Little Monkey is (mostly) outgrowing her Monkey-ness. Which is good, considering I’d have big fines for my evil racism based on calling her that. I’m thinking about changing her name to “Little Artist,” but then she might outgrow that too… We’ll see.

I love having more than one child. The first child is “default.” Everything they do is ‘normal’ and they set the bar for subsequent children. Also, they add an influence in the lives of subsequent children that the first/only doesn’t have.

For instance, when Big Sister (ok, need a new name for her too) was 3 or 4, she wasn’t much for imaginary play. I took notice only because it seemed to differ from my childhood. I assumed that first/only children would be more inclined to imagine, because of their solitary status, but it wasn’t the case with her. However, as Little Monkey Artist grew old enough to play with her big sister, pretending became a huge aspect of their interactions. Each of them pretending to be other people/animals, toys taking on their own personality, even bars of soap and eating utensils grew personas.

Big Sister was also not much for drawing or coloring until she was probably 5 or so. She could be entertained for a few minutes only, and her heart wasn’t much in it. As she has grown up, she has enjoyed things far more. So I do not know yet if Little Artist is a little artist because it is an innate gift, or if it is because she has a Big Sister to mimic. But oh, she loves her colors! She is not yet four, and can color much better than her sister ever thought to at that age. Take a look:

She colored this a month or two ago, and it’s fairly representative of her efforts to stay within lines and change colors where she deems appropriate (interestingly, I recall coloring a page of Sesame Street’s Count VonCount all purple. I remember thinking how tedious it was to switch colors and couldn’t imagine having so much patience…).

She also likes to draw. Pens, pencils, markers, it doesn’t much matter… Almost always it is cute little characters with happy faces. It took me a long time to understand their physical makeup though; from their necks down most looked like a capital ‘H’ – two vertical lines (legs?) and a cross bar midway. Turns out these are the girls! They are wearing dresses! Daddy (the only non-girl in the family) never has a cross-bar; only straight legs. His hair is usually spikey as well.

She draws and colors all day, when possible. At the school area, at the kitchen table, on the floor – everywhere! I am often picking up (or tripping over) small pieces of crayon dropped here and there (her earlier favorite crayon-hobby was peeling their papers off and breaking them into a few pieces). She takes a ziploc of crayons and a color book, or a pen and paper into the car, and even sleeps with a pile of crayons. Her first and last activities of the day are – you guessed it – coloring.

This last picture is from an old ‘project.’ One of the pre-we-only-draw-on-paper!-training projects: the back side of a low dresser. It’s probably almost a year old (ah, the primitive cave paintings…) but you can see their faces, hair, and the ‘H’ look. While I can’t condone all the non-paper artwork that might go on around here, I secretly adore this; it will be with us for a long time, far longer than she will remain the adorable whirlwind artist that challenges my reliance on the Lord daily.