When I first discovered Pip and Bean on Etsy a year ago, to say that my kids and I fell head over heels in love with the company and amazing capes would be a major understatement. Since then, my sons Gavin and Finley have filled their closets with incredible capes and rarely does a day go by that I don’t see one of them running through the house, cape flying behind them. The capes have made appearances during grocery shopping trips, visits to the high school where I teach, dress-up days at school, Halloween, dinners with friends, and every vacation we have taken. Gavin’s and Finley’s capes are definitely well-loved, and seeing their imaginations flourish as a result is one of my favorite parts of being their mom.
Through the photos I have taken of Gavin and Finley in their capes, I have come to know and love the hard-working mama behind Pip and Bean, Alyssa. Early on in our friendship, Alyssa became aware that my youngest son, Finley, has autism and is nonverbal. When I talk about my plans for photo shoots of Gavin and Finley in their capes, Alyssa is always incredibly considerate of Finley and his special needs. Most importantly, Alyssa is always supportive and genuinely happy that her capes have brought so much joy to my boys. As a result, when Alyssa and I first talked about doing a “Trash the Cape” session, her first concern was about Finley. First and foremost, she wanted to know if Finley would be okay with making a mess in one of his capes.
I think the pictures you will see below will speak for themselves in that regard!
Autism is a spectrum, and each person with autism experiences things differently. For some people with autism, messes can be problematic. For others, making a mess is incredibly fun. For Finley, making a mess with paint is basically a dream come true. Both my boys have always loved to paint, but Finley completely lights up anytime he is allowed to get his hands into paint. When I talked to Alyssa about doing this session, I knew that my boys would be having a paint fight.
The truth be told, taking these photos was the most fun I have ever had while taking photos, and I have been doing photo sessions for myself and for paid clients for a few years now. And to be honest, I really believe that taking these photos was also the most fun Gavin and Finley have ever had, period.
The pure joy my boys experienced during their paint fight is something I will never forget, and the photos I took will forever be some of my favorites. Not only did Gavin and Finley both enjoy the freedom to make as big of a mess as they wanted, but I had the amazing opportunity to witness genuine interaction between the two of them as I snapped away behind my camera. Finley has made great strides with socialization skills in the last year, but the moments when I see him seek out his big brother and play with him are still moments I hold tightly to my heart.
Don’t worry—the paint was nontoxic and washable. In fact, as hard as my boys tried to trash their capes, the capes came completely clean after a quick wash…as did their clothes, hair, finger nails, eyelashes, ear canals, and every other square inch of them that got covered in paint!
The mess was worth every drop of paint. The photos? I’m obsessed with them. Check them out below and let me and Alyssa know what you think. After that, grab your littles some of the blank capes in the shop and go make some messes…and memories!