My kids love toothpaste. They'd suck it straight out of the tube if I would let them, although they also find it has far more purposes than just a treat. Gooey and colorful and clumpy, toothpaste is like an easily molded clay. It shifts through their tiny fingers like some high-end art supplies.
Needless to say, I don't find their creative expression quite as liberating as the two of them do. After all, while they are admiring their newest creation as though it is some oozing Mona Lisa upon my bathroom counter, I'm flinging curse words and squirting Clorox Bleach. And, by the way, it has to be bleach because the baby blue batter leaves light stains splattered randomly across the surface. It never fails that the whitening cleaning agent makes it on more than the mess. Many a shirt has been relocated to the trash bin because of an unfortunate encounter with bleach, which is tragic because finding shirts that stretch over all that is my top side is never a simple task.
Just as I emptied a clean load of clothes into the laundry basket three days ago, I walked into the living room to check on my boys. As I poured a cup of milk for my oldest son, my youngest crept slyly into the bathroom. Both boys have a constant radar for the items that are are restricted from them, so anytime a forbidden fruit is down for just a moment, they snatch it up.
And so goes the story with the toothpaste and the freshly washed laundry. Walking back into the laundry room, the puddled mess of blue cream caught my eye immediately. Rolan, who was by then in my bedroom looking for new havoc to reek, had squeezed an entire tube onto the basket. Toothpaste cascaded through the weaved holes into the clothes. Small droplets hit the floor as though they were raining from the sky.
Naturally, Rolan got into a little trouble and I had to rewash each item. The laundry basket was sprayed down with a high-powered water hose. But even as I scolded Rolan, I knew this wouldn't be the last toothpaste spill I would clean, provided the opportunity to get his hands on another tube ever reappears. The total joy from pushing each ounce out so clearly touches the bottom of his heart and any repercussions that might be incurred in the process are well worth it.
I guess all artists are misunderstood.