Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Help! There's Paint In My Tea!

School is out at Bags End. For the under-five crowd, this means absolutely nothing. We are still doing the same things every day. We follow a rotation of Legos, Lincoln Logs, Mega Blocks, Coloring books, Playdoh, Netflix, the Almighty Snack, etc. And some days, when Mommy is extra brave, we pull out the watercolors.

Painting days are not for the faint of heart. Okay, let me rephrase that. Painting is actually very good for faint hearts. It is not very good for people who already have enough messes to clean up. Why do I do this to myself?

Okay, I’ll tell you why. I have had a lot of time to think about this. I can think and clean messes at the same time. So yeah, a lot of time. Huzzah for multi-tasking, of sorts. That’s about as good as it gets for me. The “why” is this. Children need outlets for creativity. They need a wide canvas (not the walls!) and a vast assortment of color. They need freedom. They need Mommy to back off and not fuss about the globs and glitter and new tabletop hues.

This is difficult for me. Washable paint makes things easier. Half a roll of paper towels makes things easier. “They are biodegradable; easily broken down,” I tell myself to feel better about the waste. (Let me have this one!) But the endless wiping, dabbing, drying, the changing out the water half a dozen times in half a dozen minutes, removing and replacing paint bottle lids, finding a clear surface for the thirteenth masterpiece, these things drive me to my drink, which is tea. All hail the amber tonic that keeps me sane for a full quarter of an hour- if the mug is large enough!

All hail and glory be! Until…

It was inevitable, really. If two different types of liquids happen to be in the same environment, they might mix. That fated moment I set down the cup to do another favor in the cap-removing department… Plop!

Help! There is paint in my tea! Paradise lost. I was only a few sips in, but down the drain it had to go, because my life does not have enough drama. No time to mourn, I must rescue a pair of brown eyes from overflowing in despair at the transformation of his arms to the color of the deep blue sea. Off to the bathroom sink we march, almost ceremoniously, to lather up the offenders and return their natural shade. And of course, he will prance most merrily back to his seat to begin it all over again.

Why do I do this? Um, I don’t know. Maybe because every three minutes a tiny voice from cloud nine calls out sweetly, “I love you Mommy.” Because that’s what kids do when they’re happy. It really is one of the greatest sounds on earth. It makes all the messes worthwhile.

So I lost a cup of tea. It’s fine. I’m fine. I am capable of handling the mess that comes my way. I’ve seen much worse, and I’m still here. And in good time, I can always make another cuppa. Right after I press “publish” in fact. Join me in solidarity?


  1. I need to art journal and paint with my kids again. We used to whenever JoJo napped, but now....he doesn't really nap. But I shouldn't let anything stop us. I loved this post, btw. I can just see your bug-eyed expression when your tea became a mixed drink ;)

  2. Ahaha! Bug-eyed. :D Yeah, go paint with your kids. Artful expression is a bare necessity. One good thing about no naps is you don't have to plan around them anymore. Cameron pretends he wants a nap but it's really more like "I want Mommy's full attention." ;)


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