Lately, my kids have really been enjoying intricate coloring patterns with a nice set of colored pencils (thanks, Grandma!).
As they’ve been contentedly creating, I started thinking back to all my concerns about J, who is now 8, because he wasn’t meeting the coloring milestones when he was younger the way I thought he should.
When he was 4, he was content completing workbooks and writing words and drawing shapes, but coloring was always hurried, sloppy… a battle.
When he was 4 and 5, I’d take him out to the driveway with sidewalk chalk, but he didn’t want to draw; he just wanted to dictate and have me do it.
When he started school, I heard about his coloring from his teacher. He was sloppy, didn’t stay in the lines, didn’t take his time.
I was concerned. I cared about precision, attention to detail, and fine motor skills. Why in the world couldn’t my kid color well?
Fast forward to this week.
See that bottom image? That’s a postcard he spent HOURS on this week.
He got there.
Of course, there’s still more growing to do, but… wow.
To me, these two pictures tell me as much about his emotional state as they do about his drawing abilities.
The first one is frantic, hurried, possibly under duress.
The second one is peaceful, calm, intentional, careful.
What happened in between those drawings?
3 years, with all the maturing and learning that comes with that, but we also pulled J out of school and gave him lots of time to develop at his own pace, free from external expectations and comparisons.
Hope for other areas
Drawings are easy to compare. Emotional maturity, executive function, sensory overwhelm coping skills are less objective, but this gives me hope. It gives me hope that our asynchronous kids one day will find their stride, especially when we give them space and support to grow when they’re ready.