Baby paint!

Sometimes, I don’t give Erik enough credit.

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He banished me from the house for a couple hours last Saturday afternoon so that he and Beatrice could work on a secret project. Well, sort of secret, since he accidentally left this fingerpainting pad on the living room floor in plain view.

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I was happy to have some time to myself to work on a baby photo book for Beatrice. Unfortunately, I spent the two precious alone hours at the Tea Co. waiting for my dumb computer to turn on. Story for another time. At least I had my pot of jasmine tea and lemon poppy seed pound cake to soften the blow of unproductivity …

Fast forward to Sunday morning. Erik was insistent that Beatrice’s diaper was too wet and was soaking through her pjs. I felt sort of miffed because … did I really still have to change diapers on MOTHER’S DAY??!! However, I pulled open the diaper drawer and found the most gorgeous works of art I had ever seen!

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I had sensed that Erik was going to be fingerpainting with Beatrice, but I had no idea that he was actually going to take the initiative to research AND follow a recipe for edible finger paint, knowing that Bea would try to eat as she worked.

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I need to let Erik do things on his own more often. He’s already the master baby-bather, and now he takes the obvious title of baby art whisperer.

I was even more impressed because I spend every day with Beatrice and am always talking about how I need to paint with her … yet I haven’t been able to find the time, courage, or motivation to do it.

Seeing Erik’s success sort of lit a fire under me. If he could paint with Bea, I certainly could!

I’ve had this blank canvas perched on the wall above Bea’s high chair for nearly a year covering the ugly phone jack …

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The canvas has stayed blank for so long because I couldn’t figure out what in the world to do with it. Too much pressure! After seeing Bea’s artistic abilities shine with my Mother’s Day gift, I knew that she was the one for the job.

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I used a bit of a shortcut recipe (compared to Erik, whose recipe involved corn starch, water, sugar, salt, and the stove) and just mixed two cups of corn starch with one cup of cold water. The result was oobleck!

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I followed Erik’s lead and portioned the white paint into a muffin tin and then added food coloring to each “muffin.” I had to add about another tablespoon of water to each color to make it liquid enough to mix in the food coloring.

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Following a more advanced recipe probably would have been beneficial. Other blog posts talk about paint with a custard consistency. The paint I made most closely resembled (pretty) sludge.

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I could have spent three hours comparing recipes online, but I knew I had to cut to the chase and capitalize on my moment of motivation.

I stripped Bea down to her flat diaper and plopped her on top of a drop cloth with the canvas.

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I spooned one color at a time onto the canvas with some guidance from her, hence the paint splatters all over her legs. Of course, she mostly wanted to eat the paint. Who could blame her? I certainly couldn’t.

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Nothing like the taste of some classic corn starch and water …

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When she was all done, I put the canvas aside so it could dry before I attempted to seal it with Mod Podge. Unfortunately, the paint started to crack and flake off as it dried! Drawback #2 to my cheater recipe.

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In a panic, I sprayed the whole thing down with water before it disintegrated. Once the water had mostly dried off the surface, I brought the canvas outside and gave it several coats of a clear acrylic spray paint because I didn’t have spray-able Mod Podge and thought that a paintbrush would completely destroy everything.

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The spray paint gave the art some protection, but it still looked crumbly in spots, and I was worried about it cracking more. I decided to risk the Mod Podge and hoped that the thin layer of acrylic on it already would prevent the paintbrush from deleting Bea’s art. It worked! I coated the whole thing in a nice, thick layer …

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And it was clear by morning!

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Some of the cracks from the drying process are still visible, but I can just say that Bea was going for that texture on purpose. Perfectly imperfect.

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Of course, Bea’s art was going to be beautiful no matter how it looked … but I am relieved that this canvas can hold its own hanging in the dining room.

Anyone have more (better??) ideas for fun, edible baby art? I see blog posts all the time about incredible sensory activities I could/should be carrying out with Beatrice, but I usually get too overwhelmed. And end up doing none of them. Are there parents who do these things on a daily basis? Tell me your secrets. Please.

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