It seems I have a bit of a hothouse flower on my hands. While DD is as hard as nails most of the time, DS is a sensitive soul. She bounces off walls on her bike and merely whimpers slightly as she is disentangled from the wreckage, while for him the merest scratch becomes a major war wound to be examined, treated and closely monitored for weeks, then reminisced about for years after. That’s just the physical stuff though. He is getting more resilient in that respect as he gets older and now the sensitivity surfaces unexpectedly and from a deeper, more emotional corner.
To be fair, he has a lot to put up with – his little sister thumps him constantly and nicks his stuff, but he is old enough to realise that getting caught retaliating will mean “Trouble”, so has to resort to “Telling”, thus preserving the proper hierarchy for meting out justice while trying not to appear to be a total wuss. If that wasn’t all, he gets roughed up by Daddy (in the merciless tickling kind of way), gets ganged up on by rest of the family when playing games (to curb his tendency to gloat) and gets the mickey taken fairly relentlessly by all (in a generally harmless way). He has always had a good sense of humour and takes most of it with good natured stoicism – he knows what we’re like. He has become accustomed to our ways in his 10 years and smiles indulgently, making token noises of protestation in the required fashion.
No, he’s fine with all that everyday stuff. The latest manifestation of his sensitivity has been something in the nature of an artistic temperament. He has loved drawing for some time now and for his birthday received a book entitled “How to Draw Dragons”. This is a fantastic book with step by step instructions to get you from blank paper to full colour dragons in several flavours and it had ignited serious enthusiasm, the A3 pad and assorted pens being dragged along everywhere we went. All was going swimmingly. Stage 5 or 6 of the first dragon picture had been reached, pencil lines had been rubbed out and the thing was in the process of having colour applied. Assorted colours of fine liners had been purchased to aid the transition.
And then, yesterday, I asked to see progress. When I saw it on Saturday, it was looking really impressive and shaping up quite well – the dragon was mostly coloured in and outlined. Yesterday, the dragon was absolutely fine and still looking the business. Problem was, DS had decided to start filling in the background (of an A3 sheet) with dark purple felt tip…eek! Felt pens don’t really lend themselves well to covering large areas and tend to have paper-destroying properties when used heavily. The poor dragon that had taken so long to draw was all but lost in this horible mess of scratchy felt pen purple.
I said as much. I said as much in a much nicer and more supportive way. No, really! I didn’t say what I was thinking.
Unfortunately, the reaction was not good, although it took some time to churn to the surface of his sensitive tirtured soul. Silence…intermittent sulking, pouting and a few tears ensued and by bedtime finally culminated in the assertion that he was rubbish and would never draw again. Oh dear!What have I done!
Cue much massaging of ego from all quarters, reiterating that the dragon (i.e., the actual drawing bit) was really great and promising to cut it out of the background and mount it on a suitably painted one. We finally extracted a promise from him that he would not give up drawing, albeit a half-hearted one.
This afternoon I bought him a nice big tin of drawing, metallic,colouring and watercolour pens. Fertiliser for my poor, crushed hothouse flower that I desperately hope will bloom artistically once more.