During the 53 hours our power was out last weekend, we had a dinner party. Yes, it’s true. It included five adults and two three-year-olds. When the adults had finally sat down to eat our feast, the girls went off to play in my Kid’s room. It was quiet at last and we were enjoying our meal. That was our first red flag. At some point, I can’t remember who it was, but someone went to check on the girls. Might have been our guests, at least one parent, possibly both. I can’t recall. What I can recall (and will never forget) is the shriek of the mom from Kid’s room.
“OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!! OH MY GOD!!!!!!!”
I should have just left the house right then. House full of people, table full of dirty dishes, no running water and probably raining outside.
It seems that Kid broke into a little container of green finger paint and in usual fashion proceeded to smear it on herself and her friend and the rug and the carpet and the chair. I bet it felt good, cool and creamy. She is nothing if not tactile. I am usually amused by how she reacts so innately to her desire to feeeeeeel things, taking off shoes and socks to feel something different with her toes, taking off her shirt to roll on me when I have a cashmere sweater on. That night, not so entertaining. But I realized that when there is one person already having a freak out (and her child), it does not add much to jump on that bandwagon.
I was mad but relatively quiet. It was “washable” paint. I can rant another time about the misuse of the word “washable.” Plus, I lose track of the number of times I have seen Kid with colors all over her body. Paints, food coloring, crayons, markers, lipstick, pens. I know she has this impulse. I had Kid help wipe up the green (as much as possible with NO water!) and we tried to wipe it off her. Her poor friend was suffering a thorough wiping by mad parents in the bathroom. And getting the Cold Bath threat for when they got home. They had water but not heat at their house. I forced a lot of “I will never do this again” promises from Kid.
I then rolled up her now green Little Mermaid rug (well, there is algae in the ocean) to save for the washer on a power-filled day to come. We got most of the green off of Kid with some faint green smears that stayed on for days. And yes, I confiscated all items from her room that could be smeared or used on walls, furniture, carpets or books. Now, she only has her bodily functions as ammo for future days…..
How can I be so laid back about this incident? Timing. Turns out the mess from the dinner party was harder to clean up (without power and water) and depressed me a whole lot more than that paint. I was jealous, too. Kid probably had more fun making her mess.