Since I work during the week, I very rarely get concentrated alone time with my daughter. I get a half an hour here and there, but for the most part, when I am with Nora, I’m co-parenting with Aaron. It’s not a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just the way it’s been.
This month, however, Aaron is taking a class on bike mechanics at a shop in Madison on Sunday afternoons. With travel time, he’s gone for about 4 hours. Nora naps for about an hour of that time, but I still get several hours of uninterrupted quality time with my (now) 15 month old girl. It’s a little scary, because there is no safety net or release valve of the other parent, but it’s also terribly exciting.
I’m taking this opportunity to use my time with Nora to introduce her to age appropriate crafts. She’s at that perfect she where she wants to “do” things and be involved with what we’re doing. So, I’m delving into my seldom used Pinterest pins to find projects for each week.
First on the docket was edible finger paints, which I initially pinned a while ago. Maybe when Nora was 3 or 4 months old. The recipe is deceptively simple: corn starch, cold water, boiling water, and food dye. (I’m totally aware that I could make food-based dyes out of tea and tumeric and beet juice, but I’m not that crafty, honestly.) The process was a little tricky. In order to get the proper consistency, Aaron and I had to add twice as much corn starch and then heat the liquid on the stove, to activate the thickening. After that, I played mad scientist and added drops of food coloring until I got colors I liked. My colors included: white, gray, pink, blue, lavender, green, yellow, and orange.
So, what did Nora think? Well, I’m glad I chose edible paints, because she tasted every single color…often. I had to let go of my hope that she wouldn’t eat the paints. After taste testing, she did enjoy the tactile sensation of feeling the paints. When I pulled out the pink color and spread it across the paper, she exclaimed, “Wow!” She also enjoyed flinging paint off the plastic knives as well as pulling large clumps from the jars.
Most importantly, I got to be present when Nora had an important (to me) first: first finger painting. Presence was a big element of the project’s success. I slowed down, watched her reactions, followed her cues, and explored with her. And then quickly stopped when she was done.The alone time was a gift for me, a series of moments when I could interact with her in my own way.