I had never done tie dye, not as an adult anyway, but the kit I ordered pretty much spoon-fed the technique, and the YouTube videos I got all exclaimed that "you just can't go wrong!!!" so I was willing to give it a shot. I did as much prep work as I could while the kids played elsewhere- set up shop in the garage, mixed dyes and prepped the dresses that the girls were going to add color to. And mentally prepared myself too, to let go and let them have this experience without me being worried about what the final product would look like. Not an easy task, but when things were ready Sophia and Olivia were chomping at the bit to try it!
First up was Soph. I explained to her that she could squirt the dye on or she could use the brush to put it on her dress. I told her she could use a little or a lot, and explained a bit about how the rubber bands would keep some parts of the dress white... she half listened, grabbed a dye bottle and started squirting.
She went about her work with typical Sophia gusto. No questions asked, totally in the moment, ignoring my request that she pause to have her picture taken, and done in 60 seconds. Just done. "Was it fun?" I asked this poor child who had clearly inherited my attention span. "Yeah, Mom!" she called back over her shoulder, on her way to her next venture.
Up next was Liv. She listened carefully as I explained to her techniques and options, and had a lot of questions about "what would happen if..." and "why can't I..." before she even picked up a brush. She was thoughtful and meticulous about her dying, turning the garment over to be sure she had done a thorough job. A few minutes in, she informed me "I am Rapunzel painting this dress," not surprising as I get regular updates about who she is, usually involving a princess or a Star Wars character. (She also usually identifies Soph as her sidekick, as in "I am Ariel and Sophie is Flounder," and Soph usually plays along for a minute, or shrugs and goes about her business.) She clearly enjoyed watching the dye spread through the folds, and wanted to know if I thought she was done.
My yin and my yang. So incredibly different. Answering for all humanity the "nature vs. nurture" question. From their first breaths, these two were who they were. Sure, nurture played into it to some extent, but to a much lesser extent than I would have thought 5 years ago.
The funny thing is... despite their marked differences, the final products are both beautiful.
And the dresses didn't come out too bad either.