A lot is done via storytelling in our house. If we don’t have an actual book open in front of us, it’s not too far fetched to find us making up stories to amuse ourselves or remind us of memories past.
One of EZ’s frequent requests is, “tell me about when I was a baby,” where I’ll regale him with a story from his infancy and he’ll laugh and then nod. “Oh yeah,” he’ll say with a huge smile. “I remember.”
We also use storytelling as a way to process our day and usually, beneath the covers before bedtime, we’ll sit and share favorite moments from the day or talk through some not-so-fabulous ones that are easier to discuss once some time (or heated emotion) has passed.
The other night, EZ decided to add a new component to our storytelling: artwork.
Granted, this artwork took place in the bathroom and his medium was steam on glass, but his message certainly wasn’t lost.
“That’s me,” he explained. “See? I have curly hair.”
I thought he was just drawing a picture of himself, but then he went on to describe the reason he was smiling. He reminded me of how we worked together in the kitchen, making smoothies and then later some fresh pesto for dinner that night. He let me know how happy cooking together makes him.
I may have smiled, giving myself a mental pat on the back for clearly being a rockin’ mom in the eyes of my 4.5 year old.
He continued to play around in the shower while I sat in the bathroom, attempting to come up with some serious kick-ass words for a heated Words With Friends game on my phone.
“Now look,” EZ said, drawing my attention back to the steamy glass.
I placed my phone down and looked up to see that he had drawn another picture of himself, but this time, he was frowning.
I wracked my brain, trying to figure out what had caused the little frowny face that just looked so damn sad. I didn’t have to wonder long, because of course, he had an explanation.
“It was because you made me sad.”
What? I made my child sad!?
“Remember? When I wanted to take daddy’s nails and hammer them into the wall? You took them away and that made me sad.”
Ah. Yes. That.
It wasn’t that hard to recollect. I had gone upstairs to find EZ standing in front of a wall in his bedroom, hammer held high and a pack of nails at his feet. Thankfully, I stumbled across this little home improvement scene seconds before any damage (er, uh…improvement) could have occurred. And we had what I thought was a teaching moment.
I let him know that “tools aren’t toys,” and suggested a handful of (less destructive) alternatives if he still wanted to do some work on the walls. There was some pouting and some grumbling, but it passed. I had no idea he had been harboring such upset feelings about it.
I mean – did you see that steamy, pouty face?
So, we talked about it, and finally…begrudgingly…he accepted the “tools aren’t toys” mantra. And while I wasn’t glad that he was upset over it, I was thankful that he found his own way to work it through.
Between the happy self-portrait, the frowny one and the vast amount of cuddly snuggles I got later that evening when I put him to bed, I’d like to think I came out a smidge on top that day…
However, you can be sure that as I went to bed, I certainly replayed the evening’s storytime, complete with shower art, over in my head before I finally fell asleep.