Welcome to Chickadee Junction

Welcome to Chickadee Junction

I have birdfeeders outside of my office window. My office is in my home, up on a hill, surrounded by trees. The most frequent avian visitors are the chickadees. When the feeders are empty, they come to the window and let me know. They seem to converge here, and draw my attention out...

I wrote a column about life with children for six years. Now I am the grandmother, and I would like to repost those stories. I will also be adding thoughts and reflections, and if inspired - stories from the now.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Who wants to help me paint?"

"I do!"..."I do!"..."I do!"  The Swedish Mafia is unanimous.  How unusual.

With baby firmly perched on my back, we bravely approach the barren walls and sanded woodwork.

The youngest, brandishing the largest paintbrush is ready.  Now.  "Where's the paint?"  He does his Erroll Flynn impression - fencing a la Robin Hood.

"We have to tape the windows.  Look how we place the edge of the tape right where the glass meets the wood.  See?  Who wants to try?"

"We want to paint...This is too boring...It's too hard..."

At length, finally, at long last, it's time to open the paint.  If, and when, we can find a screwdriver.  For five frenzied minutes the gang wanders around, glazed stares in place chanting,  "We can't find it, but we saw it yesterday."

I am a mom with years of experience.  I know how to wing it.  And I know the butter knives we inherited from great-grandma have the sturdiest blades.

A few flicks of the silver and we pry the lid loose, exposing a gallon of glistening white primer.

"Me first!"  That from the kid wielding the biggest brush.

"Oh no.  You've got to listen first.  Look how we dip the very tip of the brush into the paint.  See?"


"After you get just a little paint, you get to do along the floor.  See?"


"I only want you to paint up and down.  Like this.  See?"


"There can't be any drips."


"OK.  Try it."

He plunged the brush into the paint, submerging bristles right up to the handle.  Then he walked away, hand cupped beneath the drips, leaving an artistic dribbley trail in his wake.

His brother managed to smear every window, reaching far beyond the taped border.  And his brother, after experimenting with the edger, dropped it into the paint.  I retrieved it just as the last bubbles rose to the surface.

"How come I can't use the roller?  I'm done now."

"Put the brush on the shelf, so I can wash it.  Do you hear me?"


"Mom, this paint spilled here."

As I went to salvage the situation I stepped on the biggest brush, bristles still laden with paint.

Mima's Notes:

I allowed my children to help with pretty much everything I did.  It made my life slow and messy - absolutely perfect.  Although the house was seldom perfect, or sometimes even presentable.

Now, the two youngest members of the SM are timber framers.  They design and construct amazing buildings.  They are attentive to detail and careful about being very neat.  Who could have imagined?

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