Boy Parts

Posted: August 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Daddio, Discoveries, Extended Family, Little Rhody, Miss Kate, Parenting, Preschool | 6 Comments »


On her last day of preschool, Kate brought home a portfolio of all her artwork. It was made of colored poster board that the teachers stapled together and each kid got to decorate.

Kate had written her name on hers. She also covered the thing with drawings of flowers, rainbows, and penises.

Dismayed, I reached inside the portfolio. The top five papers I yanked out featured more of the same. KATE KATE KATE scrawled on each page. Rainbows, flowers, stick figures with pigtails, and penises. Lots and lots of free-floating larger-than-life penises.

Picasso had a Blue Period and a Rose Period. Could Kate be going through some kind of Penis Period? And if so, for the love of God, why hadn’t the teachers informed us of this? For all I know, these hippie California preschools, they probably just encouraged her to draw an equal number of vaginas.

Now, due to nothing that Mark or I have done knowingly, Kate appears to have a healthy self-esteem. (For now, at least.) At summer camp in Rhode Island, she didn’t fret for a minute about not knowing any of the other kids. She’s game for adventures. Loves new people. Never shies away from reporting that her “story,” “painting,” or “dance performance” was the best in her class.

But her Achilles heel—the thing she often beats herself up over—is her inability to draw hearts. This came up when we were at my dad’s this summer. Out of the blue, a sudden outburst of dramatic blubbering about, “I can NOT draw hearts! Kaylee can do hearts! I will never ever NEVER know how to draw a heart.” Waaaah! Waaaah! WAAAAAAH!

Then she threw herself across the couch, clutching a pencil tragically to her breast.

My lazy mother instinct kicked in. I looked up from my People magazine and turned to my father—who is actually quite a handy artist—and foisted this nagging issue his way.

“Grandpa is great at drawing!” I said brightly. “I bet he’d LOVE to teach you how to draw a heart.”

I’m not sure exactly what happened next, as the article about former-Heff-girlfriend Kendra Wilcox’s new baby was thoroughly engrossing. But I think I remember there being a directive about making a kinda curvy “m” for the top part. Then closing off the bottom with a “v.”

Voila! A heart!

There seemed to be all kind of high-fiving and “that’s the most beautiful heart I’ve ever seen” grandparently reinforcement. I believe Kate ran over to proudly thrust her drawing on top of of my article on the recent Jonas Brothers marriage. “Oooh great,” I said automatically, casually sliding my magazine free.

I realize now that I should have taken more care that day to focus in on the “hearts” Kate was so delightedly producing. The hearts that Teacher Grandpa was administering praise-filled wallops to her little back for. Because—and I don’t want to say that any form of art is “wrong” or “bad”—but the fact is, after scrutinizing Kate’s preschool drawings the other day, I suddenly realized that the things that I thought were boy parts, were blessedly not those at all. They were, at least in the eyes of the artist, hearts.

Alas, when we go back to Grandpa’s in October, I think it’s time for he and Kate to go back to the drawing board.


6 Comments on “Boy Parts”

  1. 1 Story said at 7:18 am on August 16th, 2010:

    Nice! My boy can’t get his hands out of his training pants long enough to do any drawing for the time being.

  2. 2 becca said at 7:40 am on August 16th, 2010:

    I want you to know that I KNEW it was a heart before you even explained it. Tell Kate there was no confusion over here, and that is coming from the International House of Penises.

  3. 3 kristen said at 9:56 am on August 16th, 2010:

    we’re just days away from our visit to the international house of penises (and beer!). can’t wait.

  4. 4 kristen said at 10:01 am on August 16th, 2010:

    p.s. becca: that i thought it was a penis and you thought it was a heart must say something about something. but i’m not really trained to accurately assess what that could be.

  5. 5 FAB said at 6:19 pm on August 16th, 2010:

    concerning Kates art work, and anyone else’s at that, remember beauty is in the eyes of the sees what he wants to see…as for Kate’s art teacher (part time) and grandfather (fulltime), I feel that her hearts are large, colorful, warm and the main part of her drawings, very much like her own heart…warm, colorful and large…the important part of her !

  6. 6 Mary said at 10:52 pm on August 28th, 2010:

    “lazy mother instinct” DYING over here. I wish you could see me reading your posts!

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