I don’t know what it is about toddlers, but they just do NOT understand an
overly obsessive-compulsive adult’s need to FINISH coloring a picture before moving on.
I need closure. I need my picture to come to fruition and fulfillment of it’s potential. I need to look back and say, “Well done, good and artistic Rachel.”
What I DON’T need is to be forced to quit one picture and move onto the next before I’m finished. I want relationship with my pictures!
It wasn’t too bad at first. She would stay entertained long enough for me to at least finish all of the characters in my picture:
But then it got worse. She started to “emulate” my coloring. Meaning that she would color inside the lines, and in each area.
However, her idea of coloring an area was one squiggle of color. So she would completely “finish” her picture, and therefore be ready to move on, WAY before I would be.
AND, if I tried to stall, she would just begin to “help” me with my picture, which, although I would never let it show to her, would somewhat deflate my coloring perfection balloon anyway, and then I’d WANT to move on with her.
Then it got worse. She gave up the idea of coloring a squiggle in every area and just began to widely scrawl across the whole page and declare it done. I didn’t even get to finish ONE character anymore:
She would only grant me extra time with a picture if I used a lot of PINK, her favorite color. But all mercies, of course, ended before the picture was complete.
This next one reminds me of my Christmas stocking growing up. It was a cross stitch template stocking that Mom never finished stitching, so it had spots of color stitching intermixed with black outline where color was supposed to go:
(Ah yes, the troubles of a middle child. My stocking is now well over 20 years old and, you guessed it, still not finished.)
These frequent artistic interruptions made me feel so incomplete, unthorough, and thoroughly un-therapized by my coloring.
So then I started to try and amuse myself right before the page turned, but drawing a mustache or something:
But, although it made me smile, it didn’t fill that emptiness that lived inside of me.
Finally, the crest of my creativity frustration came when I got about two inches of outline colored before I was told it was time to move on:
So I decided to revolt. I picked a page, and insisted that we stay on it until I was finished.
Of course, she quickly bored of the coloring activity and moved on to play other things.
But that was fine with me.
I moved on to the living room with her, coloring book (and box of crayons) in hand.
I worked on my picture, and worked on it some more. Chris came home from work. I looked up, gave him a kiss, and went back to my picture.
And finally, the masterpiece was finished:
And I felt so good. So completed. So peaceful. Nay, euphoric even.
And you know what? This therapy has helped me so much, that I don’t even accidentally break all of my crayons anymore.
I guess that was a subconscious outpouring of my now-dealt-with need for coloring closure.
Ali, on the other hand, may be getting to the brink of frustration with my dogged commitment to my coloring completion. Hopefully from this, she’ll learn that relationships are much better when they last a lifetime, instead of a speed dating frenzy.
Or, maybe she’ll just come to realize that her Mom is a complete and total obsessive-compulsive dork.