Washable Paint

There’s comes a time in every mother’s life when she must discover for herself: exactly how washable is washable paint?

Jonah’s been waking up around 6 a.m. all week. He’s doing a bang up job of sleeping through the night (most nights), but as soon as that sun rises (that’d be 5:59 a.m.) he rises with his own brand of hoppy spunk. Room darkening shades be damned!

Collectively, John and I spend a fair amount of time keeping brother Gabriel in bed, so when the J-man scooted into our room at six I blearily rose and followed him to his room. He wanted the iPad. Of course he wanted the iPad. He was hungry. We settled on him helping himself  to a yogurt and some soy milk. I okayed the iPad with the stipulation “nothing trashy.” We were good to go. I stumbled back to bed and slept intermittently—waking periodically to J’s boom boom booming down below (like I said, hoppy spunk)—until 8, when I heard him enter his room and close the door behind him with just enough resolution to concern me. Of course, not enough that I couldn’t doze off for another ten minutes.

But there were unfamiliar noises coming from his room. Nothing terribly troubling, per se, but I knew something was going on that isn’t usually going on in there. At this point I realize that part of the reason I’m so bleary-eyed is that I slept in my contacts, which I never do and I do not recommend, though in this situation, being able to (half-way) see did allow me to more quickly assess the situation.

Jonah met me at the door with a full cup (which probably equaled about 1 1/2 cups liquid proper) of blue finger paint and a drenched paintbrush. I looked down: paint on the floor. I looked at Jonah: paint on his clothes, paint on his face, paint on his legs, paint on his hands. I looked at the wall: yep, paint on the wall in, I must say, a very lovely and free sort of circle about the size of a saucer (I was nearly inclined to “Leave It Like It Is“). Paint on the full length closet mirror. Paint on the closet door. Paint on the closet floor. Paint on the bookshelf. Probably paint on the bedspread, but it’s already blue, so I chose to pretend there was no paint on the bed. O yes, and goldenrod colored pencil scribbles all over the wall surrounding the framed pictures of his his beloved cousins and grandparents.

“Jonah,” I said/sighed/questioned, “what are you doing?”

“Are you very mad?” he replied.

“But what are you doing?” I repeated, still trying to wake up, still trying to make sense of all that blue in all those places.

“I needed to paint my whole room,” he stated. “Will Dad be very mad?”

“Daddy will be upset, but probably not very mad,” I answered.

Come to find out, Rufus and Wainwright* (our very tiny, very mischievous, very invisible, imaginary dogs) told him to do it. That, combined with him watching and rewatching the Casper (the Friendly Ghost) movie, which instilled in him a very real need for his own haunted house.

And can he really be faulted all that much? We left the kid completely alone, unsupervised for two hours. He wakes up at the crack of dawn raring to go and we hand him the iPad. Inspired by Charlie and his remarkable parents Kristina and Jim (read more at We Go With Him)—who collectively walk and bike probably more than a hundred miles a week in order to satisfy Charlie’s need for exercise and movement—I have decided a walk first thing is in order. I have so directed Jonah to wake me when he wakes and we will do it in the cool of the morning when the birds are just coming out, when his jubilant energy is at its most exuberant.

When I told John of my plan, he responded, “Do you think you can do it?” I sure am going to try. We agree it’s just the thing. And maybe, eventually, I will even become a morning person. Nah.

[Postscript: By the way, this particular brand of washable paint is quite washable. All of the blue came up off the floor and the greater part came off the walls. Unfortunately, the blue had set a little too long and you can still see the outline of that lovely open circle the size of a saucer. Kudos also go to Sherwin Williams satin finish paint. It doesn’t claim to be washable, but it comes darn near close.]

*Footnote: Rufus and Wainwright came into on our walks home from school. To keep Jonah on the sidewalk and in my general vicinity (this was before he could remember to look at every street corner before crossing), I tell him stories about the generally naughty exploits of R & W. His first question as we round the corner toward home has invariably become, “What happened to Rufus and Wainwright today?” I must add, in an attempt to cover my own ass, R & W are not always rascals. They have been very helpful in a pinch—like when Rufus squeezed behind our stove to retrieve the car keys Gaba tossed in a fit of wild abandon.

In lieu of physical evidence, here’s the little imp in the woods yesterday, laughing at a song I made up about Jonah Caedmon Estes being all kinds of sunshine and happiness.

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