Sometimes, it gets old doing the same old things.
Sometimes, there's a little guy who's very sensitive to sensory things and doesn't want to do even ordinary things.
Sometimes, that bugs me.
When I taught first grade, there was at least one kid in each class who just didn't like to get messy. Usually a boy, he didn't like putting his hand in shaving cream or getting near paint or even spelling in Jell-O powder.
My son is going to be that boy.
And while that really is not a big deal, there's a tiny part of me that wants him to know the joy of a good shaving cream fight or to paint a glorious picture and not stress about the mess.
Maybe it's the slob in me.
Regardless, for the past few years I've been on a quest to find projects that will gently stretch his limits in the hopes of pushing him WAAYYY past them one day.
Today was a good day.
We've finger painted, painted on paper, on eggs, on cardboard, on banners. We've painted with Q-tips, with fingers, with carrots and apples. Even trucks. Today we painted with plain old toddler brushers, but today he got into it.
I let him paint the door.
I haven't tried that in a while.
We used water-based washable tempera paint from Hobby Lobby in his two favorite colors, and I mixed in a few drops of dish soap to make the clean up easier. I spread several layers of newspaper on the floor and then called him over.
His first comment was about the smell of the paint, but his eyes lit up when he saw the door. At first he sat down to paint, but soon he stood up to make a bigger picture, and twice he asked for more paint.
He started small, scrubbing his brush around, but his tiny movements soon became grandiose gestures, pushing the paint all over the door.
After layering paint upon paint for several minutes, he got very excited. "I'm making lines, Mommy!" he said. I love when he describes his art. It's even better when he makes something besides his favorites - tornadoes and giant spiders.
He loved his masterpiece and insisted on showing pictures to Daddy and his sister. I washed the door long before they got home, which was surprisingly easy to do - though certainly the messiest part of this project.
This paint dries very, very fast, so when you're ready to clean up, be sure to have newspapers still on the floor underneath. Spray heavily with Windex and wipe with a newspaper. It will "melt" and run. Keep spraying and wiping, and in just a few minutes, you'll be ready for a final go-over with a paper towel.
There's something exciting about having a large canvas on which to work, but being able to watch the rain fall outdoors made this one even more fun. Because this paint dries somewhat translucent, it would be especially fun to create "stained glass" windows with older children. Maybe the next time we'll try to paint shapes on the door.
But for today, the simple joy of painting is enough.