Fun with Ben

Today, I was dropping off a portrait of Ben that was done by my friend, Deb Stonebraker, Stonebraker Art, at Michael’s. She hasn’t put the portrait of Ben up yet, but if you go into black Labs, Sam is the third dog in the first row. I ordered the frame a couple of weeks ago and since it was supposed to be finished tomorrow, I was wondering why I still had the art. At any rate, when I dropped it off, the framer said she could have it done in less than an hour, so we decided to wander the store.

I’m the first to admit that I am not art mom. My family or origin was not arts/crafts oriented in terms of things that could, potentially, make a mess like paint, glitter, glue, and so forth. My mother sews; I had one of those “toy” Singers when I was little and I seem to recall sewing myself clothes so I could match my paper dolls. It wasn’t pretty and thank God no one took pictures.

Anyway, yesterday, in my efforts to shuck my title as the most uptight mother in the world, I decided to give a cute art project I’d seen online a try: Footprint Butterflies. After a few moments of “Oh God, what am I doing?” we got into it. I painted Ben’s feet with a paintbrush and he did his thing and we have three wonderful butterflies for Mother’s Day gifts. He wanted to paint something, too, so I held Katie on my lap and let him paint the bottoms of her feet, and there are three smaller butterflies with Katie toes on the wings, so adorable. But I digress.

The point is that I was never one that was allowed to actually look around in a craft store, so I’m a bit stunned with myself that I just let go and let Ben wander the store. I didn’t try to direct him, too much. There was a little of me going okay, can we look at some other things now when we’d spent about 20 minutes looking at shovels, rakes, sifters, and trucks for a sandbox (or oversized ant mounds as those are known here). We wandered down some aisles that didn’t capture his interest — the paintbrushes and paints — BORING!!! He was thrilled with the model cars, which I explained were special puzzles that he would get to do when he’s a bit older. He was also completely engaged in the kid craft aisle and the Crayola/book aisle. We found the plastic animal section and spent some time ID’ing the various animals.

He loves felt and when we got to that aisle he wanted some new “felts” and I had been planning to buy some anyway (to stock up for some future projects I have in mind), so he picked out some colors that he likes and I picked some and we added those to our small collection of things. He ended up buying a monarch butterfly from the plastic animal section and a small shovel along with his new felts.

When we got home, we went for a “nature walk.” This means we walked around the neighborhood looking at all the neighbors’ front gardens and compare them with ours. We’ve determined that my roses are very pretty, but that several neighbors also have very pretty plants that maybe we should plant somewhere else in the yard. He also saw a dog that was not Sam or Peyton, a kitty cat, and a snake “like No Feet.”

One thing I can assure you, while I will happily link to craft ideas that I find online, it is unlikely that I’ll be originating any myself. I’m just not that confident yet.

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