I remember the moment when my little Miss K stepped away from the couch for the first time to take her first wobbly steps. I remember when she said her first word - "dada" - and how stoked she was when she mastered the potty.
As she's gotten older I've loved watching her learn to do new things, but there haven't been as many big moments. That was until this week, when she came home from a playgroup clutching her first scrawled drawing of stick figures – a true breakthrough in her artistic career.
"That's me at the top, the one that looks like a monkey is Mummy, that one is baby Awatea and the one with the long arm is you, Daddy," she said proudly.
I held the drawing and looked at the cute little figures, with the arms and legs protruding from their round heads. The little dotted eyes, noses and mouths were so expressive and deliberate.
I couldn't stop smiling. Later that night before I went to bed I picked it up again for another look.
It seems she’s been scribbling enthusiastically and apparently randomly forever. Of course she's been drawing all sorts of things, but nothing recognisable. I know that's standard fare; when kids start to draw it's all about experimenting.
But that day, when my wife took her to playgroup, she just started drawing these little people: us. I find it amazing that all of a sudden she's able to do this. We've never been able to recognise anything from the world in her drawings, then all of a sudden there's little people on the page. Has it been within her, waiting to get out for a while, or did something click in her brain to allow this magic?
For a while she's felt a bit bad that she couldn't draw as well as her early-drawing friends. A neighbour's child down the road was doing amazingly intricate little drawings when he was 18 months old. Luckily my wife and I don't get too wound up with her milestones, and we know all kids do things when they're ready. After all, Miss K looked like she might walk at 10 months, then spent the next four months walking around holding the furniture till she was ready.
Still, and irrationally, I did wonder if she would ever start drawing "things". Perhaps that was why I was so happy when she drew her little people, and that the people she drew were her family members.
For me, the drawing thing is important. Miss K is such a verbal kid – she's always loved talking and reading. But drawing is another way for her to express herself and her feelings, and now she's starting to draw things in her world. It's like seeing an extension of her imagination on the page, and I can't wait to see more.
- © Fairfax NZ