Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Her Sense of Self

Because she's my third child, I sometimes need to remind myself to marvel at the new things she can do. Her brother, my first, has a box full of early scribbles and paintings, each one dated and tucked away by his proud mama. By the time the third arrived, I was inundated with artistic renderings, shoved in a basket. I regret to admit that I look at some of those "Humpty Dumpty" drawings (round body, arms and legs stuck out at angles) and wonder...which of my children drew this?

But then, she developed an artistic style all her own. She draws her people upside down.

 Always start with the head, as this is where a toddler's consciousness is focussed: the place where information is gathered and processed with eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. . A nose that wrinkles up, and ears that can differentiate between the voices of those that love her.
A mouth that shouts and laughs and sings and murmurs and cries, and eyes that widen in surprise and tear up in an instant of frustration.
 Hair, and cheeks (her latest addition to these people drawings), and nice long legs; she is grounded by those sturdy, useful feet.
 Some longer hair indicates that this is a self-portrait. Arms are long for hugging, and fingers are many to reflect the many wonderful things her little hands can do now.
She looks with pride on her (upside down) creation, and I get a sense that this kid's sense of self is just as it should be.

The kindergarten teacher in me can't resist drawing attention to how she grips her marker; some children do this "tripod" grasp naturally (thumb and forefinger grasping the pencil, with the pencil leaning against that "web" between, supported by the middle finger), and it is considered the best grip for early printing skills. If your toddler grasps the pencil with the whole fist, "scissors" it between the fore-and middle fingers, or seems to have a "strange" way of gripping the pencil, please begin gently correcting their pencil grasp with lots of positive reinforcement; this will greatly benefit them when they are asked to do more than scribble. Thank you, from your child's future teachers!


  1. Wow! I'm impressed by Margot's drawing abilities. Geneiveve is totally in the scribbling stage still. How fun it is to watch their individual artisic talents emerge. It has been one of the greatest joys of being a mama!

  2. Just spelled my daughter's name wrong...Genevieve!

  3. Thanks for all your teacher tips! I always think about the pencil thing when I see Aylen holding one :)

  4. I noted, too, that she's drawing figures. My son is still in the scribbling stage. But, he is able to hold his marker correctly and is also able to use scissors, so I know this puts him a step ahead. Thanks for the tips and for sharing...

  5. Oh, love, love, love potato-head-people drawings!!!


  6. I appreciate the teacher tips, Stephanie. Amazing how much her people look like my little people's people.

  7. Could Aunt Lana commission one such drawing for her fridge, please?
    (I almost kissed my screen just now)

  8. lovely picture!

    I remember when M was in this phase, now she is into full body portraits with bodies and clothes and shoes. How I miss the scribbles.

  9. Child development is amazing, isn't it? I have three and four year olds in my class who are still in the scribble stage...each one at their own stage and pace! Sometimes it takes just a bit of modelling (draw a circle, then four sticks, then eyes and mouth) for them to say, "Aha! I can do this!"...sweet.

  10. I enjoyed this post very much. She is captivating!



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