Lydia recently discovered the mysterious joys of the Etch-a-Sketch. She sat in a chair the other day for a good 15 minutes twiddling out a geometric masterpiece of some kind. When she decided it was finished she happily jumped to her feet yelling, “Look Daddy. Look at the picture!” But as she crossed the room to show it to me she tripped two or three times sending the little board tumbling across the floor. So, when she finally handed it to me the image had been completely erased.
I looked down at the flat grey panel, and then back up at my two year old smiling expectantly. “Pretty, huh Daddy?” she asked. I looked back at the blank figure, unsure how to answer the question. Do I show her that it isn’t actually very pretty and then explain how the picture was erased when she fell down? Do I pretend that the image is still there and feign amazement at her artistry? I resorted to the predictable fall back response of pulling her into my arms, telling her how proud I was of her and saying that I thought she was beautiful. But, I’m not entirely sure what the right response was, and I really wonder what she originally spent so much time sketching.