I spent a few days fretting over what Annie and I should get Heather for Mother’s Day until I remembered that the thing Heather longed for wasn’t jewelry or a spa day, but a present made by Annie herself. Since Annie is just three, I wasn’t exactly sure what she could make until I remembered this place at our local mall where you can paint ceramics. I told Annie we were going to go on a super-secret, mama present mission, and then we slipped out the door past Heather under the guise of going to the park. Mwahahaha! I should have been a spy!

At the ceramics place Annie was so excited about doing some painting that she was practically (make that literally) jumping up and down:

“Paint! I want to paint!”

I selected a serving platter for us to paint on, then gave Annie free reign to pick some decorative charms to attach to the top. She selected a heart (“Because I love Mama”), a dog’s face (“Like Rigby”), a flower (“Because Mama likes flowers”), and a charm I told her had “#1 Mom” written on it.

Next it was time to pick colors to paint. Annie chose green (“like Kermit,” she said), pink, blue, and black. We then took a seat ready to create a modern art masterpiece.

Things had yet to get messy.

I used the black paint to write “Happy Mother’s Day” on the top border and “2013” on the bottom. I also added two pink hearts (representing Maddie and Annie) next to a blue heart (representing The Acrobat). That, though, was to be my total contribution. This was Annie’s show, and I was going to let her paint whatever she wanted.


Annie did a great job, slathering the plate with an interesting swirl of green, blue and pink. Eventually, though, she added the black, and it very quickly became the dominant color. To bring back a little brightness, I suggested Annie add dots, which she was more than happy to do:


The final touch was suggested by the clerk, who slathered Annie’s hand with white paint and pressed it onto the plate to make a hand-print. Voila! Our masterpiece was ready for the kiln:

Before the kiln

On the way home Annie suddenly gasped and yelled, “Dada! We forgot Mama’s present!” I explained our plate had to be put in a kiln so that our painting could never be wiped off, and that we could pick it up in a few days.

“But I want to give it to Mama now!” she said.

I told her she was going to have to be patient, as it was only Monday and Mother’s Day was not until Sunday. Every day after that she asked, “Is it Mother’s Day today?” When I told her it wasn’t, she then asked, “Can I tell Mama what we made for her?” “No, Annie,” I told her. “You have to wait so it will be special on Mother’s Day!” This was all very frustrating for Annie, and the reason why she insisted we present our gift to Heather on the early side Sunday. (Sorry, Heather!)

Heather loved her gift despite the hour, and said that she can’t wait to pull it out in twenty years and see her little Annie’s handiwork. If the 2033 Annie asks why there’s so much black on it, I’ve decided I will explain that it’s because when she was three she went through a “Goth” period.


Happy Mother’s Day, Heather. We love you!