Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Negotiator

Z drew her very first picture of a person the other day:

A family, actually. With eyes and noses and mouths and eyebrows (!!!). With legs and feet. And hands with fingers. (Sure the hands look a bit like dead spiders. But, c'mon! She's 3 1/2! I can't even draw hands!)

The ink was barely dry on paper when we clashed over the work of art. The Curator (Mommy) wanted the portrait to hang in perpetuity in the family gallery (dining room). Meanwhile the Artist wanted to give the piece to her best friend as a birthday present.

"I'll draw you another one tomorrow," the Artist finally declared, exasperated by my pleas, threats and bribes. Having "mastered" the art of figure drawing in one attempt, she could whip out dozens of them if needed. She wouldn't budge.

So the Curator called in the big guns: The Negotiator. A.K.A. the 3-month-old sitting on her lap.

Negotiator (voiced by Mommy): I really like your picture. 
   Artist: Thank you. It's for my friend.
Negotiator: I can't draw yet, but someday, I want you to teach me how.
   Artist: Sure I will!
Negotiator: But you know what would be really cool? If you let ME keep this picture so I can have the very first picture of a person you ever drew. Then I can use your picture (pointing her fist at the artist for emphasis) as a model for MY picture (pointing at herself).
   Artist (laughing): But—
Negotiator: No, wait! I really want to keep your picture, because then when I am old enough to draw MY first picture of a family, they can hang MY picture next to yours.
   Artist (laughing): But it's for—
Negotiator: No, don't answer yet!
   Artist (laughing): But—
Negotiator: Just sleep on it. Do you know what that means?
   Artist (uncertain): Yeah.
Negotiator: It means don't answer me tonight. Just tell me in the morning.
   Artist (exasperated again): OK, you can HAVE the picture. It's for you and Mommy and Daddy. And then I will help you draw your picture and we can keep them both. Mommy (looking at the curator earnestly), I'm going to let you, Daddy and E keep the picture. I'll draw another one for my friend tomorrow. 
Curator: Yay! That makes me happy, too! You are SO generous.

So now I'm on the hook if this thing ever gets lost, stolen, spilled on, torn, or otherwise f-ed up. And don't tell the Artists' Rights Society about any of this, or I'll get the Negotiator after you!