Stop Counting Beavers

My four year old Noelle has no interest in drawing pictures or coloring inside the lines.  When presented with a blank piece of paper, she takes a few crayons to it, hastily draws a circle or a blob, and moves on.

I’ve googled this issue repeatedly spent a lot of time sweating it.

I know coloring inside the lines is overrated, but I just need to to know that she’s able to do it… if she wants to.

I have mini panic attacks when I see the art of my friends’ preschoolers online, they’re drawing people!  With faces and recognizable limbs!

I regularly freak out over this as though this is huge benchmark in Noelle’s future life success.


But this past Sunday afternoon, during a rainy-day painting session, she painted a beaver!  With a pond!  And a tree!

All the !!!!!!!

Real understandable things, on paper!  

And the mother rejoiced!  There was much celebration and high-fivery and fist-bumpery.  

Because finally, we arrived!  We were going to be okay!  We had beavers!

Wait a second.  Where were we yesterday?  Were we any less awesome in out pre-beaver existence?

Am I really going to be the kind of mom who only believes in her kids when they’re hitting the pre-prescribed benchmarks?

Ewww.  No. What? 

I don’t want to be the sort of mother who quantifies their child by the pediatricians handouts and then freaks out at every minor in-discrepancy.

But I am.  Really, I am.  Blah.

I compare her against the other little girls who walk out of the preschool classroom.
I compare her play with that of her peers.
I compare her artwork with what I’m seeing on Facebook.

But, you can’t compare your people like you compare the price of boneless skinless chicken breast in a supermarket ad.

Noelle needs a mom who believes in her awesomeness ALWAYS, regardless of the presence of beavers.  Be they metaphorical or Literal.

No literal Beavers please… Only he artsy, painted kind.  No real beavers in the house.  This is a firm rule.

So, while I am glad we’re doing beavers now, I have to use this as a heart-change moment, another prompting to keep my success-based personality type in check.

I can evaluate some things with charts and graphs but my kids?  Not really.

We all believe that normal is just a setting on the washing machine but we lead thought lives that fly directly in the face of this.

So I’m offering up apologetic prayers to a God who gave me the perfect daughter, this loved little girl with a huge heart and astonishing imagination.

I want be her safest haven, not her strictest measuring stick.

Dear Lord, help me to see her even more as you do, to love her as unconditionally as you love me.

To play jaguar restaurant and caracole-minten with wild abandon.  To eat all the pretend, gluten free, sprinkled cupcakes with relish and fall in love with her deeper every day.  I’m sorry and Amen.  

  • Kel “The Kel” Penny


  • Rebecca

    Totally agree with this. Down with the “compare and despair” game!!