Microsoft Paint with pen and colored marker, on copier paper.
Yes, she has finally learned how to draw smiles.
Black Dry Erase Marker on Marker Board
It’s been nearly a year since her first recognizable drawing, and Ngnat’s characters still seem remarkably blas? about life, even when they find themselves in the most outlandish of positions, such as perching on the back of a whale, watching one’s offspring while it is perched on the back of a whale (for that is the mother to the left, already clad in mourning), or having the swaddled infant of hairless monkeys balancing on one’s backside. All still have the Ngnat trademark– a flat line of a mouth. Even her “spooky spider,” which she drew after “baby on whale” had been wiped away forever was remarkably nonchalant for a hundred-eyed spider.
I’ll miss these creatures one day, when Ngnat learns to draw smiles. Smiles, precious as they may be in a child’s drawing, convey an interpretation instead of asking for one.
Though, come to think of it, smiley faces are probably preferable to parenting a Goth kindergartener.
Update: Forgot about the red scribbles. Those are the character’s names, carefully spelled out by Ngnat, using a cursive script known only to her.
UNC is closed, the weblogs seminar has been rescheduled. The only question at this point is whether or not we’ll be shut down tomorrow as well.
Not that it matters to me. I can work from home, and have, earning valuable comp time to sock away for future vacations in between changing diapers, showing a toddler how to use the printer, and putting out birdseed.
I’m going to appreciate those twelve minutes, some day.
Not that the above activities went unappreciated, especially by the avians. They have jammed the feeders today. A flock of mourning doves, an annoyance of house finches, a wonderwherethegunis of grackles–all the common visitors. The weather has also driven some of the more uncommon species out of their normal haunts and up to the house–pine and yellow-rumped warblers, a bluebird family, towhees and fox sparrows that would normally lurk along the woodline, even a pair of red-winged blackbirds and a red-headed woodpecker, neither of which had ever shown up at the feeder before. Evening Grosbeaks are the really the only species I could reasonably expect to show up that hasn’t yet.
It would’ve been nice to know, 20 years ago, that I could look forward to a career where 90% of it could take place at the kitchen table, cup of tea on one side of the computer, bird book and binoculars on the other. Not that I worried about such things then, or really ten years after that, but it might have had a calming effect. Very civilized, such a career. I probably wouldn’t have dropped that Pascal class, either.
We’ve managed to get Ngnat and Scotty M to take a nap at the same time for the second day in a row, through sheer luck rather than any particular plan. If they both make it to three in the afternoon before waking it will be a red letter day indeed. Both seemed happy to have me home–Ngnat repeatedly asked if I was going to work today, shouting “Yah!” when I finally convinced her I was not, and Scotty gurgled pleasantly at me between raspberries.
He likes raspberries a great deal. Along with a kind of sharp, high-pitched barking, it’s his primary means of communication, though one apt to be messy when done with a mouthful of strained peas. He spent most of the morning more or less underfoot in the computer room, as I did what I could with a remote server or two and Ngnat played with MS Paint on the now incredibly obselete Windows 98 box. It also has a Keyboard Pounder I downloaded for her a couple of years ago. She’s outgrown it since, but Scotty M has filled the vacant role of keypounding, droolspewing maniac admirably since. I’ve been meaning to wipe everything off the box and install Linux on it for a while, but the two between them spend far more time on it now than I ever would, so I think I’ll leave it as is.
Maybe I’ll install King’s Quest on it while Ngnat takes her nap, she might be of an age to enjoy that now. In the meantime, have some Ngnat art.
Variations On A Theme By Kandinsky, #1*
*This is not what she actually titled the piece. I translated it from the title she gave me, which went something like. “Monkeyjoy Brownie Hand.”
Another Ngnat drawing for the Gallery.
magic marker on printer paper
Still with the flat line of a mouth. Nice goatee, though. Very like her mother’s.
I have no idea what level of drawing skill a three-year-old should have. For all I know, Ngnat’s drawings are perfectly in keeping with her developmental level. It’s not like she’s freehanding perfect circles or anything.
But she can already draw as well as I, even burdened as she is by a relative lack of motor control. Admittedly, I have not a lick of talent in that area. When it comes to the graphic arts, I’m the possessor of a negative lick balance.
Odds are I’m just another parent panning for hints of genius in an perfectly ordinary child, but that’s what parents do. I remember seeing a teenage girlfriend play the part of a barmaid for a regional theatre production of “Oliver” some 20 odd years ago. After the play, her mother could talk of nothing but her daughter’s incipient Broadway career. I try to resist channeling that woman when it comes to my kids.
As you can see, most of the time I fail.
Sainted Wife took her leave of us this morning, to go peruse Clayton’s new Super Wal-Mart in the company of her cousin. It’s not something I would have thought of as an exciting trip away from the family, but I’ve not been breast feeding an infant every two hours for the last nine weeks. Apparently it gives one something of a tied down feeling.
I played single parent while she was gone, letting Ngnat watch two solid hours of television, giving Scotty M. a rather chilly bottle of breast milk, then putting him in his swing to sleep the morning away while I drank coffee and read the paper. Quite an easy morning, really. I can’t imagine why she gets tired so early in the evening. A vitamin deficiency, perhaps.
At one point Ngnat requested that I draw her a fish, which I promptly did despite being involved with a particularly engaging Drabble. Quality time, the secret to good parenting. One circle, three triangles, five lines, fish.
“Thank you daddy.”
You’re quite welcome, my dear, no trouble at all.
“I make you a cat.”
You do that.
And she did. His name is “Aman,” pronounced “A man.”
I don’t know if her drawing is getting better or not. It’s certainly getting weirder. Still got that flat line of a mouth, too. In the interest of making things easy on future art historians, Ngnat’s art has its own page now. Yes, this does mean I’ll likely be inflicting more of her scribbles on you. It’s my site, I can drive away readers any way I want to.
And for the local readership, Sainted Wife’s review of the Super Wal-Mart: “It was nice. Still clean. No rednecks yet.”
I made Ngnat a cd for her trip to Nana’s. She drew me a picture.
The flowing locks of hippo hair are a nice touch. I suspect hippos would be much happier animals if they all had long, golden hair.
But, like Totoro before her, the hippo seems pensive. It’s that flat, thin line of a mouth.
We’ll look back in twenty years, or more likely ten, and ask Ngnat “Why didn’t your characters ever smile?” in all innocence. Five minutes later we’ll wish we had never brought the subject up.
Still, I’m looking forward to the recitation.