March 6, 2012 § 2 Comments
We’ve done a fair bit of painting over the last couple of weeks. It’s something we used to do a LOT of. It tapered off during my last pregnancy and since Messy Baby arrived it’s taken a lot of psyching myself up to get the paints out again – but oh boy is it worth it, for the sheer enjoyment it gives Messy Boy! (And me, if I’m honest!)
First up was regular painting – I had a few small canvases lying around destined for Messy Boy’s bedroom walls which I’d never got around to painting as I couldn’t decide what to do on them. We did sponge painting and finger painting, then he decided hand painting was a good next step and painted both hands and most of the way up his arms in blue. He looked like he was thinking of auditioning to be a Woad. And then we did train painting. Messy Boy liked this idea. He did lots and lots of train tracks in the paint using the train’s wheels, and then ran with the idea, taking it to the next level – and painted the train. He was a bit upset when we said the train would have to go through the chugwash but as that meant he got to wash up it was ok!
I think washing up must be one of the reasons why he loves painting. It’s at this point usually that I dump all the brushes and trays in the sink, move any breakable crockery and sharp pointy things out of the way, add some plastic bowls and wooden spoons and take Messy Baby into the other room to feed him while Messy Boy washes up. I figure he’s going to make a mess whether I’m there or not, and the only real difference is my stress levels! We then get the mop and bucket out once Messy Baby is fed and Messy Boy’s hands are blue with cold because he prefers cold water to wash up in.
And to finish off I get to take photographs of his splashing, and once the floor is mopped he gets to practise jumping off the stool!
A couple of days later we did foot painting! We have a piece of wipe-clean cloth taped to the floor for our big painting sessions, and we tape big pieces of lining paper to it to paint on. We got the paints out and I asked Messy Boy what shapes I should squeeze out with the paint. Then we stripped him down to pants and teeshirt, plonked Messy Baby in his bouncy chair to watch, squirted out a blue cloud and a red and yellow flower and then the real fun began! I held Messy Boy by his armpits as he swung his feet around in the paint. He did bunny hops across the paper. He stomped, stamped, squidged his toes in the paint, saw how when you mix colours they create new ones – his favourite is mixing red and yellow, he loves orange!
I don’t know what it is about getting his feet all covered in paint that he loves. When Messy Boy was a baby, just starting to crawl, we moved house to a place that needed a serious amount of fixing up and as a result he was never allowed to go barefoot either in the house or the garden. When we first bought a sandpit he took a lot of persuasion to wiggle his toes in the sand, because it was a brand new sensory experience. When the garden finally got cleaned up enough for him to go barefoot on the tiles and the grass, they were further sensory experiences for him. He’s not especially keen on mud, though. And seaweed is an absolute no-no. So why he loves the feel of paint is a mystery!
Once we’ve finished our painting and it’s taped to the wall to dry it’s time to clean up. There’s a bowl of water ready, a cloth, and a towel. Messy Boy managed to clean his feet but what I hadn’t realised was that he’d at some point managed to get paint all the way up both his legs… At least by the time we put his trousers back on it was dry! He helped clean the mat up as well (by helped I mean he slopped water all over it as I was trying to wipe up the paint).
The painting bit is the best bit for me, it really is. The preparation, while it can be a bit time consuming and requires concentration to make sure you’ve remembered everything, is utterly necessary though. It means you can enjoy making a mess knowing the cleaning and clearing up afterwards isn’t going to be too stressful!!
Painting is one big sensory experience from start to finish. And it takes up a good portion of an afternoon!