About a month ago, I posted this image to my instagram account with the caption “Currently on his 8th version of drawing Batman and Robin. Keeps getting almost finished when he decides something isn’t quite right.” (if you’re on instagram you can follow me here heather_bird).
First it was Robin’s nose and then the ears that he drew after I asked if Robin had ears. He decided after drawing them that Robin did NOT have ears because he didn’t like they way they looked. Then it was because “Robin has green legs” but he drew them using the black marker. And it continued. I don’t think he ever got his Batman and Robin just right. (he only really cares about getting Robin correct)
Tonight he started trying again. Robin after Robin. Ricky joined in and drew a batman on Benny’s paper which started the whining. Benny realized that Ricky’s batman was better and he wanted Ricky to draw him a Robin but Ricky said, “no.” Finally after hearing the whining and pleading for long enough, I stepped in and said I would draw Robin for Benny. I drew my cute little Robin from memory, asking Benny as I went along, “Does he have ears?” “What about hair?” knowing that if one thing was off, I’d be starting all over. I finished and he was thrilled. He set about coloring him just perfectly and was almost done when he realized he colored Robin’s yellow buckles red. Whining ensued and I walked in to see him scribbling over the entire page.
So, we started again. I drew another Robin and he colored away. The finished product was perfect. We taped Robin on the wall next to his bed and bedtime was a breeze. He was thrilled with his new artwork. I peaked in on him a few times to see him leaning on the side of his bed staring in admiration at his perfect Robin.
And then I heard the call, the whiny “mommmmy!” I assumed Nolan was bothering him and marched up stairs ready to reprimand Nolan only to find Nolan asleep and Benny staring at his picture. “Robin has triangles, mom. Triangles on his eyes.” I told him that we could fix Robin’s eyes in the morning but I know him when it comes to things like this. I knew that he would lie there and stew over the fact that the eyes weren’t correct. “Go get the marker,” I said, “you can fix it.” I watched as he drew triangles at the top of Robin’s mask. “There.” he said after each stroke. In a typical artist fashion he would step back, take a look and continue to fix, “there” he would say again. He continued with more perfect triangles on each of Robin’s eyes. He colored in this corner and that corner, until there were no triangles left and the whole eye mask was black. When he stepped back to take a look his lip started to quiver and tears formed as he cried, “I messed up the whole thing.” I grabbed the marker and attempted to darken his original triangles so they could still be seen, but it did little good.
“Tomorrow,” I said. “We’ll make a new one tomorrow.” Through sobs and tears he pleaded to fix Robin tonight. “Tomorrow,” I stuck to my guns. “I promise I will draw you a Robin with triangle eyes tonight and it will be waiting for you in the morning. You can color him right when you wake up.” He agreed and finally fell asleep.
At work, my boss often reminds us that “perfect is the enemy of good.” This is the principle that if you strive for perfection you’ll never get anywhere. You’ll never have something that is in fact, good, if you are only focused on perfection. This phrase rang loud and clear tonight. I’m not sure how to teach this principle to a four year old, but oh boy we’re gonna have some long years of homework and school projects if we don’t.
I relied on google to verify that Robin does, indeed, have triangle eyes. That, and I had no idea how to draw the triangle eyes he wanted. But, I think I’ve got it. He’ll be thrilled as long as he doesn’t notice Robin’s short legs, weird hands and clown shoes.
As I attempted to draw this Robin multiple times, it donned on me, again, that I had no one to blame for his crazy behavior but myself. “Good enough” I told myself and refrained from drawing him again.
Let’s hope he gets the coloring just right, but if not, I’ll draw him again and I’ll be happy to draw one with more proportioned body next time.