My husband is very artistic. He has so many creative outlets and so little time, that he often muses about someday having a fully equipped studio where he can retreat for days on end. So, when the kids were born, I vowed we would have lots of ways for them to express their creative sides.
One of the main things we do is keep an easel with a blank canvas always ready for their inspired days. I have boxes of paints at the ready. Brushes, paint tubes, a plastic mat, I have everything there, ready, for them to release their creativity.
Even so, most days I am reluctant to get out all the necessary equipment. See, I always know how painting day is going to end. I know there will be slashes of red and blue across little legs. I know fingers will be covered in now indistinguishable shades of acrylic paint. I know that a cup of sludgy water will be spilled or I’ll find footprints leading from the kitchen to the bathroom.
They don’t mean to be messy, I should encourage their messiness, but I’m not good at that. I try not to look too closely while they fling paint around. I look down at my book or writing pad in order to avoid seeing the paint water staining the mat. And when I hear the inevitable, “uh, oh,” I know painting time is over.
I scrub paint off all the splattered surfaces. I send both of them into the bathroom, to wash off their hands, face, toes. I rinse off brushes, the oil cloth tarp, and the water cups. Only when I’ve thoroughly inspected the kids for hidden stains, only then are they allowed to go play in their rooms. And I’m left putting away all the materials until the next time I’m brave enough to unleash their genius.