Tuesday 13 September 2011

The right way

Just Write"Let's colour everything the wrong colour!"

"You go ahead," I tell him. "I think I'll keep doing mine the right colours."

"No, I want you to do it too, and then we can find all the things that are wrong! Wouldn't that be silly?"

"It sure would, but I like to colour mine the right colour." Even as I say it, I know I'm being irrationally stubborn. It's just a colouring book. I'm not being graded. We're spending time together, enjoying the peace of two babies napping, no one grabbing at the markers or needing attention. Just us, quietly filling in the pages with our favourite smelly markers.

"Please Mommy? It's okay to colour them the wrong colour."

He's right, of course - there are no rules, I can colour things any darn colour I want to! - but inexplicably, ridiculously, I still hesitate. It's wrong! Things should be coloured the right way! That's just how it is!

"Here, colour them pink. It's okay."

I take the proffered marker, put it to paper and shade in a tree.

He is brimming with excitement, making it oh-so-worth it.

And I?

I am free.


  1. I love this! One of the most profound moments for me in a trip to Europe was seeing my 60+year old mom nearly cry when she saw red and pink flowers planted together. She told me that when she was in first grade, the teacher mocked her for coloring flowers red and pink together because it didn't match. She felt so vindicated decades later when she saw that others considered it pretty.

  2. Thank you for sharing that, Dulce. It's amazing how long those mocking words can stick with us.

    I once saw a kindergarten teacher berating one of her students for colouring a flower green. I think of her every single time I see a green flower.

  3. So sweet! I have felt that freedom. I remember having my coloring pages corrected my my parents, and feeling so foolish for having colored it "wrong". It was a fun little act of "rebellion" when I decided to color everything any color I wanted too while coloring pictures with my kids. :)

  4. You should have written this for the Carnival of Natural Parenting today ;) There is a chapter in Cohen's book about kids making up their own rules/breaking set rules. Kieran does this a lot when playing games (card/board/etc.) - he wants to do things his way. I comply (up to a point) - if he wants to skip colors, or take out certain cards, or say that all jacks are really kings, who cares?! It's him playing with authority. And I say up to a point because sometimes he wants to get REALLY intricate, and I have no idea what "his" rules really are. At that point, I ask him to either simplify or to do the "real" rules, otherwise, he might as well just play for me ;)

  5. I love this! Isn't it cool how much we learn from our little ones?

  6. This is great. It's amazing what our children can teach us :)

  7. This made me smile . . . thinking of my Eva who colors *everything* rainbow. We have a lovely Rainbow Red Squirrel picture on our fridge right now. I asked her once why she colors everything that way, and she told me "because I love ALL the colors, not just one."

  8. Oh this made me smile so much! Thanks for posting it - a wonderful reminder of freeing ourselves to be more creative.

  9. ps. Have shared it in my weekly links post today :) http://freeyourparenting.com/2011/09/18/sharing-sunday-9/