I am not a “mess” person. When my kids ask to play with paint, I imagine the paint falling out of the container, I think of the water spilling, I think of the wet brushes scraping across my table and walls, I imagine the not yet dry works of art falling onto my floor, and I say, “No”. When they ask to play in the hose, I see the muddy clothes tracked through my house, and I say, “No”. Unless I can take the time to hover, my kids are denied all kinds of creative freedoms.
So, when Abigail came to me, open cookbook in hand, and asked to bake a cake, she already had the look of disappointment spreading across her face as I said, “Yes!”
“Wait. So, I can?” she confirmed excitedly.
“Yes. But you have to clean up your mess.” And she did! She followed the recipe, made the cake, and cleaned everything up all by herself! Since then, I’ve let her do more activities that are messy. Does she clean up as thoroughly as I would? Of course, not. But she tries. And you know what? A little pink paint on the floor is a small price to pay for the glow of independence I see in her eyes.
P.S. I helped her put the cake in the oven and take it out… Baby Steps to cooking freedom.