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Wannaskan (Coloring) Almanac for Saturday, March 31st

Welcome to the Wannaskan Almanac for Saturday, March 31st!

Lately I've seen an uptick in the number of crunched papers stuffed at the bottom of my Kindergartner's backpack. I unfold, smooth out all kinds of artistic endeavors. Shapes cut and glued to form a book. "Journal" pages with a daily illustration accompanied by a single sentence. A portrait of a 100-year-old lady with makeup removal pads for hair.

Which begs the question:

How do you know if your kid is going to be an artist?

By coloring, of course.

Coloring is the first opportunity a kid has to test drive art. What parent hasn't watched their child color and wondered if, and where, he or she would fall on the artistic scale?

I have observed each one of my five kids ever since they could hold a crayon and scribble. (Especially because I'm a lefty. Having a left-handed child means welcoming them into a very special club.)

As a self-professed artsy type, I would love if my kids harbored hankerings for artistic expression. In my twenties, I was inspired by SARK and Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, so I believe that everyone is an artist. In fact, I have a quip. "Art is never wrong." (And I truly believed this until I saw some board art, that showed me, indeed, even art can go awry.)

The kids all expressed an inclination toward creativity in some varying degree and capacity.

The Oldest liked to color. She's absolutely a stay-in-the-lines kind of girl. But within these boundaries, she shaded and striped, patterned and polka-dotted. Today, she likes to design boxes (she made one for me this past week for a Toastmasters speech contest.) She channels her creativity through building or shaping things with her hands. This translates into robotics, engineering, weaving, and pottery classes.

I don't remember Kid #2 caring two sticks about coloring. He has "fast hands" and whips through any project with speed. But, as a teen, I see him caring about composition - how all the pieces fit together to create a whole. This child is also a one-man band: piano, violin, guitar, clarinet, bass guitar. He just added oboe to his repertoire and a guy from our Wannaskan region offered ten summer lessons on the accordion. Just this week, my son said, "Yeah, I wrote four songs for the piano and one for the violin," as he stretched, yawned then scratched his belly.

The next one, who just had a birthday on March 26th, despised coloring, opting instead for Legos. Any art on paper makes him cringe, but he likes playing the piano and trombone and listens to electronic music. (Thanks, Geometry Dash.)

And then we have the Kindergartner. By Kid #4, a parent has pretty much figured out that expectations don't burn calories. Worrying if the kid will be brilliant is useless. But this child - she surprises me most.

She has brought the coloring back into our lives. She colors, she draws. She's already figured out crayons somehow cheat you, preferring markers and gel pens. She, too, likes to stay in the lines like her older sister, but she also draws. A lot. Everywhere. On anything. (If anyone has tips for getting crayon out of cross-stitch, I'm all ears.)
What came first, the calculations or the rainbow?

The artist in me laments the number of times I have chastised her for coloring on the walls. Yes, I know there's a place and time for this, but I haven't found it within myself to gift her wall space for a mural.

And the scroogy saver in me wants to get cranky when I discover she has burned through yet another pad of post-it notes practicing "cursive" and her storytelling. I have to concede, however, that somehow I appreciate her little scribbles more than the Toddler's peeling off of the blue squares one by one for the sake of peeling and sticking them all over the coffee table.

No, David! by David Shannon (Kindergartner's rendition)

She went through an adorable phase writing all of our names on individual post-it notes and sticking them to the bed posts and bedroom doors. She even made one for the cat. With such sweetness, how can I not embrace the Kindergartner's outpouring of art?

"I'm sorry for being loud but now I'm quiet."

I hung some art in her room. Recently she learned how to spell her last name, so she went back to each of her pieces and signed them with both her first and last name.
Happy and Sad Pregnant Ladies?

As for the doodled post-its and the little pictures I find in my work notebooks, I carry on, jotting my own notes next to, or around, them. They represent the spirit of my little girl, fully engaged in the earnestness and curiosity of a little mind learning. To read, to write, to draw. To express herself. That is what makes me a proud mama. 

Other pictures I pitch. Sorry folks. With a household of seven, you can't keep every scrap of paper. May the hoarders groan and the orderly cheer. And I'm still banning wall-coloring (at this point.)

And last, but not least, the Toddler. He scribbles as much as his Kindergarten sister. Sometimes he asks me to color with him. (Okay, for him.) And I do. My in-laws gave us the best coloring book solution for toddlers: dry-erase. He puts my massive collection of stickers, accumulated over the years, to good use.

And he's left-handed. Win!

It's Easter weekend which means dying Easter eggs. Something we all gather around the table for, no matter our artistic abilities.

Happy coloring and a Happy Easter!


My Easter present from the Kindergartner!


  1. As Kid #4 might write: "Mom, evre kid iz VARY gud at art! Pearnts just can nut cee so gud."

    Happy Easter!


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