The Seriousness of Coloring

from Flickr user apdk

Child turned 7 and became a whole new person with a sophisticated set of social know-how, a dazzling sense of humor, and the attitude of a 13-year-old girl.

So, before getting in my face and saying, aggressively, “Mommy, I want to go with Lydia!” in this clenched-teeth voice that was legitimately almost frightening, we had this conversation:

“Mommy, I think I know who’s going to win the coloring contest.”

“Oh yeah? Who?”



“Nuh-uh,” shaking her head with earnestness, “but it’s not going to be Connor, either.”



“Then who?”

Her voice got low and conspiratorial, “MaKenzie.”

Then she snapped out if it and said, “Anyways, I just think she’s going to win.”


Every other day it’s, “I don’t wanna be friends with Monique anymore.  She’s mean.”

and “I want to be friends with Monique, I forgive her.”

Or out of the blue, she’ll look at me with big, dewey eyes and say, “Mommy, I just really miss BombBomb and JuJuBee.” (man I wish we really had friends who named their kids BombBomb and JuJuBee).

I remember changing my mind about who my friends were, but not till middle school.

Sudden Tastes

Child wouldn’t be conned into having a “chapter book” read to her little by little for anything.  But suddenly she’s thrilled to receive Bunnicula a little at a time (and I’m thrilled to read it).

She asked me to buy her a coloring book this morning.  This is a child who has had dozens of coloring books purchased for her by every breathing person in her life, and has never a single time agreed to color with me.  Just now, she is coloring the second picture of the day, including a love note to grandma and pop pop.

Yesterday, she changed her list of favorite colors from (no joke, I just confirmed with her) pink purple red orange yellow blue black white, to pink purple black white. This new list is lightly revised from two days ago when it was “I’m thinking about changing my favorite colors to pink black white.”

All this to say that interacting with a seven-year-old is often like interacting with a bipolar cartoon character.


Making a Poster With Pearl

This right here, this neato thing?  This is what happens when mommy procrastinates, and mommy and Pearl work together to pull off a crazy poster for the Magic Rules poster contest at her school.

The morning the poster was due, the principal made an announcement over the loudspeaker when we arrived at school to make sure we all knew that the poster contest’s deadline was being extended a bit.

On one hand I was vexed.  I was all, “WTF, Mr. Felix?! We worked so hard to get it ready this morning!” but then I thought, “We still would’ve put it off till the due date, who am I kidding?”

Pearl and I spent that morning deciding which magic rule we would illustrate, and Pearl settled on “Using Magic Words” which is apropos because we often remind Pearl to use hers.

We tossed around the idea of making the poster full of words for please, thank you, you’re welcome, and pardon me in English & other languages.  We had a minor, mainstream collection.

Then I was like, “WTF, Mommy!  This is a poster by a six-year-old.”

Then came the hand-tracing and coloring.  This poster was truly a team effort, and it made me thankful about the following things:

1. My groovy work-at-home life, though in some ways extremely stressful, gives me freedom I did not have before to help Pearl with this kind of thing.

2. She’s still willing to accept my help and my input.  I remember reaching a point early on where I did not accept help or input from my mother.

3. My kid seems to be pretty amped up about her education.  She likes going to school and participating in things like this, and she said to me, “Mommy, I think I am going to win.”

Which gave me anxiety of a whole other sort.  “Really?” I thought to myself, “but I used to hate the kids who won the poster contests their parents clearly helped them with.”  But this is 20 + years later, and kids’ parents seem to be a much more meddling bunch than when I was young.  That or they’re absent in really scary ways.  I bet there are a lot of kids whose moms and dads helped them with their posters. Or who didn’t.  And who said life was fair?