The Artist

Silas hasn’t been himself lately. He’s been a whiny, clingy, fussbudget for at least a week, maybe more. I suspect teeth, maybe an ear ache. The only thing he wants to do, besides whining and watching Big Bird in China, is color. He’s in one of those obsessive phases–I believe the Montessori term is a “critical period.”

In the past two weeks, I’ve seen a leap from scribbling to representation. He’s been drawing circles for a while, but now he’s pairing them with lines and rectangles to make people, cars, playgrounds, and trees.

He’s working in watercolor, chalk and crayon. I convinced him to come for a walk with me, to take a break from coloring. He found this chunk of wood by the river, and said, “I’m going to take this home and decorate it for Grammie.” As soon as we got home, he asked for his paints. He spent at least an hour working on this. When he gave it to Mom, over a week later, he showed her the river, with rocks, fish, turtles, and other creatures.

He drew in a book, for the first time ever. I scolded him for it, but I honestly think he just couldn’t help himself. He’s driven to draw on any surface that presents itself. I’ve moved the books out of his reach until this phase passes.

Yesterday, he came to me in tears, complaining that his hand hurt. I couldn’t see anything wrong, but then I realized he had been coloring for two hours. Silas had his first case of writer’s cramp.

Maybe he’s just being a temperamental artist…


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