Ever since she was teeny weeny, Ava has just loved arts and crafts of all varieties. It's in her genes – there are artistic people on both sides of her family, and her Daddy and Grandad Mike in particular have spent lots of time with her and her infinite collection of crayons.
Like many parents of two-year-olds who love expressing themselves, we've had a few wall incidents. I can see her logic actually: because we haven't got round to picking colours since we refurbished, almost every wall in this house is white – it's like one big blank canvas really.
Anyway, a week or so ago, I caught her behind the living room door, 'creating' with a yellow pen. As I wiped it from the wall, she characteristically 'fessed up' and pointed out two other masterpieces behind her toy kitchen.
So we had the conversation (again) about how we must not draw on the walls, or the carpet, or the fireplace. With hindsight, I should have been clearer. What I needed to do was take the blanket approach.
When, a few days later, the three of us were in the living room, the girls disappeared behind the big sofa into their play area. I couldn't see them, but I could hear them giggling and squeaking.
It didn't sound like anyone was sitting on anyone else, or sticking their fingers in the other one's eye. I figured they were probably tickling each other's feet. But that game usually only lasts a minute or two, at which point someone usually gets kicked and it ends in quivering lips and soggy cheeks. The contentedness was going on far too long. I was suspicious.
"What are you doing?"
Ruby squealed and giggled and Ava said: "I'm drawing Ruby!"
Oh, I thought, how sweet!
But the cogs needed oiling. It took me a good couple of minutes to remember Ava's habit of omitting prepositions from sentences. For example, she'll say "I'm going garden" or "I'm going Daddy." She's really not very keen on using 'in', 'with'... and 'on'.
Now anyone who knows her will tell you, Ruby is a bright little thing – even without her turquoise eyes and sweet pink cheeks, she would still practically exude colour. But I had never seen her look quite THAT vibrant before.
She did not, it appeared, mind one bit being made up with (thankfully) washable Crayola pens. Her nose and one cheek were scarlet. Her lips and chin were green, as was her entire right leg. Her left leg was pink, yellow, blue and orange.
Yes. Ruby was indeed a rainbow. And she was beaming about it.
So followed the conversation that should have happened in the first place, that you don't draw on ANYTHING (including your little sister, and your own feet) except paper.
The result was a bit remarkable. Given the right medium (one extremely large piece of paper), Ava sat down and, in the space of three or four minutes, drew her own interpretation (I think) of 'Madonna and Child'. I whipped it away (I know, meanie mummy) before she overcooked it.
This masterpiece means one of two things: either she is an artistic genius (I know I said before she might be a future MasterChef champ, scrub that), or she is religious and she hasn't told me yet.
Will we be looking up the number for Central St Martins or the local convent? Only time will tell.
Ava's picture in its full beauty (see below)