When I was a little girl Khalish's age, my mother remembered that I loved to fill my sketches with colours. I still do today. Unlike Khalish. Five months ago, I bought him a book full of black and white outlines and markers of various colours. His first. All the while, he preferred to doodle. He still did. He took the markers and filled the white space with a lot of doodles that came complete with stories. 'Ah, every child is unique', I thought to myself. We happily doodled together and told each other what lay behind each squiggle. Never mind the instructions in that book. When he was asleep, I erased the squiggles and kept the book and the markers at the base of the drawer I specified for his art tools. Since then, no more colouring book. Only books he was interested in.
Last week, he opened the drawer and dug his hands past the crayons and the sketch pads. Until he found the book and the markers. He remembered something.
"Khalish suka warna, mommy."
I was surprised. He must have seen his older friends did so at play school.
He opened the book and saw the alphabets that he knew made up words. I was summoned to be beside him to read those words. He understood the instructions as he searched for a pink marker to colour a pig. Oops, no pink marker. "Let us be creative; which colour do you like the pig to be in?" I said while making a mental note to get more markers for him.
Excited, he picked up the yellow marker, and, to my delight, filled in the black joint line and the white space in the middle and around it with colour. Hey, a new skill. No Ibrahim Hussein, but, it was a new skill that called for a celebration nevertheless. At least, I knew that, as a child, I loved my parents' encouragement and appreciation.
Today, because he has not cried at the mention of 'school, 'friends', and 'teachers' early in the morning throughout weeks (except for the beginning of each week, when even most adults were affected by Monday blues), I am going to get him a new crayon set as the existing ones are all too short for him to hold conveniently (oui, he draws incessantly, complete with twisted narrations), a new sketch pad in mobile size, and, of course, more coloured markers. He may choose a new colouring book, without any instructions.
I remember our visit to a mall recently. I struggled to walk because the little boy feared the mannequins, which he has been disliking despite the parents' preference not to install the concept of fear like the much older generation did with us (not our parents though). Suddenly, he noticed a big clear window with a display of children's artworks two floors above where we were. To my surprise, he calmed down. He even led me towards that floor. Unfortunately, it was a class meant for children four years old and above, not an activity center. More crafts at home, I promised myself.
Do your homework then, mommy.
While I was browsing through online pages to compile art activities, he asked daddy to read to him.
Ah, play school has benefitted him in many ways.
Now, it is our responsibilities as parents to keep up to his new interests. Parenting is fun. With the exception of the boy's extremely naughty moments, which would be fun later when Kamal and I laughed about it.