“Mooooooooooooommmmmmmmmm, I want to Paaaaaaaaaaaaaint!”
This is the cry of both my daughters, every day. And not a little paint. No watercolor ease here. They want thick, opaque, get it on your skin and SEE it paint.
They want to express themselves in swirls of “What does this and this make?” Orange and green, blue and yellow and red, all swirling into a brown vomit-colored mass.
No easel will contain their need; no sketch pad will place boundaries on their creativity.
What is a mother who fears the clean-up of crafts more than Crafting Hell itself to do?
Enter their “Mimi,” my mother, with half of my solution: a set of Melissa & Doug Jumbo Paint Brushes and a 200-foot roll of white butcher paper. This thing is four feet tall and easily could wrap the entire state of Rhode Island like a Christmas present.
By far one of the greatest presents ever.
The other half of my solution is what we call a Mad Hatter Paint Party.
I cover the entire dining room table with the butcher paper, taping it underneath. Each girl starts at a different end of the table with a paper plate holding three blobs of Crayola Washable Kids’ Paint. They paint as far and wide as their arms span, and when it is colored to their satisfaction, we call, “Change!,” and they move over a chair.
With a family of six, they can move at least three times, and if enough time has passed, sometimes they’ll repaint over originals. When their paint runs out, they can have a new color or the same, but only three are ever on their plate at once. Too many colors means it all turns gray/brown and resembles the aforementioned vomitus mass.
Then we stop, wash hands and take a break. After the paint has had a chance to dry, which usually takes two Peppa Pigs or Sofia the Firsts, we come back and make a study. At that time, the girls decide if their mural needs crayons, glitter, googly eyes, etc., and we add as their whimsy dictates.
While this part is drying, I clean up, vacuum excess glitter and wish I could have a glass of wine.
When it is all dry and done, you have a personally crafted tablecloth! Chic? Hell, no. Awesome and different every time? YES! And it gets you off paint duty for at least three to four days. Plus, if anyone spills on it, you’ll never know. It swirls into the colors.
So, grab some newspaper (or beg your momma to send butcher paper), cover the table, and let your kids go nuts. Stand back and yell, “Go Picasso!,” and watch them paint with the fury of a Mad Hatter at a Tea Party.