Tuesday, September 6, 2011

All that in a watercolor box

All that in a watercolor box

Today I totally lost my cool....
... over a box of watercolors.
We were going to make a card (which kind of needs to be mailed by tomorrow).
Jaden wanted to paint it with watercolors.
But there was this box on the table - one he decided needed to be a "house".
So he started painting that instead.

Soon I looked over and the colors were all mixing together.
He just wanted to make black water, was the reply.

Now I know it is just a box of watercolors.

Of course there is artistic value in learning about color mixing.
Of course it is just a box of cheap paints.
Of course I do not want to be angry with my son about something so silly.
Of course I do not want to deter him from painting when it is clear he loves to.


Was it about prudent use of materials?
Was it about messiness?
Was it because I wanted him to finish the card and he was focused on the box?

Here we go....
I was the kid that kept my crayons neatly in the box with their wrappers so you could always read the color.
I sharpened them carefully and would frequently reorganize them in the small boxes within the large cases so similar colors were together.
I didn't like using watercolors because there was no way to keep the yellow and orange pure without getting a new glass of water for dipping every few minutes.
I barely remember ever painting with paint yet I KNOW I never did anything like combine red and white to make pink. If I painted with pink it was because there was pink paint offered.
I was the one that enjoyed "completing" something within a given framework not just starting from scratch. Ask me to draw a bird - ok I'd work on it. Give me a blank piece of paper and tell me to draw something - it'd take me forever to have an idea.

This artistic incompetence qualifies as an area of which I DON'T want to pass my hang ups on to my kid.
Today I failed.
I flipped about the color mixing and messiness of the watercolor box.

He was seriously upset.
The tears were real, not just in protest.
He just had a great plan in mind.
He needed the "beautiful black water" to complete his house (it was the cement).
He just wanted to do something "really FUN," he said.

Was this REALLY a battle worth fighting?
Did I really need to win a clean watercolor tray and risk the cost of inhibiting my son's imagination, creativity, and joy?

So, I apologized and let him do what he wanted.

After all, who am I to squash the vision of this creative boy at the great age of 3?

And you know what...the watercolor tray isn't THAT bad.
There's only enough paint in it for about one more go anyway.
And my son brought his "beautiful black water" over for me to see with an unbelievable look of pride on his face.

Crazy that a watercolor box can make you evaluate
Your self
Your values
Your past
Your parenting
Your decision making

Whew, glad that one's over. Maybe we'll skip art tomorrow! My brain needs a break!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bertie the Bus

We received this GREAT magazine second-hand from a friend. http://www.redan.com/ThomasandFriends.htm. It has lots of great activities for learning letters and numbers. Some activities are a little harder than Jaden can really do on his own at 3 but, because it is Thomas, he is SUPER interested. I talked him through several of the pages and I was really impressed with all that he COULD do!

The magazine also comes with activities and crafts that you can make. And, the second my little guy saw the idea for making a Bertie the Bus he COULD NOT get it out of his head. This morning, while waiting for the cousins to arrive for the weekend, I could tell he was impatient. I asked him to think of 2 things that he would REALLY LOVE to do today while we waited and we could pick one of them. He could only think of one.....MAKE BERTIE THE BUS!!!!!

So, I scrounged my stash for an appropriate sized box and got out the red paint.
I thought he was going to get tired before painting the whole thing but he did a great job of sticking with it. I guess because it was Bertie!!! We made a few modifications and ended up, not with a piggy/Bertie bank like the magazine suggested - but with a Bertie whose door can open and close to put Little People in!
He's been driving it all over the house since the second I deemed it dry enough!
What a fun craft! (even if I was hesitant at first). Sometimes I just have to get over the "mess" and "work" and just have FUN!!!!

There's just something special

about a little girl
in pigtails
for the very first time