I dove into another household project this past week: Painting kitchen cabinets. I had never done this before. I hope to never do it again. I do enjoy tackling this kind of stuff, but my time is limited. I try and work on bits and pieces while the kids nap and at night after they’re asleep, but we’ve got company coming this weekend so I feel like I’ve been rushing to get it done. I worked on it a little one afternoon while Sofia was napping and David was up. We were in the kitchen having a snack and I asked David if he minded if I did a little sanding and painting.
“Can I help?” He asked.
“Ummm…” I began rethinking this. I was picturing globs of paint on the floor, windows and David himself. Perhaps I could distract him with some crayons. “I don’t know if this is something you can help me with, David. It’s very hard work. Even mummy has a hard time with it.” Which, by the way, is completely true.
“I could help you” he offers again, this time putting down his snack and brushing crumbs from his fingers onto his t-shirt. He is determined. Too late for distraction.
And then it occurs to me, why can’t he help? I mean, he’s willing and I shouldn’t discourage this great “go-to” attitude. Even if it means a little more mess for me, it’s worth it for him to feel the satisfaction of working together and the completion of a job well done.
So with that in mind I get him into his paint smock and give him a brush and a very small plastic cup of paint then set him down on the floor in front of an open cabinet. I lay down lots of newspaper and instruct him to paint only the inside of the door and not near the hinges. I figure I can touch it up later when he’s not looking.
He seems eager to get started so I go back to unscrewing the hardware from the upper cabinet doors. I look down at David, slapping the paint across the cabinet like a young Jackson Pollock and wonder if I’ve put down enough newspaper. I notice he’s getting some drips on the door and I teach him how to wipe the excess paint off his brush onto the edge of the plastic cup. I’m trying to not take the all the joy out of this for him, but it’s hard not to hover over him during this experiment of sorts. I managed to get paint here and there myself and even dropped an antique hinge right into the can of paint, screws and all. I had to fish it out with one of those paint stirrers. Luckily the paint rinsed off quite easily with water. While all of this is going on David has left his painting post and gone off to the living room to find something more interesting to do. I call after him and ask if he would rather do some sanding, instead.
“Not right now.” and then after a moment, “It’s not my favorite.”
That’s David’s kind way of saying he really doesn’t like something at all. Sanding is not my favorite either, David. Not by a long shot.
I checked out the cabinet door. He did exactly as I asked and stayed well away from the hinges, painting just the middle portion of the panel and didn’t even spill his paint once, which is more than I can say for myself. Unfortunately for me he learned that sometimes something looks a lot more fun to do than it actually is. I thought this project would be a blast too, but it’s a lot of work for not so much gain. That said, the end is in sight now and the cabinets do look much better with a fresh coat of paint. I think I have made our home worth about ten dollars more than it was last week.
Maybe David’s more of a drywall kind of kid. I guess we’ll find out next month…