Last October, we threw our first Halloween party. I was pretty excited about having a theme to work with; decorating, dressing up and painting faces. After turning Kahlei into a jack-o-lantern with my best face painting abilities, it was Ellie’s turn but she was skeptical. While she had happily sat to have her face painted at numerous events, she wasn’t so sure of my skill in the area and wanted to do mine, instead.
I made a deal that she could do mine if I could paint hers afterwards and before I knew it I had two little people painting my face with much gusto and excitement. At some point I had a moment of “oh, am I crazy, letting my children paint my face?!” before I relaxed and let it be.
Since then we have had many face painting days and my role has diminished to obliging paintee as they paint each other and then both have a go at me. I have watched them both develop their control with the brushes and sponges. I have seen them incorporate role play and model behaviours they’ve seen when having their faces painted else where and also when having their hair cut. I have noticed the subtle changes in their paintings as they explore and refine their skill. And, mostly, I have seen a special trust develop between the two.
During our most recent session I got thinking about how it was more than merely a bit of fun. Other than to remind them to avoid the eyes, I give them free reign. I show them I trust them, not only by allowing them to explore but by allowing them to explore on me. I am a happy participant and they love that.
It’s a great girl bonding time, chatting and laughing as they develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. And, I’ve found it’s a perfect pick-me-up on those days when everyone’s a little on the grumpy side.
Back in October, I didn’t realise that saying yes would actually be such an amazing thing. So simple, a little messy, yet so enriching. I highly recommend giving your child the opportunity to paint your face, to explore their creativity in a new way, express themselves through that creativity and learn to trust and that you also trust them.
Here’s a video I’ve put together which might better say what I mean…
(Please excuse the freeze frame…)
Wife to James, the man behind the scenes who keeps things running and fixes things when they invariably go awry, mother to my three Munchie-Bums; Ellie, 7, Kahlei, 5 and 4 year old Jasper.
I am blogging my journey through parenthood, as I fight my Postnatal Depression and focus on bringing positivity into our family life and being the best I can be.