include finger paint, crayons, stamps, ink pads, and paper. Within a couple days of the purchases I lured Melody to the kitchen table with the promise of something new to play with. Her eyes danced with excitement as she climbed into the booster seat and saw the plastic container of bright crayons for the first time. I taped a 3 foot section of the thick white easel paper to the area of table within her reach and let her loose. She scribbled back and forth with yelps of glee, saying the colors as fast as she could, "Purple! Yellow! Red...!"
I felt a surge of pride as I watched her play. Memories of my own childhood rushed through my senses. As a child I spent hours knealing at the coffee table coloring. I'd beg my parents to color with me. My dad gave in often. I remember squirming with delight as he joined me on the floor beside the coffee table. He would color one page and say, "Okay. That's enough for me." The minutes of joined coloring would be over in a flash. In later years I'd lament about how he didn't color wtih me for long enough. My mom informed me that he actually colored with me for long amounts of time. I believe her because to this day, when I sit down to do anything creative (especially involving color), the clock stops and I can work for hours without realizing it. In fact, a few weeks ago I saw down at my laptop to do some work. In my hand was a piece of Dove dark chocolate. I absent-mindedly set it down next to the computer. TWO HOURS LATER I looked down and it was still sitting there, untouched. But back to Melody...
For the past few days we've been coloring together. I say, "Do you want me to make a polka dot?"
She responds, "Okay. Red."
"Here you go. Here's a red polka dot for Melody!"
"Nice. I like it! Again. Blue!"
After a section of multi-colored polka dots forms, I say, "How about a triangle?" and we proceed. Soon the table top is covered with shapes, fruit, trees, rainbows, hearts, numbers, letters, and other elementary items. I look at the clock and realize that 45 minutes has passed in a flash. Some things never change. I hope in the years to come she and Leah enjoy art as much as I do.
* By the way, I love crayons by the Melissa & Doug brand. They are great for kids for a few reasons. They are triangular which means they do not roll all over the place. Also, they are not covered in paper so no peeling is necessary. And finally, they are much stronger than typical crayons which means they don't break all the time. I love them!