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!


  1. Humm.....psychology major put to practical use? Sorry, I just had to chuckle over this blog. Love his 'cement'. I'd say you can take pleasure in this being a Heimer trait. Both your dad & I fall into the category you describe yourself as. Glad you are trying to break that pattern. Bring on the art :-).

  2. How about finger paints or tempra paints?? You can squirt out what he wants to use and he can mix away without wrecking the jars!!!

  3. Hi there, you've got a great blog here. It's awesome that you've shared things that you're interested in. Please visit my website when you have the time! Dance Social Network - ByondX