Aidan's an artist. He draws all the time. When he's not drawing, he's begging for leftover scrapbooking stickers so he can create sticker art. When he's not creating sticker art, he's logged on to art.com, making neato paintings with special effects. He chalks the sidewalks outside. He has drawing pads that are all filled up. He has stacks and stacks of loose papers that are filled up with drawings. He has free reign of the paper. He's allowed to take as much as he wants - and he does. We have Aidan's art hanging all over the house - in my office, on the fridge, on the bedroom doors....
SO WHY DOES HE KEEP DRAWING ON THINGS HE'S NOT SUPPOSED TO DRAW ON???
Thursday night, I returned home from scrapbook convention to discover that he had scribbled with blue crayon all over the family room floor. Two days before, he had scribbled on the bannister. I was livid, but lucky for Aidan, Jeanne was here so I refrained from beating the Blue Period out of the little Van Gogh. We told him he better tell us what else he'd drawn on. He said "nothing". But Ian ratted him out when he (a little too jubilantly) showed us Aidan's ABC scrapbook. Covered in red scribble.
"AIDAN!" I bellowed. "Your SCRAPBOOK? You know you're not allowed to write in books. ANY books. But especially your scrapbooks!"
I was furious, and sad.
"When you're a grown-up, you're gonna be sad 'cause your book will still have scribble on it, 'cause you RUINED IT WHEN YOU WERE FIVE!"
Then I opened it. My heart sank when I saw that he'd drawn on every single page of the book. Every. Single. Page.
Then I looked closer. On the "A" page, he drew an airplane. On the "X" page, he drew X's. Most every page had hearts all over them. I asked him why. "This heart means that I miss our old house," he explained. "This heart means that I love Daddy. This heart with a line through it means I don't miss Sissy, 'cause I see her all the time." And on and on and on.
My heart filled with pride. My not-yet-Kindergarten son is a journaler! In the only way he knew how, he was telling his stories. My scrapbooks are all about the stories - sometimes more so than the photos and always more so than the decorations. I knew as I flipped through the pages of his ABC book that I was holding a treasure. I was happy that the doodles and scribbles were there.
But I was still in a weird place. I didn't want to congratulate him for doing something he shouldn't have done, and yet, I didn't want to squash his spirit, either. I want to nurture his art, 'cause seriously. This is a kid who FEELS things and has a raging desire to express those things through art and written words.
I could not be more proud.
But he still had to be punished. (Especially for lying and saying he hadn't written on anything else.) Where's the manual for stuff like this?