Friday, March 13, 2009

The Crayon Experiment

So yesterday, our case manager came by for her monthly visit with the boys. (One of the perks of having micro-preemies is enrollment in the state early-intervention program, which provides them with developmental services (like PT, OT, speech) so that by the adjusted age of 2 or so, they are nearly caught up developmentally with their peers). In addition to parking a county car in our driveway on a regular basis (which, I am sure has our neighbors wondering just what is going on at the Kahn house), our case manager keeps tabs on the boys’ development.

Part of our conversation:
  • Case Manager: So, are the boys coloring?
  • What I said: Umm… you mean with crayons?
  • What I was thinking: Yes, they color their teeth with crayons, because they think crayons are food.
  • Case Manager: Well, you should be working with them on scribbling, and then on drawing straight lines.
  • What I said: Okie dokie. That sounds great. We will color our hearts out. I’ll mail you their drawings for your refrigerator.
  • What I was thinking: Zach + Charlie + Cooper, armed with crayons... eating crayons… grinding crayons into the carpet… putting them in the dishwasher… hiding them between the couch cushions… drawing on the walls… Shouldn’t we work on cartwheels first? Am I the only parent of 17-month-olds who think crayons might require one-on-one supervision, and that one-on-three supervision just might not cut it?

And so… the crayon lessons began.

Day One, 7:30 a.m. I lay several sheets of paper on the boys’ table. I show the boys the paper. We like to eat paper, think the boys. I give Cooper a green crayon and show him how to color. Charlie starts to whine because he doesn’t have a crayon. I give Charlie a crayon and show him how to color. I give Zach a crayon, and notice that Charlie is trying to steal Cooper’s crayon, but to Charlie’s dismay, Cooper has eaten most of his crayon. Lesson ends abruptly, and there are 3 tantrums and some really green teeth. Total time of actual scribbling on paper: 2 seconds. Total time of actual scribbling on my table: 15 seconds.

Day Two, 7:30 a.m. The paper is ready. I arm each boy with a crayon. Charlie gets really mad because he needs two crayons. So he gets another crayon, but that is simply not enough for Charlie because he REALLY needs Zach’s crayon (guess it looked tastier than his own). He bullies Zach into giving up his crayon. Zach is crying, and Charlie’s lesson ends (with a tantrum of course). Zach is coloring the table. I look at Cooper, who is looking right at me with a crayon hanging out of his mouth. And he smiles because he knows exactly what he is doing. He removes the crayon, and then puts it right back in his mouth. Lesson ends before any more crayons are harmed. Total time of actually scribbling on paper: 10 seconds. Total time of actual scribbling on my table: 45 seconds. Total number of sheets of paper eaten by Zach: one. YES. This is progress.

Day Three, 7:30 a.m. I ask the boys if they want to color, and they run over to the table and point at the crayon basket on the desk. They each get two crayons. Although Charlie appears miffed that his brothers have the same number of crayons as he does, he composes himself and scribbles some scribble on the table. Cooper scribbles and Zach scribbles. Total time of blissful scribbling before crayons go into mouths: 1 minute. SUCCESS!

I can now check “scribbling” off of my developmental checklist.

We’ll work on straight lines and playing Boggle next week.


Sandy said...

Just think, after this success comes markers, finger paint, paste, and modeling clay!!!! lol, Sandy

mommylawyer said...

Jay is also a fan of eating paper. I can't wait until we get to crayons. I need to have your boys over to take some away from him. I worried that he'll be spoiled with all the crayons to himself.

Chatón said...

This is hilarious! I often think that I would flunk life if evaluated by the new standards. Straight lines for 17 month olds, huh?! Just wait until they discover paste--lots of kids like to eat that. I think that case workers exist to make parents feel incompetent. Hang in there. I am sure they'll be overachievers like you and Brian!

D.C. Tigress said...

LOL. This is hilarious. I'm assuming babies outgrow the crayon=food stage, but I'm not holding my breath. That's why Katherine has a magnetic Doodle Board, and we've only got the one. Kudos for wrangling crayons and all 3.

TammyPertina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TammyPetrina said...

OK, I can't even spell my own name.... Oh well, you continue to amaze me by all that you do with these boys. I love your pictures and journal entries. Thank you for keeping us updated