Now in Technicolor

Even if I have no intentions of doing any painting, each time I'm in a home improvement store I gravitate toward the paint chips.  I wonder who gets to name the paint colors because I think I'd like their job.  (If I weren't busy being a mother of three and teaching, I'd also like to have the job of writing the daily specials in restaurants on their menu chalkboards. I doubt that this would be a full-time gig, of course, but a girl can dream.)

But back to those paint chips. Suede. Cloudy MorningDelancy GreenNatural TaupeSage Smoke.  These are the colors that make up the palette of my house.

On close inspection, you'll realize that all of the adult areas of the house -- the kitchen, the living room, the powder room, the hallways, and our bedroom -- are neutral.  They're more eggshell than extreme, more subtle than sensational.

This is until you visit the girls' rooms: one is awash in a fresh periwinkle entitled Surrender; the other blooms in the hue Lilac Willow.

There's nothing beige about childhood. Very little is halfhearted.  I've watched one of my children cry with abandon when she broke a beaded necklace bought at a garage sale for twenty-five cents.  It was an absolute overreaction, but it revealed something.  Kids are fully invested, fully aware.

The life of a child is more technicolor than neutral.

Case in point, my five-year-old lives without fashion constraints.  She never worries about clashing patterns or coordinating colors.  Last week, she pulled together this outfit:

Her backpack, which is nearly her own size, is so bright that it may well glow in the dark:

And when she first ran upstairs to try on her soccer cleats and shin guards to practice with Joel in the backyard, she emerged from her room wearing this:

I hope that she never loses this vibrancy. 

And if I ever get to name paint colors (Benjamin Moore, are you hiring?), I know who to take with me.

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