Re is on a coloring spree. It makes me happy that he has discovered the effortless strokes with oil pastels as opposed to the stubborn, unyielding rocks he had for hand-me-downs which seriously, I’d like to know which child can colour with, until he reaches the age of twelve or gets triceps (whichever is earlier).
The thing with oil pastels though, is that they are too effortless. They just have to barely make contact with you or just about touch you, and your clothes get all kinds of brush strokes, purples, pinks and greens, all mingling in glee, making a new style statement.”Yes, I am mommy to a two-year-old. I have been colored,” it seems to say.
I didn’t have this problem with those stupid earlier crayons which probably produced color if Genghis Khan held them, and poor Re always wondered if mamma would ever live up to her promise of producing a color from something that was meant to color, each time staring at his poor stubby fingers after having given them a workout with said crayons.
Now, of course, the OPU and I have pyjamas marked by Re’s artistic strokes, not to mention thighs and other body parts, and Re is spilling out of his prescribed “coloring books” and sheets onto the floor, the wall, our bodies, his, and those of the cats. The only one who doesn’t show signs of much wreckage is Nadia, since she is already all-black, and so, can camouflage.
I felt strangely ambivalent. Part of me wanted to revel in my child’s new-found interplay with color, texture and surfaces. A cheeky part of me wanted to tell him that I was not the easel or the medium. The disciplinarian in me wanted to tell him that ‘Coloring is for books,” the way they tell you in those silly books that talk about how to talk so your kids will listen. The artist in me wanted to just watch him and see where it goes.
I am still not sure who to listen to. Re on the other hand has built his own defence in support of his artistic exploits. Everytime he colors a surface that conventionally, is not ‘meant to be’, he stares long and hard and it and says, “Who did this?”