Including Infants in Traditions

Family traditions counter alienation and confusion. They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.                                                                  -Susan Lieberman

Even though this is our second holiday season with a little one, Mike and are are still trying to establish some family traditions.  The one criteria that we are trying to uphold is for the tradition or activity to allow for the girls to be protagonists.

Painting pumpkins is a simple and appropriate way for the little ones to be active participants in some Halloween fun. Last year, I offered Greysen blue & lavender paint as a contrast to the orange of the pumpkin.

This year, I was inspired by Jean at the Artful Parent to use black paint on our pumpkins.

The Right to Use High Quality Materials

I chose to offer the girls acrylic paints so that the paint wouldn’t wash off should it rain as it could have with other types of “children’s paint.”  I love to use high-quality art mediums such as acrylics because the experiences are qualitatively different than lesser paints. Acrylics spread smoothly, and the results are bright and bold. Since acrylic can stain clothing, I covered the girls in their smocks. Greysen still somehow managed to get some paint on her diaper, however!

I poured a blotch of black paint on a small pumpkin for Moon, and she immediately rubbed the pumpkin, coincidentally spreading paint around the pumpkin.

I set up black acrylic, silver glitter paint, and paintbrushes for Greysen. The glitter paint was completely covered up by the black, so in the end it wasn’t really visible on the final painted pumpkin.

We set it outside that evening, and went outside the following afternoon to look at it again. We were surprised to find that the portions that had been painted were cooked by our warm California sun! Basically, any area that had been painted black and faced the sun had sunken in.

The pumpkin was still whole, but we were so curious as to what was going on inside the pumpkin. Though we were originally not going to carve the pumpkin because Greysen and Moon could not participate meaningful, we eventually decided to cut it open to see what was going on inside.

I didn’t get a picture of the it, but the pumpkin was totally fine inside. Even though the pumpkin flesh underneath the painted portions was soft it was otherwise okay. Regardless, I think we will stay clear of black paint next year!

As far as traditions go, I imagine as the girls skills and interests develop and change over the year so will our traditions. Now, what can Greysen help cook for Thanksgiving?

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