The first time I painted with John, I spread paint on his tiny palms and placed them flat on the paper to make two perfect hand-prints.
I pressed his tiny fingers in place, held them there for a moment, and then whisked the paper away to save and keep, without ever thinking that I had initiated a habit, or that he would paint with his hands forever more.
"Bam bam bam!" he says as he slaps his palms against sheet after sheet of paper, the paint spreading itself into an indistinct brown blur that I will later regard doubtfully, before guiltily burying it in the recycling bin.
"Bam bam bam!" he says as he points proudly to his hand print masterpieces on the kitchen wall.
"Bam bam bam?" he asks, as he pulls the paint bottles from the cupboard and looks at me beseechingly.
"Yes, you're brilliant at painting aren't you?" I say with disingenuous enthusiasm, handing him big brushes and little brushes, potato prints and sponges, and sighing with frustration as he quickly discards them in favour of slapping his little palms again and again against the soggy sheets of paper.
But today, I discovered something that John will paint with other than his hands:
He raced the cars around the paper, pausing only to dip the wheels in fresh paint, and he "brrrrrooooomed" with joy as the tyre marks tracked back and forth across the paper.
He created masterpiece after masterpiece with those sticky paint-covered cars, and it wasn't until the fourth sheet of paper that his little hands started to 'bam bam bam' happily amidst a sea of paint.
And I watched and smiled, and encouraged him with his art, whilst all the time wondering how long it would be before he would let me forget about this.