I was beyond thrilled to get this book by my favorite blogger, Amanda Soule, this week. She has inspired me many times, and this lovely book is no exception. At Ms. Soule’s suggestion, I sat down with my 2 7/12 year old daughter to do some painting. Here is a transcript of yesterday, our first formal attempt at family creativity.
Me: Hey, you wanna do some painting?
V: Painting! Yay! Yes! Let’s paint!
Me: (glowing at her enthusiasm) Okay then! Let’s put down some newspaper, and lay out some wooden dolls and a couple of blank wooden boxes, and some small plates for pallets, and some brushes, and a damp cloth to wipe our fingers, and turn on the lights, and set out all 30 bottles of paint.
V: (rocking back and forth in her chair excitedly) Yay! Painting!
Me: I know! Cool, huh. So, what do you want to paint first?
V: This one! (she selects the biggest wooden doll form, which is okay, but it’s, erm…the most expensive, and one of only 2 that I ordered special from the internet)
Me: (Remembering Amanda’s chapter on “Using the good stuff”) Cool! What color do you want to start with?
V: Blue! Yay, painting!
Me: Right! Blue! (Pouring a quarter size dollop of blue metallic acrylic onto the aforementioned plastic plate) There you go!
V: (giggling as she blobs blue paint on the head of the Expensive, One of Only Two doll figure)
Me: Um, hey, do you wanna spread that around at all? It’ll dry faster.
V: (ignores Mama completely. Continues blobbing)
Meanwhile, I’m carefully painting 6 other figures, and trying to use up some of the metallic blue paint before she puts all of it on this poor doll figurine.
Me: You can paint that box, too, babe. I thought maybe our dolls could use those boxes as little houses.
V: (Smacking her paintbrush absent-mindedly inside the wooden box) I made a butterfly!
Me: Wow, that does kinda look like a butterfly.
V: I’m done now. I want some cheese.
Me: What? We’ve only used one color. And it’s only been 4 minutes since we started. What do you mean you’re done?
V: (louder) Cheese, please.
Me: But you painted that cool butterfly…
V: (much louder): CHEESE!
Me: If I give you cheese, will you paint some more?
Despite this, erm, mediocre beginning, I feel good to be trying new things and letting go of my ideas of right/pretty/good a little bit. In fact, we painted again today, this time for about 7 minutes. If we keep this up, by May we’ll hit 40 minutes easy! As to the book, I am only halfway through it, but it’s already been worth the price: we’ve never had a weekend with so little TV. In a few months, I hope V’ll be up for embroidery, too: that’s one of my favorite sections so far, and includes, for those over 3, some burlap in an embroidery hoop, a blunt needle, and some thick floss in 5 inch stitches. Sort of a “no rules” approach that I would’ve loved as a kid. In the meantime, I gotta work on making her some sewing cards. Plus, sewing is a lot less messy than metallic blue paint.