23 Sep
When Interpreting Preschool Art, Don’t Be a Pervert

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

What do you do when your 4-year-old daughter brings home her artwork from daycare and it looks like this?

tracedscissors

I didn’t know what to say. I just stared at it for a few minutes, trying to keep my composure and not burst out laughing. ย  After I had control of myself, I asked her about the drawing:

Me: Did you draw this at school today
Daughter: Yes
Me: Where did you see that phrase “No Girls Allowed”ย
Daughter: It’s on a sign in our room
Me: Oh. Ok. Well what about this? What is this thing you drew?
Daughter: Scissors, mommy. I traced them.
Me (in my head): Thank you lord! Scissors, that’s great. Whew!
Me (outloud): Where are the handles?
Daughter: We went to the playground so I didn’t have enough time to trace the inside of the handles.

Oh, the innocence of a child!

Sincerely,
Mind in the Gutter

_________________________________________________________

Dear Mind in the Gutter,

First off, we are sisters of the same mind; mine lives in the gutter too. Let me share with you a picture of a baseball player my son brought home in Kindergarten:

penis

The good news is that my son didn’t draw it. The bad news is that it was on master copy of the book and given to every kindergartener in the class, which means somewhere along the line, before this little learn-to-read book made it into the classroom curriculum, someone drew it in. That’s a lot less innocent than a child tracing scissors.

Evidently I was the first parent to ever notice the penis and point it out to the teacher. You can imagine how that conversation went: Oh hi, sweet, grandmotherly-type kindergarten teacher. Did you happen to notice the PENIS on the back of this book? A defining moment in my life for sure, having to point out a penis to this particular teacher. It was like showing Mother Teresa the centerfold in Playgirl magazine.

It sounds as if you handled the situation perfectly so I have no advice to give you. But perhaps other people can learn from you not to ย  judge a drawing by its penis and to always ask a child about their drawing before jumping to perverted conclusions.

Sincerely,
Heather, TMH

22 Responses to “When Interpreting Preschool Art, Don’t Be a Pervert”

09.23.09#1

Comment by Teresa.

I have found the safest way to NOT insult a child about art work, is not to say “what is it?” that can really hurt their feelings……I always say “Oh how wonderful, tell me about your drawing”.. That way they tell the story and you save everyones feelings!

09.23.09#2

Comment by Teresa.

PS. My mind went to the gutter too! LOL

09.23.09#3

Comment by Ashlie- Mommycosm.

Oh, dear! You handled it better than I would have. I would have giggled like a teenager!

09.23.09#4

Comment by Amber in Albuquerque.

Handled like a master. I never did adress the fact that every person my kid drew once he got past stick figures looked like a penis (a fact which did not go unnoticed by his teachers or special ed counselors, etc.)

…fortunately his drawing got better and the people are more appropriately proportioned these days.

09.23.09#5

Comment by Marinka.

That scissors picture makes me so happy!

On a related note, I don’t understand why kids are being asked to draw all the time. It’s a little ridick. (What? that’s short for “ridiculous”. You like? Also, I have a fever) I don’t hear people asking kids to compose an opera. Why abuse one art form and not another?

09.23.09#6

Comment by phd in yogurtry.

oh I get it. the scissors serve as a warning to girls, “enter and I will CUT you!”

09.23.09#7

Comment by Bethany.

I think this 4-year-old is trying to say that she is 100% heterosexual, she only likes the winky.

Ha ha just kidding. I thought the writer handled the situation very well.

09.23.09#8

Comment by Akilah Sakai.

I thought if it wasn’t a peen, it was giving the finger to whomever tried to enter.

09.23.09#9

Comment by Wendi.

That looks just like the sign that was on the front door of the Sigma Epsilon fraternity house when I was in college. Only she spelled all of the words correctly.

09.23.09#10

Comment by Muirgen.

Marinka, according to my occupational therapist mother, asking kids to draw all the time is about trying to develop fine motor coordination. Helps with handwriting, typing, playing instruments, texting, etc later.

But seriously… I keep wondering what to do with the growing pile of art in my kitchen, and how long I have to wait to put it in the recycling bin.

09.23.09#11

Comment by Darth-O.

I can’t decide whether the drawing is funny because it looks like a penis or funny because it looks like a middle finger. Both options are equally hilarious.

09.23.09#12

Comment by kelly.

this child could have a future in the pornographic comic book industry

ya never know

09.23.09#13

Comment by MommyTime.

My sister came home from school when she was about 8 with a story she’d written about “Bitch, the Sailor.” She wanted to her sailor to be different, she explained to our mother, so she couldn’t name him Butch like all the other sailors. So she just changed Butch a little bit, to make it different but still a sailor name. We still laugh till we cry over that story. And my sister is now 36. Do be sure to keep this picture in the file of “art worth saving” so that you and your daughter can have a great laugh over it later.

09.24.09#14

Comment by mom, again.

My uncle had to draw a picture of his family in school. He was the youngest of 5, his two oldest sisters were married with kids. He drew quite elaboratley detailed pix of his parents, sibs, their spouses, his nephews and neice. But, his drawing of himself was a stick figure. Alarms went off with the teachers, my grandmother was called in for a conference. Whatever could be the matter with the poor boy’s psychic sense of self. Or something like that.

My grandmother asked him why he drew himself so simply? He answered, “I’d been drawing a long time, I was tired.”

Conference cancelled.

09.24.09#15

Comment by Heather.

Yes, I’ve been called in to the principal’s office too and told my son drew a picture with the words “kill” on it, dots like bullets and blood on it. When he was actually asked, he explained the “bullets” were plankton, the “blood” was krill, misspelled “kill” by a then first grader. Child art interpretation is a dangerous business.

09.24.09#16

Comment by Meryl.

What a hoot – I’m as like-minded as you. I tried unsuccessfully to think what it could be, but you were right on target of my first thought. ๐Ÿ™‚ M

09.24.09#17

Comment by mpotter.

i wish i had a copy of the journal entry one of my first grade students wrote. i’d have to scan it in to give you the full effect.
imagine, though, how a 1st grader may form the letter b… it can look like a 6. and how she could form a (backwards) p which can look like a 9.

so what she wrote was: (over the weekend) I went with Dad to 69 and got penus.
what she meant was: I went with Dad to BP and got some peanuts. (complete with less than stellar, perverted picture of a peanut).

oh, man!
sometimes teaching first grade made you laugh till you cried.

09.24.09#18

Comment by kristin.

that first pic is HILARIOUS!

09.27.09#19

Comment by Plano Mom.

This was hilarious. And for Muirgen, you save all the artwork in a basket or box, and at the end of the school year you go through it and let them keep 5 works of art they can’t part with.

Kind of makes my son’s gory monsters art seem tame…

09.30.09#20

Comment by The Mouthy Housewives » Don’t Raise a Bigot: Talking to Your Kids About Race.

[…] would be writing this from The Other Side.) Of course, this is the same kindergarten teacher that I showed penis drawings to and blew off classroom volunteer work for a nooner. I don’t know what keeps her from nominating […]

11.03.10#21

Comment by Preschool Learning.

LOL! I have to say I laughed at that artwork as well.

I think as adults we tend to over think things and look at the worst case senarios–kids do not do that because they really don’t have any bad intentions.

Kids are so funny sometimes even when they aren’t trying to be! ๐Ÿ™‚

11.03.10#22

Comment by Funny Little Kids.

That is very funny–shame on us adults for thinking things when they haven’t been confirmed!

I would for you to add this post on our website http://www.funnylittlekids.com if you like.

It is all about the funny little things kids say and do!

Have a good day!

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