The kids went to an art class at the Multnomah Arts Center today — their second of four. The class is titled Little Picassos, and is billed as an exploratory class for children 4-6.
This class was not their idea. It was most definitely my idea. Maybe, my thinking went, the kids will feel differently about painting and drawing and such if they’re just exposed to it in a different context. Maybe their current disinterest is because I just don’t know how to do art with kids. Maybe it’s me. That small and ambiguously hope-like thought prompted me to sign them up for their first ever class.
On their first day they came out with collages saying they’d had fun, which I thought a promising sign, although their attention switched very quickly to the question of whether a snack would be forthcoming. Offers to repeat the collage experience at home were met with the usual disinterest. This morning over breakfast I mentioned that they’d have another art class today.
“I don’t want to go!” said Ryan immediately.
“If Ryan doesn’t go, I don’t want to go,” said Nathan.
I explained that I’d like them to go again, since sometimes one has to try something a few times before knowing whether one really likes it. They seemed unconvinced, but they didn’t really argue, even when I dropped them off at the classroom again. One of my friends has a five-year-old who insists every time that she doesn’t want to go to gymnastics or kindergarten or whatever activity is in the offing, but then always comes out of it happy. Maybe that’s all this is, and I haven’t seen much of it simply because we haven’t done many structured activities. How they feel at the end is more important than how they feel in anticipation, right?
“So how was it?” I asked Nathan after the door opened at the end of class and he careened up against me.
“Good!” he said.
“Great! What did you do?”
“Painting. I don’t want to go back.”
“Me neither,” said Ryan, pressing in from my other side, one elbow smeared red.
Maybe it isn’t me.