In our house, crafting is very important. We try to craft daily. Of course, there are days when it simply isn’t possible, but when we have time, we make damn sure to fit it in.
Why? It’s important. Making messes is important. Children grow from the messes they make. Messes make up our perfectly imperfect lives.
We do things like coloring with markers and crayons. We stamp. We play with beads. We use pipe cleaners, pom-poms, and Popsicle sticks. But best of all, we paint.
Painting is beautiful, especially with children.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not artist whatsoever. I mean that, too. I am the least artistic person you will ever hear about. My grandmother was an amazing artist, but I, well, I’m a little different. I can whip out a good article once in a while, but can’t draw anything but a stick figure.
Even so, I want my daughter to show her creative side in every way possible.
We strip her down, get one of her little toddler plates out, squirt as many colors out as we have, and let her go at it. She’s not the kind of kid to enjoy paint brushes. She likes to go at it with her hands, making as big of a mess as she can and it’s totally beautiful.
She usually only paints for about twenty minutes and then the clean up starts. It generally takes about twice the time it takes for her to paint, but it’s worth every second to see her smile as she creates the perfect piece.
We start the bath and plop her in as we scrub the paint from her face and hair, careful to get it out from underneath of her fingernails too. Then, when she’s all dried and warm, we move to the kitchen and rip up whatever we laid down to protect our floors. We wash the paint off her dish and get the parts of the floor that fell victim to the paint splatter which missed the protective lay-down.
And then, it’s done. We have a perfect creation done by our daughter.
Sure, it takes time and effort to clean it all up. It’s a pain in the butt, actually. But I wouldn’t change a single second of it.
While she doesn’t quite understand yet, she’s making memories. She’s growing her motor skills. She’s becoming who she will be a long time from now. She’s developing a personality.
Messes make a childhood. Slow down enough to see that, OK?