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.