Stacy had to act fast to capture this doodle of a face on Nora's magnetic tablet.
Stacy had to act fast to capture this doodle of a face on Nora's magnetic tablet.

"Mama, I drawed a dress," I heard Nora say as I tidied the living room one day last week.


"That's great, sweetie!" I murmured as I tossed some old newspapers in the recycling bin. I glanced toward her easel, where she stood with a purple crayon in hand, and stopped in my tracks.


The scribble my 3-year-old was pointing to actually resembled a dress!


Previously, her preferred drawing style always tended toward the abstract. Dark, heavy scribbles figured prominently, though sometimes she'd go through a straight-line phase or a dots phase (pointillism?). More recently, she's been trying to draw letters, with some success every now and then. But she wasn't really into drawing identifiable stuff. She'd ask us to draw a horse, or Dora the Explorer, or a house for her, but she didn't seem terribly interested in trying for realism herself.


But about a month ago I noticed she was drawing simple faces on her magnetic doodle board. She erased them almost as quickly as she created them, but I managed to snap a picture of my favorite one (see photo above).


And now, there's this dress on her easel, a bit scribbly, but definitely identifiable as a dress. It's a purple great leap forward in terms of her ability to translate what she sees in the world to a form that other people can see and understand. Whoa.


Parenting a 3-year-old can be a real pain in the butt sometimes, but being around to witness stuff like this is just amazing. There's nothing like a toddler to remind you what a marvel the human brain is.


And nothing like a toddler to bring you right back down to earth. We ran a few errands after this drawing session, and while I was having a pleasant conversation with a receptionist at the optometrist, Nora slipped a surprise gift into my hand. It was a giant booger -- perhaps a foray into sculptural art?