The action that totally cools my very feisty and very sensitive just-started kindergartner out is… to color in her coloring book. I cannot tell you how surprised I am to discover that this is her go-to chill out item.
It totally is, though.
For the most part, she colors in pink, purple and red. In fact, I may have to offload some blue, orange and brown markers eventually, since I’ve had to buy a couple of boxes of markers (the eight pack) just to replenish our purple and red supply.
I get it. I do. We all need tasks we can rely upon that are our own. Some people knit. I make jam, and I feel the way I think she feels when she’s filling out a little bird—staying inside the lines—when I stir and stir. There’s a suspension, held aloft yet grounded at once in the thick of the task-at-hand. I feel grateful for this myself (and if you looked in my jam pantry, you’d see evidence that I really do crave that sensation; I make a lot of jam each summer). When she colors, she gets quiet. She stops time. She chills.
I have another coloring book (hers is a big Melissa and Doug one) on reserve. We’re on the second one, now. It’s a small investment for such satisfaction and calm. And it’s a sign I won’t ignore. I am going to make sure she learns to knit. I believe she’s a knitter waiting to learn how.
Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser is a freelance writer and blogger whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Brain Child Magazine and Salon the Huffington Post, Babble and Ceramics Monthly. Her essays have appeared in various anthologies including The Maternal is Political and Wait a Minute, I Have to Take Off My Bra. A writer for Preview Massachusetts Magazine, she keeps a personal blog, Standing in the Shadows at the publication’s news site, the Valley Advocate and a tumblr Refractions. She is a sometime contributor to Momfilter. Follow her on twitter–@standshadows or Pinterest.