Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Yesterday, I finally started painting our dining room. We've lived here for six years and we still had that contractor flat white paint. ICK. But I have, slowly, been painting each of the rooms in our house until all that's left to do is the entryway (and that will be a nightmare because it's a two-story entry and I can see my clutsy self falling off a ladder and then WHO would unschool these kids? lol) and our bedroom & two baths upstairs. So I'm getting there. ;) Painting your home does take longer when you move into it at 6 months pregnant and then proceed to have 3 kids in under 5 years.

My 12yr old niece, Bria, is visiting and she wanted to help but didn't have any painting clothes with her. So I found an old t-shirt of Hubby's but she was stuck with her own shorts. After she got paint on them, we decided to implement Grandma's quick-raincoat idea of draping her in a garbage bag. It worked really well...err...well, it protected her shorts anyway. Her mom reads this blog so we won't discuss how much paint was on her legs when the night was over. ;)

After Matthew and Rose got up from nap, they were very excited to help us paint. Now I must admit something to you here. Sometimes Laurie-Mom and Unschooling-Laurie have conflicts. This was one of those times. The mom in me wanted them to stay out of my way and let me get the job done! I'd already done a coat of primer and trim...and a coat of paint trim and working on the wall paint. I really wanted to see the home stretch. And, Laurie-mom reasoned, 'they'll probably only want to paint for two minutes and then I'll have to stop and clean them up and it will take so much of my time!' But the unschooler in me won out this time, thankfully. Actually, I guess Matthew won out - he informed me that, "Painting is a skill I will need when I'm an adult." Now how could I argue with that? I told them that I was saving a spot for them but they needed to wait a little bit longer so I could finish what I was doing and help instruct them with minimal how-to's on wall painting.

They went into the other room and busied themselves. I didn't know what they were up to: I was on a roll and wasn't going to be stopping until I was done with this wall. A while later, Matthew comes around the corner with a small plastic white shopping bag from our recycling bin. He had turned it upside down and cut out a hole for the head and holes for the arms.
"Ok Mommy, I'm ready to paint!"

No sooner had Bria and I finally caught our breath from laughing at his copyright infringement on Bria's idea than Rose came around the corner with her bag too.
(Please pardon the deer-in-the-headlights look on my children. They were unaware I had the camera! LOL)

I showed them how to dip the paintbrush and wipe the excess drips on the edge and warned them about not letting the drips run down the wall and I went to the other side of the room (against my Laurie-mom instincts) and soon forgot that they were first-time painters.

(They did all of that! What great painters!)

In the background I hear some conversations going on...

Matthew: "Rose, maybe when you're older, you'll paint as well as your big brother does." (ROFL)
Rose, determined: "Yes I WILL!"

[a while later]

Matthew: "When I'm a daddy, I'm going to let my kids help me paint."
Rose: "Me TOO!"
Matthew: "When you have babies, you'll let them paint too?"
Rose: "Yes I will."
Matthew: "Oh great! You're gonna be a great mom!" [he side-hugs her]

They ended up painting for about 45 minutes. They did a great job and had lots to tell Daddy when he got home from work. How could I ever have doubted that they could do it? I had much more paint on me than either of them did and there were no spilled cans of paint or paint in the mouth or entire bodies covered in paint, as Laurie-mom had envisioned.

It's hard to always let them do things they want to do. Our reasons vary but usually it's a matter of taking too much time or we think they're too young or we just don't have the energy. But this is part of unschooling - letting them discover and learn things in their own time. Thank goodness Unschooling Laurie won out yesterday. ;)

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