Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Mess-Free Painting

Santa stopped by Grandma's house and left ‘mess-free’ paint pens for the little darlings. Tubes of primary and secondary colors neatly boxed in rainbow order with plastic brush tips conveniently attached and capped on one end. I do not doubt that children in other households have successfully painted with these ‘pens’, creating beautiful works of art that stayed on the paper. My brood, especially the scientific son, cannot be confined to 8 ½ by 11. First it was experiments with Van Gogh, but who can leave orange chunks of paint to dry and crack? Paint has its own siren song and the larger the glop, the louder she sings. More red. More yellow. More blue. Soon all is delicious chocolate brown, mixed with care under the slippery palm of a preschooler.

Mess-free painting. Its like fat-free cheese. It doesn’t live up to one’s expectation. Doesn’t satisfy. I should know by now that when they paint, they will need bathing. So will the floor and table. And the baby, who stood on tip-toe when no one was looking and reached a chubby hand up onto the tabletop like a periscope, patting around until it found the blue tube. No one missed it. So she painted comic blue clown lips on herself that parted in a grin of satisfaction to reveal matching blue teeth.

If I squinted I could image that the ring around the tub was a rainbow. Some kind of promise.

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