Why do toddlers suddenly turn fastidious when you have a parent-sanctioned messy project ready for them? Is it in the Being a Toddler handbook that they all read and sign on their second birthday? I imagine that it must be.
Chapter 3, page 9, paragraph 2 "When dining, or pursuing another such mundane activity, make as much of a mess on and around your person as possible. Special points may be given for dismantling your food and wearing it on your head, also for rubbing nasty substances into your outfit especially if it is one designated as SPECIAL (see also Holidays pg. 12)."
"When provided by your parents with an opportunity to make a mess that is being condoned, refuse to participate. Insist that you do not want to be dirty and tell parents that it's gross. If forced to participate (eg. your fingers are dipped in paint for you) SCREAM. Wailing and thrashing are also acceptable responses."
Yesterday we got down to that wonderful bit of family holiday business; carving the jack o'lantern in the backyard. It went something like this:
Grasshopper: "My puddy! No touch Daddy!"
Me: "Actually Grasshopper that pumpkin belongs to our whole family and Daddy has to carve it to make it into a jack o'lantern. You do want a jack o'lantern, don't you?"
JR carving out a lid for the top.
Grasshopper: "Me do it! Me do it!"
Reaching for knife.
JR: "No Grasshopper, no knives for little boys! You can help in just a minute."
Removing top to pumpkin.
Me: "Yea! Here's the fun part, now we get to scoop out the guts!"
Reaching inside of pumpkin and pulling out large handful of guts & seeds.
Grasshopper: "Ewwww, GWOSS!"
JR: "That's why it's fun buddy, we get to be all messy to make a jack o'lantern! See how fun!"
Also reaching inside and making a big show of pulling out pumpkin guts. Tries to give them to Grasshopper.
Grasshopper: "NOOOO! No like! No touch! I get down!"
Scrambles off of chair we'd pulled over to facilitate his participation.
Me: "Aren't you going to help us make the jack o'lantern Grasshopper?"
Grasshopper: "I play sandbox."
Runs away to dump sand over his head.
JR: "Well, that certainly was successful."
Me: "I'll drink to that."