Lately my five-year-old has been drawing profusely after school. Always with a red crayon. As he draws, he shares aloud the “story” that he is creating. No surprise, there’s at least two “blasts” and lots of “pew-pew” shooting sounds mixed with rockets, fireballs, and something called blasters.
By the time the narration ends, his drawing is covered with a swirl of red hiding the layers of events underneath. These action-filled abstracts add excitement to our bulletin boards.
Today as I sifted through the basket holding the drawings—with three children it’s spilling over by day’s end, I was startled by a red outline of a creature with distinct boobs, areola included. I knew my son’s artwork had evolved to the current potato stick people stage, but so far there hadn’t been any detailed anatomy. The one time I had thought a potato person had been “enhanced,” I was quickly informed, “That’s his gun on his belt.” Oh.
But these were clearly boobs. Long, droopy boobs in need of a serious breast augmentation. The only boobs he seems to focus on are his Mom’s so this wild-eyed monster creature with hanging boobs is meant to be me. And here I thought mine were well, still relatively perky.
Motherhood has its share of indignities but this just sucks.
What a vision too. I commanded the entire vertical sheet. My feet stood on the paper’s edge and my swirly hair graced the other. My body was one enormous vertical square from which the boobs slung over like straps off a saddle. My arms (drawn as thin lines, but what does that matter now) were raised from my sides, topped with circles depicting my hands and jutting out stick fingers. I appear to be wearing pants and heavy boots or shoes.
All femininity shot to hell. To my son, I am Hulk Mom.
At least at my side is an adorable cat, or what appears to be one. The cat’s smiling, whereas I have a serious straight mouth. I look angry. My mind darts to all of the recent battles of wills and scoldings and challenges. Obviously it’s been too much for my poor little boy: this monster mother overpowering the page must mean he is overwhelmed by me.
I feel William’s warm cheek as he peeks over my shoulder and then catches my eye, happy to find me admiring his artwork so intently.
“See Mommy? It’s Mario!”
“Mario? Mario, the character from Nintendo?”
“Yeah!” he beams back.
“But what are … What is this?” I carefully inquire, pointing gingerly toward the areola of one boob.
“Those are his BUTTONS!” William cheerfully hollers before scampering off to draw some more.
So much for art therapy. My femininity—and perky boobs—are reclaimed. For now.