Cedar has dealt with a bit of tactile sensitivity since he was born. First I noticed it with fabrics on his skin needing to be very soft (hence the bamboo and uber soft cottons we buy for him). Then I noticed it with food. He has not been a fan of sticky fingers or anything on his fingers for that matter. While he is eating, I typically have a cloth nearby to wipe his hands to prevent anxiety. The times we've played in the sand, if it gets on his hands he tries to wipe it off immediately, although he is fine using buckets and shovels. When I introduced finger-painting it was all too much and he had a bit of a meltdown, waving his hands about to get the paint off. That first try must have been a bit traumatizing for him as he didn't even want to try the brush during future attempts. I always follow his lead for when he is ready for anything. I do not push things on him. So, we've stayed away from painting for a while. Although in my mama heart, I knew he wanted to do it because of the excitement he had shown before we started each project only to end with a meltdown because of how it felt on his skin. So I held onto that vision for him gently.
The other day, I gave him some honey on a spoon for a treat. After he licked a bit of it up, I watched him put his finger in the spoon and then immediately go over to the cupboard to paint the honey on the wood. He did it a few times more with a big smile on his face. Now, perhaps most mamas (rationally so) would have been a bit bummed out that their cupboards were suddenly sticky but I gasped in excitement. "Cedar!! You're finger-painting!!". He responded "pay-ing"..."pay-ing!!!". It was then that I knew he was ready to explore again.
I consulted a dear circle of friends of mine that are mamas and conscious about what goes in and on their babies as far as chemicals and toxins. I wasn't sure if Cedar was going to just eat the paint or smear the paint on his bod. I had no idea how he would explore this new texture but I wanted to feel safe for him to do so. I was encouraged by my friends to try berries and flour and water. BRILLIANT!
One of my friends thought an easel might be easier for him as far as keeping paint off of his body. We have been so accustom to doing art on our hardwood floor with paper since we don't have a table in our home. Why hadn't I thought of this? I was so grateful for this fresh set of ideas. So, last night we took a trip to IKEA to get an easel. We set him up this morning out on our veranda. I mixed three bowls of color: frozen raspberries with warm water and soy flour, chocolate pudding and frozen acai berries with warm water and soy flour. Such pretty colors. In fact, the colors of our wedding! ; )
It was fun to observe him. He still wanted nothing to do with the paint on his fingers. He was glad to use the brushes...and he was so serious about his art. I was expecting him to throw the paint about and smoosh it on the ground and not be able to stand and paint for too long. But he stood for over an hour and we did three different paintings and he kept asking us to join in "mama do eet!"..."daddy do!", while handing us a brush. Most of the time he stood there quietly by himself with the birds singing in the distance. It reminded me of the zone he can get in when he is picking at the guitar. So mindful of what he is doing and able to shut out the world for a while.
It was such a precious time for us as a family.
Here are a few more images...
and a wee video... ; )