Doing it her own way

by threegirlpileup

Last week, Anna and I picked up some Prang glitter watercolors off the sale rack at Office Depot, and one morning I left them out (along with paper and water) for the girls to find in the morning.  Anna is a big fan of the “morning project,” loving to start the day with some art.  So, it was no big surprise to come out to the dining room and find her at it with the paints.  But was she daintily dipping her brush in the water, brushing the paint, and then touching it onto the paper?

Of course not.


It turns out that these aren’t such well designed paints.  When you use them like typical watercolors, all the glitter stays in the cake.  What fun is that?  And the paints are actually kind of gooey, so Anna started scooping up blobs of paint she could spread on the paper.

But was I able to just sit back and let her do this?  Not at first.  My first reflex, I’m sorry to say, was, “No, no, you’re destroying the paints!  Can you use your brush?”  I need to work on this.  First of all, I paid exactly $1 for those paints, so it’s not like they’re especially precious.  Secondly, those paints worked terribly as watercolor cakes, and Anna actually found what is probably the only fun way to use them.  I think part of this reaction comes from so many months (well, years really) of intervening between Anna and one sort of destruction or another; I need to re-set myself now that she’s older, and truly that doesn’t happen so often or so fast.  And I think it will always be part of my process to learn to let go of the “shoulds” and this idea that there is a right way to do things.  Lucky for me, I have two little teachers showing  me every day that they are a million right ways, and that the path to wholeness is all about joy and mess, not so much about rules.

And by the way, I threw the paints away.  Not because of what happened that day, but because they NEVER dry.  So those sticky blobs on Anna’s paper remained that way…that is, until they migrated to the floor, and the table, and my cell phone…