If Ben is my intellectual, Molly is my visionary. She has a flair for the artistic and attention to detail that I find quite amazing. I talked a bit in my Santa letter post about supposed gender differences when it comes to fine motor skills. In my kids’ case there is definitely a Ben/Molly difference but the jury is still out on whether or not this relates to gender.
As early as a year ago, her teacher was marveling at her focus when it comes to crafts. One of the first crafts she did in her toddler program was a sheep – Molly’s was evenly covered in cotton balls and her teacher told me, wide-eyed, that Molly (under 2 at the time) had sat at the table for half an hour carefully gluing on cotton ball after cotton ball until she was completely satisfied with the end result.
She loves working in mixed media (aka “cutting and bluing”) and has an obsession with googly eyes. Here is the first piece she created when given a supply:
That piece was from about 5 months ago. In the last little while she has developed a sort of a trademark – Can you spot it?
Today while Ben was at school Molly decided that she would like to paint, so I gave her a canvas, paint and Q-tips as well as some glue and things to glue (googly eyes, jewels, sequins, wooden hearts, and “crumplies,” which are crumpled squares of crepe paper). NB – I’ve become a really big fan of Q-tips for crafts. In addition to paintbrushes they make excellent glue wands.
She started by painting shapes – a yellow “rainbow” (arc) and pink circles, followed by orange squiggles. This was all deliberate – she described what she was painting to me as she worked.
She then carefully filled in the shapes with purple.
She added pink and red “slides” (think playground slides) and then added a red jewel.
At this point, she got distracted by another work in progress – a little while ago, Ben and Molly collected some fall leaves outside and I tried to organize a craft for Ben that was a bit of a flop. I drew a tree and suggested that he glue the leaves they had collected onto the branches. Unfortunately, it turned out that white glue is not particularly effective on freshly fallen (not dried out) fall leaves, and once they dry out they are really too crumbly to work with, so we abandoned that project. The picture has stayed taped to the cupboard door (It’s the best easel I’ve found!) and every once in a while Molly adds something to it (previous additions include the three hearts and a googly eye on the left).
She worked on this piece diligently for a little while and then asked me to take a picture, presenting it with a “ta-da!”
She had painted the pre-existing googly eyes green (“Ben will love this because he loves green!”), and added the rest.
After that she went back and forth between the two projects, adding bits and pieces here and there until she was satisfied with the finished products. Did you spot the trademark googly-eye, crepe-paper-mouth faces before? Here they are again!
Interestingly, when Molly first asked for paint, she specified that she wanted every colour except green: “No green, mommy. I don’t need green.” I gave her the green anyway, and the only place she used it was on the eyes on the tree. Apparently her vision of her original project (the canvas – see below) had no green, and she remained true to that vision. In fact (and I’m probably reading too much into this now) the heart-shaped jewel was originally pale green and she painted over it in red, so there is absolutely no green on this picture – maybe this is her way of making sure it is clear that this was her work alone, completely independent of Ben?
If you’re still not convinced about both Molly’s attention to detail and googly-eye obsession, feast your eyes on what happened when she was left unattended with craft supplies for about 10 minutes yesterday:
If you look very, very carefully, each googly eye has been affixed to the edge of the egg carton with identical-coloured paint with the exception of purple paint substituted in the absence of blue.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – my kids are nuts.