By Sheana Ochoa
There have been studies indicating that kids that go to preschool are more successful fiscally and emotionally as adults. I can see the benefits of preschool in terms of socialization as well as keeping my son physically and mentally occupied, but, what I didn’t expect was Noah’s interest (at not quite three-and-half-years old) in drawing. He loves to draw. I pick him up from school and whatever it is he is doing, he stops and grabs the piece of paper he has drawn on and rolls it up scroll-like, and carries it to the car and into the house. Until recently, the drawings were pretty rudimentary, mere spherical circles, what one might call scribble . . . and then within a few days, he was suddenly drawing shapes!
This milestone occurred while he was staying with his favorite aunt in San Luis Obispo. I didn’t know about his advancement, until, bored with the four-hour drive back to LA, he asked for a piece of paper to color on. I didn’t pay much attention, but after about five minutes, he said, “Mommy, look.” And he handed me a piece of paper on which he had drawn actual forms, not squiggles. “Wow, that’s really cool,” I said, honestly impressed. “I’m not done,” he announced, surprising me again. Noah continued to work on this piece for twenty or thirty minutes, apprising me of his progress every five minutes until he finally announced that the picture was finished. He had in fact created what looked to me like a cityscape with dimension and form and different colors.
I’ve tried to get him to repeat the process, but he hasn’t had the forced attention span he had while held hostage in a car for hours on end. Still, he’s continuing to draw shapes, which just amazes me. How do you go from scribbling to drawing? It was like going from crawling to walking. Poof! Perhaps I’m impressed because I am the worst drawer in the world. Seriously, I have no sense of dimension or shape. When I used to teach and I tried to illustrate something on the board, I could never quite transfer what was in my brain through my hand onto the whiteboard. My students would end up telling me, “It’s okay, Ms. Ochoa. We know what you mean.”
Noah’s grandpa is an artist. Apparently he got some attention for drawing in elementary school, but he never pursued it until he found art again in his 60s. Now he paints full time. I don’t know if this art thing is a passing phase for Noah. Nor do I really know if his present skills are anything exceptional, not having other kids’ drawings to compare with his (and that’s not an invitation for anyone to tell me). I’m just amazed at how the mind and body of my little boy are developing: every day a new word, a new gesture, a new idea. I feel honored to watch it happening.
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