Mama guilt made me do it

Oh my friends I have been having such a bad case of mama guilt! Feeling like I’m not doing enough with Tuesday just “being” with her and going about our day to day. I feel like she (and other babies we know her age) is going through this crazy development period. Everyday I see that she knows more and tries more things. Today she took her first steps from one thing (baby gate) to another (high chair) with out any prompting. Usually we’re baiting her with something. But she did it just to get from one place to another, because it’s a very short (three step) distance and she figured it would be faster than getting down and crawling. I almost can’t believe she can figure it out. But of course I think she’s the smartest… oh wait no I don’t. I think she’s the most darling perfect little thing, but I have been comparing her to other babies which I shouldn’t do, but I think it’s just a natural thing. Especially when it’s your first baby and you just don’t know what comes next.
You probably realize that I read lots of blogs and have many friends with babies the same age. Well it seemed to me that so many mamas were doing all kinds of “projects” with their babies. I could not figure out how this was possible since Tuesday puts everything into her mouth and her fine motor skills are so fantastic this includes grabbing ants racing across our floor (I swear we’re clean) and stuffing them in her mouth! But when I saw Carmen painted with her little Chloe I could stand it no more and decided I must try a project with my Sparkle Pants. You may have seen the photo of the day. It did not go as planned.
“Haha, you want me to do what mom?” Note – yes she has paint in her mouth. Carmen I didn’t see that you had responded to me; tempura paint = genius. I used a water based supposedly non toxic acrylic. Not my hard core Goldens or anything, but still I was on her like white on rice and I still couldn’t keep it out of her mouth (note to others – it did not come off this onsie).
The whole thing lasted about five minutes and really she didn’t do anything. I had to put her hand on the canvas. I felt like an abject failure! Let me reiterate – she only wanted it in her mouth! (I know Bj, “that’s what she said.”).
Once I took a step back, and after her first year check up showed she was indeed normal, I realized I have to just roll with the day. If we never get anything done then we never get anything done. That doesn’t mean we’re not DOING things, like watching the cars go by, clapping, playing with Lee Lee, pushing a shopping cart and bouncing while I pack order. It is easy to say I’m going to let go, then to actually let go…
I tried it again with water a few days later. She loved the water, but didn’t “get” the painting thing.
You know what? That’s ok. We’ll keep trying. If my baby doesn’t like art it won’t kill me (I tell myself). Speaking of creating the room is nearly complete. I did pick out knobs (see the dalies), and just can not stand to show you the room if it isn’t totally done. They come on Friday, so look for a post on the craft den this weekend(ish).

Join the Conversation


  1. finger paints. 🙂 they come off again and are good practice. and btw, I didn’t let georgia paint until she was well over a year old, she might have been two…and I think that is totally normal, because of the whole mouth thing. 🙂 Anyway, when I just looked up those pics of Dean (not quite a year old) with finger paints, he was covered in paint, especially his mouth, and he wasn’t painting, he was playing with the brush…give her time! plus, first kids might take longer, they don’t have older siblings to copy. 🙂

  2. My kids are 14 and 11 now, but when Em was a baby she was totally into all the crafty stuff. I handed her paper,paint and a brush and we had painting. Safe dough? Sculpture. And so on. I still have most of her early creations up in my kitchen and craft room!! Then there was my second child. Noah was rarely interested in artistic endeavors. He hated feeling “messy” OR he only wanted to smear stuff all over and like you, I let it go. However, unlike his sister who was “meh” about blocks and stuff, he loved (and loves) building things!
    I always provided opportunities for creativity but didn’t push it and that seemed to work fine for both kids, who when they were pre-school age loved taking classes at our local art museum.
    Things that worked:
    I’d tape down a huge role of newsprint to the floor, provide age appropriate and non-toxic supplies (markers, crayons, paint etc) and walk away (well, not hover). When babies they played a little (like i said Em for longer) and moved on, but as they grew they came to love creating stuff or just doodling.
    Outside, I got a huge piece of (drywall? it’s white and shiny and if you use dry erase markers they wipe off-but it’s a building material of some sort) nailed it to one of the fences and attached a terracotta pot filled with dry erase markers and erasers. We only took that down after years of the entire neighborhood enjoying it, last summer. I miss that board.
    One of the coolest things we use to do was string an old sheet between two trees and let babies, kids and adults use biopaint to decorate at parties and cookouts and stuff-it would wash away in the rain and then we’d do it all over again.
    Mainly, I guess I’m saying that kids aren’t all into making things, the process is more important than the finished item and you’re already providing the opportunity the rest will happen organically! I love hearing about all the neat things you and Tuesday are doing. My current child thrill is that both my kids have asked me to teach them to quilt!!

  3. I think you’re doing a great job with her–you’re figuring things out as you go, and really, what else can you do? Don’t stress about her not picking up the brush to paint. That will come when she’s a little older, I think. She’s still exploring everything around her, including tastes 🙂 I was over at Julie’s house a couple months ago and we were eating Mexican food and her 15 month old (Jada) was obsessed with the guacamole. Julie kept trying to dip little chips in it for her to eat, but Jada just wanted to put gobs of it in her mouth and “finger paint” with it on the counter. Eventually Jada got her own bowl–yes, it ended up everywhere (from her forehead to her feet)but she had fun with it. Set the brush aside for now, and don’t torture yourself. Just because she doesn’t pick up painting at 1 year of age doesn’t mean she won’t be into art 🙂

  4. But look how much fun she is having! That is what really matters.
    I have a few recipes at home for homemade finger paints, play dough, and soap crayons. I will find them tonight and email them to you if you’d like.

  5. Tuesday is absolutely perfect! and you’re a Great Mama! Has Tuesday ever watched you paint? Since she’s never really watch you do it maybe she just doesn’t know what she’s supposed to do with paint. Perhaps if you put knitting needles in her hands she’d make her first scarf… Just kidding! Simply Enjoy the moments they go very fast!

  6. Awesome!! LOL 😉
    We all suffer from the guilt and the shock that despite there promise the paint NEVER COMES OFF unless you want it to stay on BOO!
    The water is a great idea you could also add a drop of food colour and let her try it outside on the pavers/cement or something (remember the mouth thing is all about learning how the tools work …… ahhhhh yeh I said that ;)).
    Also playdough is good for squishing and stuff (really quick to make no cook style let me know if you need a recipe – if she eats too much just add more salt it turns em off).
    Sand play, Sorting rocks or leaves, water and sand play or just water play depending on your weather.
    We use big pieces of paper too with finger paints or just good old crayons they seem to handle them better at first. It all looks a mess when they first start my 3 y/o is inly just starting to make “real pix” but the great thing is if you use big paper you can use it as wrapping paper when it dries.
    Having said all that though you and tuesday already make one rocking duo we love reading your everyday adventures!

  7. I find guilt drives me in most areas of my life 😉 Not great, but could be worse I suppose.
    And finger painting is great! The sensory part is awesome for kiddos.

  8. you are way daring.
    our fun is playing with paper. and by playing, i mean miri scrunches it in her hand i try to stop her from eating it.
    at least you got some awesome photos!!
    can’t wait to see the room!
    we got the cd and the card and the adorable photo yesterday! 🙂 thank you!!!!!!!

  9. Packing papers and crayons 🙂 on the floor….and pretend you aren’t watching *grin*. My daughter has been coloring with crayons since she was about 10mo old. Up until 3 she really didn’t have an interest in painting.
    You can buy washable crayons…but, they aren’t washable off of clothes once the crayon gets slobbered on. Traditional Crayola Crayons claim they are non toxic. And really, I think we only had one instance where she had a bite of one, she really did like what she could do with the crayons on paper, and just went for it. My boys, well they took a bit longer to be interested in creating art *grin*

  10. She will get there. I was in a rush for my babies to be into artsy stuff too, and I remember that they just wanted to put the stuff in their mouths. And that’s okay. Babies learn from that too. Well, it’s not okay that they eat some stuff, but it’s okay that they’re not painting before they’re ready. 😉 But my point is, it will come. Really, it will. I’m not saying that you’re doing anything wrong by being anxious for this fun time to come either. I know it’s exciting. My kids are 6 and almost 8 now, and they both love doing artsy stuff. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a toddler who didn’t like playing with play-doh and finger paints.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *