August 5, 2011

do-a-dot digression


I admit to splurging a bit and buying those do-a-dot markers that you see around (for the boys, of course).  I've had my eye on them for a while now, knowing the kids would love them and knowing they would make a change from the crayons he loves so much.  Ollie is always asking to 'do some drawing' or 'want to play with the crayons' but lately I think he's been a little bored by it and a bit frustrated by the marker pens fading away.  So I promised him we would go to the craft store and buy some more, which is where I got lured by the do-a-dots.  We came away with new felt pens, new chubby colouring pencils, the do-a-dot markers, and in a momentary lapse of judgment, a colouring in book devoted to trucks.  He loves his trucks, does Ollie, and I am finding I am trying to go out of my way to encourage an interest in something else, anything else, and I have never liked the idea of colouring in books, preferring instead to let Ollie's own creativity take the lead, even if that means scribbling like a maniac before tearing up the paper and sticking masking tape everywhere.

But he loves that book.  I wish he didn't love it as much as he does, but yesterday and then again this morning, he coloured in (coloured over) the pictures of log-loaders, excavators, monster trucks and bulldozers for over an hour until I actually had to make him put the pens away to have his dinner.  In fact this evening, we had to take it to dinner with us and in just 24 hours he is suddenly very good at colouring within the lines even though I have very deliberately not told him about that (there are enough rules in that kid's life).

Max, on the other hand, he loves all things pen.  He loves to chew the do-a-dot caps and then stack them up and walk around the house with one in each hand and wave them around in Lola's face (anything but actually do dots with them).  The mighty pen is our toy of choice when I need him to sit still for a nappy change, when I need something in the high chair to distract him or when I'm trying to get him dressed at his most wriggly time of the day, after his bath.  Of course he's now at the age when there's also a chance that he will fling the pen in disgust and throw a tantrum rather than be captivated with it like he used to be as a baby... that kid's discovering toddlerdom, and I have to say, it's hilarious second time round.  He's nowhere near as intense as Ollie was at that age (and I remember how it used to get me down) and he'd definitely always been a more mellow kid (the second always seems to be?) but he's discovering just how much he can get away with.  The back arching, screaming objections to not being allowed to chew a crayon don't last that long - with Ollie it seemed sometimes that it would never end.  Actually thinking about it now, Ollie seemed so much older than Max at this age, all knowing somehow and I'm certain that fuelled his abnormal levels of frustration.  He amazes me with his incredible memory, his affinity for puzzles and his ability to apply what he knows in order to learn the next thing and I suppose I've always seen that in him.

But Max, you know, he's so different to Ollie.  He's into belly buttons, birdies, pouring water out of the bath and being very deliberately cheeky.  He's less the analyst, more the kid that sees the moment, loves to point at the birdie, the doggy, he loves to clap and wave and communicate like babies do. Ollie's not so much deliberately cheeky as he is just a bit of a pain in the arse sometimes, but he has such a kind nature, often masked by his insistence on doing everything his way or not at all.  Such a bossy little boy.

Anyway, I don't mean to compare and I shouldn't, but it's hard not to.  You are blessed with one happy little healthy child that reminds you of yourself and you think the next one will be the same, knowing full well you were completely different from your siblings and don't know many that are alike.  Then the second comes along and you're blown away by how different he is, but not unexpected, because you see his father in him every day, every time he smiles, every time he tootles around the house, just taking things in his stride and when he bowls everyone over with his good looks and charm.  And then you wonder whether you should ever be so blessed again, because it's hard to imagine that you could be so lucky but amazing to think there's another soul, different again, that might one day be a part of your family.

And so, after you've cleared away the doodles and colouring-in books, found the caps for all the pens and tidied them away, you check on those little boys as they are sleeping, their little chests moving with that sleepy breathing that only children can do with such peace and you think about the mischief they will get up to as they grow older, the books they will read by flashlight when I think they've gone to sleep, the men they will become, the challenges they will face, the people they will love, the good that they will do in their lives and the the tantrums of the day are all but forgotten.

1 comment:

Forever said...

You are so inspiring toots! I love reading your stories....I'm going out to get do-a-dot pens on the wknd! what a great idea.. KJ x

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