Tricks of the Trade – Painting While Parenting

While the hubs was away this weekend I made a small to-do list for myself. It included painting our main stairway walls and ceiling. Actually one wall and the ceiling as I only had small amount left in the gallon from a previous painting jaunt.

Tapestry Beige! Doesn’t that sound thrilling? It was the color of most of our walls when we bought the place. It is basically Builder’s Beige with a kick but it had that snazzy title on the color swatch card and was the closest match to what was already on the walls. The walls that have seen better days and had quite a few hand marks on them.

The boy is still reluctant to nap at home (sleeps like a champ at school) and I dared to think he could assist me in my home improvement task. Learning an actual skill always trumps sitting in front of the iPad any day, so I figured I would give him a shot as my assistant. As he played in the family room I got out two tarps, a paint tray, paint roller with extension arm, wet wipes for spills, and one of the boy’s small paint brushes.

The tarps went on the floor and up the stairs. I poured most of paint into the tray, blue taped off the trim, and called the boy. He was excited at the idea of helping out and so I laid out the rules. They were simple:

  • He had to paint the “base coat” on the lower half of the wall with the small brush
  • I was the only one who could use the roller until we got the the top of the stairs
  • His paint was what was left in the can while mine was in the tray
  • He could paint above and on the blue tape; but not below it
  • I had to remember that he is only 3 1/2 and paint might get spilled

Up the stairs we went. He stayed on the tarp, above the blue tape and on task the entire time. When I needed to move the tarp or get more paint I gave instructions to him one step at a time which kept confusion to a minimum.

Once we made it to the top of the stairs and were on the flat landing I let him finish the job with the paint roller. He was proud to have helped out with such a “big kid” job and notes how nice the wall looks each time he walks down the stairs. Maybe this will keep him from writing on the walls.


A shot of the finished wall

Maybe this will make him enjoy doing other decorating projects. Maybe I need to look at my list of rules again and remember the boy is just a kid.

Have you successfully involved your kids in any household improvements or decorating?




I Was Pinterest Pressured Into Making This Thing!

Busybook Damn you Pinterest! After stumbling across a “busy book” page on Pinterest I felt you-aren’t-a-good-mom-unless-you-make-one-of-these bullied into doing this book. Busy books are books that contain activities for toddlers and kids that will keep them occupied and quiet for a few glorious moments; and are good for traveling as everything can be contained in one small space. I didn’t sew any of the things in there like some of the books you will see here; and the lacing cards and Sesame Street counting cards were already at the house. Nonetheless the kid freaked out when he saw it and can’t wait to play with the things inside. Even the items he already owned.

  • 516 pack smiley face stickers and letter tracing cards are in the dollar section at this store
  • Sesame Street activity cards are available here
  • Melissa & Doug lacing cards are here
  • Blank face printable is free here

All items are contained in plastic sheet protectors or 3-ring hole plastic pencil cases that I loaded into a 3-ring binder. Mother of the year!!!!

Aaron's pink water bottle

The Pink Water Bottle

Aaron's pink water bottle

While at the Columbia outlet store our son spied a bright pink water bottle. “Mommy I want that.” I picked up the bottle, eyed the price, and told him he could have it. The cashier eyed our exchange and asked, “Are you sure you want that one? We have blue ones too.” Knowing full well what type of societal norms were behind her statement I asked Aaron, “You like pink right?” He responded happily, “Yes!” I placed the water bottle on the counter. The girl looked a bit taken aback; but proceeded to ring up my items.

Why do people do this? Why do people have a problem with my son liking pink? Ask him what his favorite colors are and he will say pink and purple. Those are great colors so why is there a problem when he finds something that he likes that is in that color? Ohh yes –  because he is a boy. So this also means that my love of the color blue is shameful too right?

If you have an issue with boys who like yellow and pink and purple keep it to yourself. If you have a problem with our son loving the Tinkerbell movie, keep it to yourself. If you don’t understand why we would allow our son to have a play stove and kid sized cooking supplies… guessed it, keep it to yourself.

Our family is not one for traditional gender roles, societal stereotypes, or anything else for that matter that puts any of us in pre-designed boxes. Women aren’t physically capable of being faster than men- I proved that wrong with my ergometer times in college when I was on crew. There are no black pilots – Really? Because I think my husband is one.

That kid can like whatever he wants to, as long as it isn’t crack or any other addictive drug. He can dress however he wants to; although I refuse to let him wear his already worn/filthy Superman t-shirt no matter how much he cries for it. And he can sing whatever he wants to. Is he humming that song from Frozen again? He marches to the beat of his own drummer. He is a little bit of me, a little bit of his father, and all Aaron. His towering Lego creations, sick dance moves, and tasty kitchen creations make him who he is.  Instead of trying to make him conform to some antiquated rules, I let him explore and celebrate all of life. He is only three years old you know. I want his sense of self to be strong, and for him to learn to make his own choices without influence or fear of oppression. He only has one life and it should be the one that he wants.

So go out and get your own pink water bottle. Or heck, get the blue one if that’s the one that floats your boat. It is after all, up to you.