I tried playdoh. A nice quiet activity, I thought, one which would involve sitting and peacefulness. I offered him the ball. He was delighted. He grabbed it and threw it across the room.”Catch it, mummy”. Right. Well, that’s not really what I had in mind. I retrieved the ball. I showed him how to roll the dough, and cut out a few teddy bears. The second any bear was fully formed, he ripped their heads off. Every. Time.
Next we decided we were going to make noodles. I pushed the playdoh through the tiny holes, he was mesmerised. For 1 second. Then his little fingers whipped up to the noodles and smooshed them all together as he grabbed them, to pull them out the end. An accident, surely. I helped him separate the bruised pieces, showing him we could spread them on the table and still enjoy their round fullness. Bang. That hand again, smashing down on them so there were no recognisable strands. “Punch it!” he declared with glee. Next he grabbed every bit of playdoh he could find and ripped them all into the tiniest bits, like one would a piece of paper from an insurance company, telling you your claim had been rejected on a technicality, or some other information that had ruined your life. His ripping reached a maniacal state; playdoh was flying through the air like sleet in a hurricane. I was a little afraid.
He has an ABC application that he is allowed to play on my phone. He recognised the letters among the playdoh cutters and started singing his song whilst piling as many as he could find on top of each other on to the lump of dough. He surveyed his creation. The closest we’ve ever been to making anything. He was pleased. He picked it up and started carrying it over to me. Letters were dropping off at an unsurprising rate, as he walked. Unsurprising, that is, to anyone that understands gravity. He does not. Each step was causing him greater angst. At the last moment on his journey to show me his work, he veered off and smashed it all into the wonderfully more receptive fibres of the couch. Marvelous. Creative genius at work. I should feel honoured to be witness to his gift. I’ll let you guess whether I did.
Needless to say, he loves to play with his playdoh and usually asks at least once a day. Equally needless to say, I am somewhat more hesitant to acquiesce his request.