So today he woke up and talked about the book again.
He gets obsessed with books. I love that he gets obsessed. All that passion and excitement whirling around his little brain.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with too. Especially on Tuesdays. It’s the day we spend together, just me and my 4 year old. It’s the only day he’s not at pre-school. It’s precious time, I know. I love him dearly. But I confess the day with him is long and overwhelming. It still tires me.
So today, this Tuesday, I wondered what I could do to make it through the day. I secretly wished he would watch TV all day while I hid on the computer. But that totally back-fired when Mister Maker came on and proposed all manner of complicated craft to do.
“The TV has given me an idea!” declared the boy.
He rushed to the table and started drawing.
His enthusiasm was infectious. I couldn’t help but wander over and see what he was up to. I knew it had something to do with the book, the book he had talked about all week. It’s called Handa’s Surprise.
It’s a gorgeous book with stunning pictures. An African girl walks to her friends’s house with a basket of fruit on her head. As her journey continues, one by one the animals steal pieces of fruit from the basket. At the end of her journey a goat butts a tree which showers down tangerines into her empty basket. When Handa finally gets to her friend’s house and takes the basket off her head, both of them are surprised with what they find.
“Guess what I’m drawing?” he giggled.
And that’s how he lured me in.
But I was happy to be lured. His new found love of drawing warms my heart. Only a few weeks ago he was scrawling indecipherable shapes. But now he’s starting to find actual form and detail.
Bit by bit we re-created Handa’s world.
First he wanted me to make a basket. He drew the fruit, I cut them out, and he help me stick them onto the basket.
Then he drew all the animals. Then he wanted to draw the landscape. So I gave him some cardboard.
“I want to draw big yellow grass everywhere!”
And then we stuck it all together.
We gave Handa a body (I drew it for him), and reinforced her with cardboard too… so she was able to walk around her world.
The end result?
One ecstatic boy. And one contented mother.
It turns out that Handa wasn’t the only one surprised. I was surprised that I enjoyed the process. I enjoyed seeing his eyes light up with ideas. I enjoyed seeing his creativity flourish.
Could it be that delight trumps exhaustion?
Maybe this is what being well is like. Having the head space jump in and do things which used to overwhelm me. Maybe. Or perhaps I finally just relaxed enough to let all my worries go.
As I type this the boy is up-ending the couch, putting clean blankets on the floor, and about to pour water on the cushions. So it’s not always delightful, I can assure you.
But this morning we had precious time. It makes me hope there will be more.