When to Say “Yes”

While Silas handles sand at the beach just fine, he does come to me regularly, hands outstretched while telling me, “My hands are dirty.”  That translates to, “My hands are dirty and I really want you to help me get them clean because I don’t like this feeling.”

I don’t like to be barefoot in my kitchen because the floor is rarely perfectly clean and the feeling of grit under my feet makes me crazy.

But Beatrix, Beatrix doesn’t notice sand, grit, or messy hands.  She almost seems to seek those things out.  Activities that begin in a neat and orderly fashion end with Beatrix covered head to toe in whatever she found available.  I do my best to nurture this side of her because it is such a big part of what makes her, “Beatrix.”  But lately, I have not been up for any extra messes and I have been forced to say, “No” far more than I would like to.

On one recent day I just couldn’t do it though.  I knew it was time to say, “Yes.”  We needed something simple and something she could really dig her hands into.  We needed fingerpaint.  I pulled out The Artful Parent for a recipe.  (1 cup cornstarch plus 3 cups water.  Whisk until smooth and then heat on the stove until it thickens.  Remove from heat.  Add coloring of choice once it cools.  Ours turned out lumpy but I think that’s because I added the cornstarch to boiling water.)

Beatrix remained at the table squishing that paint between her fingers long after Larkspur lost interest.  It was just what she needed.  And honestly, clean up wasn’t a big deal.  Fingerpaint is actually pretty great stuff.  I’d forgotten that.


  1. Sounds like my oldest. She loves playing with mud and finger paint and all kinds of other very sensory things.
    And I don’t like to go barefoot inside the kitchen either 🙂

  2. Ginny,
    What fun! I enjoyed these pictures.

    I was wondering- how did your friend’s surgery go?


  3. I think I need to make some finger paint soon x x

  4. I love this so much. You know Beatrix warms my heart, makes me laugh and smile. I have a boy like her and it’s so funny to see a feminine interpretation of this wonderful personality.

  5. That looks like a lot of sensory fun! I have a very messy little one who needs tactile sensory experiences often too. Maybe this week we’ll try finger paints.

  6. I have one who was and still is (at age 21) very tactile. Play-doh was like pure heaven for him. Another washed almost compulsively — couldn’t stand anything dirty on his hands. It’s funny how kids in one family can be so, so different.

  7. You could be describing my Lola. My other children have issues with things like this which i think is more of an issue than Beatrix and Lola’s love for all things messy!

  8. And that is what makes you a great mother!

  9. That third picture down needs to be published. I love it. The girls look like twins! Oh finger painting is a brave indoor activity.

  10. Looks like fun! I thought the thickness of it made it look better actually, like it was some new gel finger painting recipe!

  11. I have a boy who has never handled squishy very well, always cleaning his hands as a child. He’s gotten a bit better as he has gotten bigger, but still has me put the worm on his fishing pole. To some degree, I hope he never grows out of it. Just think of all the fabulous pictures of Beatrix you can show to a prospective mate down the road! Or whatever boy might be irritating you beyond belief 🙂

  12. You can tell she is really having fun! The girls’ aprons are ADORABLE! What a great idea! 🙂

  13. I’ve been wanting to try that recipe. I’m glad to see they work so well!

  14. My husband sat down to dinner the other night and said, “What happened to the floor?” because it was actually clean for once!

  15. I just want to tell you that my favorite of your pictures are the ones with your girls creating and the little one with her creations from head to toes. They are just so joyful, looks like she really lives life. There is actually a word for kiddos like her, sensory seeking, they are really looking for experiences. But man, are those experiences exhausting for mommies. Just wanted you to know that your pictures and willingness to endure the messes bring smiles and hope to other moms.

  16. My Silas is a lot like that too! I always have slippers or flip flops on for the same reason as you too.
    Poppy and Beatrix must also be kindred.
    Will have to try this recipe…perhaps when home with the new baby and some extra hands on deck next week!
    When are you due?

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