A confession and an invitation

One of my favorite things in the world is to paint my kids’ faces.  Because they look so darn full of glee when they’re all puppied out, I usually post pics to facebook, where a handful of super nice friends comment that I’m a great mommy for painting their faces.  In the interest of full disclosure, it’s sweet, but total boloney. As much as being called a nice mommy is way better than being told you suck at your life’s dream, I must confess it has nothing to do with me being nice or having artistic talent. You don’t believe me, but here’s the truth of it.

It’s not hard. I know many people are afraid of doing anything “art” related because they don’t feel qualified enough or they’re scared they’ll mess up. Art is just play and play is the path to all things good and sunshiny.  We all feel the right to play ball with our kids regardless of athletic ability, but somehow art seems much more daunting to many.  Of all things, washable paint should not be feared. This little Klutz face paint kit (approx.$15-20) gives you easy instructions and there are tons of tutorials online.  But seriously? Even if you just did a dot on their nose and a few whiskers on their cheeks, you are a champion to them.  You probably pulled off a black cat costume with a little eyeliner at some point in your life.  If you did, you are now overqualified.  I promise you, I’m relying far more on my ability to mess around than I am relying on my art degree.

There is no “right” when your artwork will likely share a canvas with boogers and ketchup.  This is not the Sistine Chapel, people. Take some pressure off.  Kids don’t need much in the way of sophisticated brush strokes to take on a character.  Simple shapes do the trick.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and kids behold themselves pretty fabulously as it is.  Their imagination does the work and a little paint is just the cherry on top.  See the pirate below?   He’s too busy being all awesome to care that his mid-painting sneeze and sleeve wipe smeared him up.

Besides all that, my motives are completely selfish.  I get way more out of it than they do.

I get to be the rockstar who brought the carnival to their living room.  All hail Mom!  Maybe she’ll bring a cotton candy machine home next!  Probably not, but who am I to squash their dreams?  Keep the thank yous comin’, kids.

Those little ones, who never stop moving?  They sit.  Almost still.  Not very still, but still for them.  I get to see their gorgeous little faces up close without the blur of constant motion they’re in the rest of the day.

Those same kids who hate to get their picture taken ask for their picture to be taken so they can admire their awesomeness over and over again.

Everything is funnier when you are looking at a kid in a painted face.  Tantrums?  Selective hearing?  Being summoned to the bathroom for wipe duty just as you are sitting down to eat?  Much easier to handle when the culprit is a painted-up dog or snake or a pirate.

If you let them paint your face you will win more mom points than you can imagine, redeemable for well, nothing really.  But you will get to feel their normally spastic little fingers gently lift up your chin as you get a close-up view of their focused eyes working so diligently on your face.  Seriously, I melt.  At some point, when they’ve brilliantly blended every color in the palette into the perfect shade of poop brown, they’ll whip out something hilarious like, “Oh, yeah, now we’re cookin’!” And because they don’t have an ounce of the insecurity we do as adults, they will look at their masterpiece and say, “You look beautiful, Mommy!”  I mean, come on?!  Totally worth it.

Here are a few tips for you Type A’s:

-If you are still worried they won’t recognize what animal they are supposed to be, tell them it’s a guessing game and they can’t look until they’re done.  Whatever their answer is, go with it.

-The kit I mentioned dries really fast and of all the stains on my kids’ clothing, face paint isn’t one of them. I have tried more eco-friendly face paint and unfortunately, it’s more like lip gloss.  It will continue to smudge and fade.

-Comes off with a washcloth of soap and water.  I use their shampoo since it doesn’t bother their eyes.  Sometimes the black is a little stubborn, especially in the eyebrows and near eyelashes, but a second washing will do the trick.

-You can mix colors right in the palette and then just swipe the top layer with a wet paper towel to reveal the original color again.

-Those makeup wedges work better than the little sponge that comes with it.  The paint brush works perfectly.  Other than that, all you need is a bowl of water and a paper towel to dry the brush after rinsing.

-When making dots for freckles or whiskers, don’t try to draw a circle.  Instead, touch the tip of the brush to the face and twist it.

-If you are shaky, rest the side of your hand on their cheek.

-Just get messy.  It’s proof of a day well spent.

Really, there is nothing to lose!  If your first attempt isn’t so great, try again.  If nothing else, they see their mom or dad experimenting and playing.  That can’t be a bad thing in my opinion so go.  Paint. Play.  And then post your pics on our facebook page so we can all applaud your fun!

Thanks for reading and can’t wait to see your pics!



8 thoughts on “A confession and an invitation

  1. “There is no “right” when your artwork will likely share a canvas with boogers and ketchup” – Best sentence ever written. Ever. Love you!

  2. So true, Bridget! Let the artistry flow! I think Conor was a cat in his past life as he spent a lot of time painted as one! I have the button picture to prove it, should he try to deny it!!!!

  3. You totally blessed my day! So much joy! This is what we were created for – to play and create. What a gift to these boys!

  4. Your write-ups are simply darling. I just received this on my e-mail, and will eventually get them all read. One of my favorites when the kids were growing up and going through the very serious situations (trips to the hospital for stitches, who’s-telling-the-truth, orthodontia, rubber bands, clarinet reeds, dad! I need pantyhose, etc., etc.) was “Some day we’ll laugh at this.” And we do. Keep it up, Bridget; it’s great.

    • Aw, thank you so much Aunt Kathleen! It means so much that you are reading! I think your mantra is the perfect one. We are having a great time right now, but I’m sure there will be a whole new level of laughter once we are better-rested 🙂 Hope to see you soon.

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