Happy Valentine's Day!
Once upon a time I painted or sketched Valentine's Day gifts for my husband. I prepped for our second Valentine's Day, back in 2000, in the library. I scoured the Chinese dictionary looking for the perfect character to paint that symbolized how I felt about Rob. I planned to paint a character that meant "love" but the Chinese calligraphy proved much more complex. There was no single image for "love". Instead, they were much more philosophical and more complete descriptions of what different types of love meant. I chose to draw a character that stood for "the desires, feelings, affections of love". Some watercolors and sharpie markers later, Rob had his first handmade Valentine.
It's been many years since my last handmade Valentine. This year it was Savannah's turn to make daddy some love art. Her very first arts and crafts experience. Here's how we did it.
Get your supplies ready. This included our new Sugarbooger splat mat, baby-safe ink pads (pink and black), a skeptical and mostly naked baby, leftover card stock from wedding signage, a camera, blanket in case baby gets cold (because who knows how long this will take), and a cardboard box or other hard surface for smooshing hand and footprints. Like so:
Take a deep breath and cover baby's feet in ink. Start with feet because they are way easier to do than hands especially if your baby is a crazy grabby bean.
To create footprint hearts, press one foot at a time so that the print has heels together, toes apart. Sorta like 1st position ballerina . Make more than you think you need in order to get the perfect one. Try not to hurt your baby's tiny toes when smashing them into the paper. Can you see the hearts? (Look closely and pay no attention to the hands. We sucked at creating handprints. Maybe you'll have better luck.)
When you fail at getting a normal looking handprint because your baby just wants to clench her fists or grab and eat the paper, pause and be thankful that your baby takes after your husband's ridiculous cleanliness. Once her hands were covered in ink, she never touched anything besides the paper; not her face or mouth or me or her tummy. Nothing. She made no additional mess. YAY.
Let your baby create art. Give her a piece of paper to slap and eat and grab, and keep smooshing more ink on her palms and fingers until she gets bored. If your baby is like Savvy, she will love every minute of this entire ordeal and even pose for pictures for longer than you expect. Here she is working and then posing with her masterpiece, her very first painting. It's mixed media: non-toxic ink and saliva.
Snap as many photos as you can, so as to ensure you get some good ones. It's helpful to wait until your baby can sit up on her own. Yay for sitting up unassisted while covered in florescent pink dye!
Scrub the heck out of your baby. Don't believe the false advertising. The ink is not easy to get off. Give your baby an impromptu bathroom sink bath. Be careful not to let her grab the hot water handle or throw your toothbrushes into the toilet all while trying not to drop your slippery baby.
Think "How the hell am I going to turn all this into a Valentine's Day gift???" Run out to the store and buy a frame, construction paper and doilies.
Wait until baby is napping, then get crafty!
Here is her final product.
Happy Valentine's Day Daddy!