It’s A Jungle Out There

I bought El, my elder son who is turning 3, a book where you can join the dots according to the numbers. It was a cheap book and I got it from a supermarket on my way home one day.

Bumble Bee collecting pollen

Bumble Bee

He was joining some numbers, and asked me what the picture was. I told him that it was a bumblebee. He thought for a while and said, “I think it is a honeybee, not a bumblebee.” Hence I went to google, and golly, he’s right. Honeybees are slender, with uniform black and yellow stripes, and bumblebees are more pudgy and hairier. See this website about honeybee vs bumblebee.

After that, he traced a creature that had spots, and again he asked me what it was. Maybe it’s a snake. No, it should be a salamander, he said. I didn’t even know how salamanders look like, except that they have four legs. His lines were haphazard so it was hard to tell from the picture whether the reptile had legs. However, there were big spots on the animal. Google showed me a salamander with a black body and yellow spots, just like that drawing.

Spotted Salamander on Leaf

Spotted salamader, photo by Tom Tyning.

Looks like I need to read up more on his favourite topics. I guess I better find out what a newt looks like. It took me some time before I discovered how to tell leopard, cheetah, jaguar, cougar, puma, mountain lion, and panther apart. Jaguars are mainly from central and south America, and they are more muscular compared to leopards. Cougar, puma, mountain lion and mountain cat are the same animal, just that they are known differently in different regions. These words come from Spanish, Portuguese, and Quechua among others.

Cheetah is the fastest animal. Its body is quite different. Leopards have rosette shaped markings, a ring with black inside, while cheetahs have solid spots. Leopards can be found in Africa and Asia. Panthers? They are either black jaguars or black leopards.

I’m having a wild guess that Germans really love these animals, to the extent that they name cars, army tanks, and sportswear after these creatures.

Drawing Faces

El is still young, so his drawings are still somewhat crude. In fact, he doesn’t draw much, but instead loves to write. His handwriting is slowly improving, but that is another matter.

We bought markers that could write on glass. He had been writing words and names on our glass windows in the living room. I had drawn an alligator before. Now, I’m not a very good artist, but I can copy simple drawings.

One day, I decided to show him how to draw a spider. I drew an oval, added eyes and a mouth, and then added eight legs. He was pretty amused by it, and drew his own little spider. I thought it looked pretty cute and it had that bug-eyed innocence, a little like a character from Monster, Inc.

Blue Spider drawn by El

Blue spider drawn on the glass window

His preschool had an art exhibition where they raised funds for charity. The school did up the place very nicely, and invited the parents to the place at night. Some of the works were amazing, and I could not believe that 2 to 6 year old children could produce such high quality works. The teachers must have worked very hard on these.

His teacher told me about how he had drawn the pictures, and she had helped him with the outline. He came up with the title of the artwork himself.

My World

Artwork by El, aged 2 plus going on 3.


I missed his artwork, and it was one of the first place I had started. I went through the entire exhibition before my husband finally located it. The two faces were just like the spider’s face I had drawn, and the eyes mirrored my spider and his spider’s eyes. The title of the art piece was something he had been singing – Save My World. I was totally surprised that the teachers could get this artwork out of a little boy who drew nothing much, and could not even hold his pens properly.

When I asked him about his drawing, he told me that both were happy faces.

Of course, parents were supposed to bid for the artwork, with the proceeds going to Very Special Arts, a charity for promoting art for people with disabilities. One painting with Chinese calligraphy was going for over $300 at that point, and it was a fierce fight. I saw my friend’s child’s artwork being outbid, and promptly told her.

For El’s artwork, I was pleasantly surprised to see the principal of his school place a bid of $100 for it. We had not planned on bidding much, but seeing that figure, from a starting bid of $25 by his school, we decided to bid $150.

Did we win the bid?

Stay tuned to find out. Actually, I really have no idea because he has been sick and had not gone back to school to get the results of the bidding.

Update- We won the bid! It has been on our display shelf ever since.
He had also requested for art lessons, and now takes art lessons regularly.

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