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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I've Since Learned to Keep My Hands on My Own Turkey.

I may have mentioned before that I have mild control issues. Ahem.

Which is why about oh, the first 100 times or so that I've attempted gettin' crafty with my Bean, the whole SHEbang has ended with her frantically sucking her fingers and begging for hotmilk (the magic elixir of tranquility) and me seething, gritting my teeth and vowing that neither of our hands will ever touch another object bearing the names Crayola®, Elmer's®, Prang®, or, shudder, Fiskars®. My daughter and I could not craft together. The two of us attempting to make art together was basically Expressionism and Realism duking it out at the kitchen table over a bathroom tissue roll and a purple glue stick. Or Felix and Oscar going head to head in a curmudgeon-off, armed only with a couple ounces of glitter and a yogurt cup full of chartreuse tempera paint.

Because she WILL do things as she sees fit. And I WILL become frustrated that YOU'VE GOT THE TURKEY'S FEET COMING OUT OF ITS SOLAR PLEXUS, FOR PETE'S SAKE, CHILD! and attempt to wrestle the project from her eager, determined hands and MAKE IT RIGHT! And within minutes, she's sniffling pitifully as she sits watching me self-righteously amputate and reattach the turkey's feet WHERE THEY BELONG.

Oh there have been such good times for both of us at that crafting table. Such Good Times indeed.

The let's do a fun kid craft let's watch Mama's perfectionist tendencies turn a pleasant afternoon activity into 10 years worth of therapy when you're 26 system needed an overhaul. The kid needs to be free to do things the way she wants to do them. She needs instructions, yes, and perhaps visual aids, but she doesn't need my mother ooops! I mean HER mother hanging over her and directing every glue blob and marker stroke. And I needed to stop feeling like Sybil everytime we did a craft.

So NOW, when, during naptime, it's time for me to research and prepare for the afternoon's craft, I pull together all of the supplies to do the craft TIMES TWO. That way I get to do the craft step by step EXACTLY THE WAY IT SHOULD BE DONE, and Bean gets to follow along behind me, step by step, watching and learning and STILL NOT DOING IT RIGHT but having a great time and loving spending relaxed, productive, fun learning time with her Mama, not some crazy old anal-retentive bat dressed up in Mama's clothes.

Here's how we made a cute Gingerbread Boy on Monday.

Bean's little stack of supplies (the gingerbread boy is assembled but not glued, so she can see what he'll look like) awaits her creative hand!

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I always try to save one simple cutting task for Bean, because she loves to use her scissors and she's getting pretty good with them! In this craft, she cut along a straight line to make Gingy's green hat.

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Next she moved on to sticking all Gingy's little parts on, using her glue stick.

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And then we got out the crayons, because no project is complete without a bit of coloring!

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Gingy's baby gets a FACE!

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And here's the final product with his beautiful, pleased creator!

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You'll find the pattern for Gingy here, along with patterns for loads of other cute preschool craft ideas. The whole website, as you'll see, is chock full of fun things to do with your preschooler... I've bookmarked it and I'm there almost every day.

Today we're making Curious George puppets out of bathroom tissue rolls!

Hmmm... I can't wait to see where she puts HIS feet!

25 comments:

  1. She did a fantastic job on that gingerbread man! Way to relax mama!

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  2. I have the same problem - always think I should "help". Her gingerbread man turned out great and I think you are a pretty awesome Mom to spend time doing thses fun things with her!

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  3. Those are great! Thanks for the link! My kindergartner and I make a lot of crafts, especially around the holidays. She likes to decorate the house with all her fabulous drawings.
    Bean did a great job on her gingerbread man!!

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  4. What a cool idea and thanks for the link. There are a lot of really great ideas that I would just never think up by myself.

    And I love the gingerbread man!

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  5. I understand completly! I am the same way with my kids! Thanks for the idea of doing one for yourself to make along with the kids! I may have to try that.

    Bean, you did a wonderful job on Gingerbread Man. He looks good enough to eat!

    Hugs

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  6. Oops - I mean I understand COMPLETELY! It wuld help if I culd spel :-)

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  7. I share that same perfectionist quality with you, unfortunantly. I so want my kids to love to sew like I do but I have considered paying someone else to teach them. Argh! I tried to teach my daughter a new board game a while back and nearly ripped out my hair, and in all honesty, hers. I just keep reminding myself "learning is a process if they knew how to do it they wouldn't be needing to learn it. Mistakes and questions and questions and questions are okay." Can you guess the question thing was an issue in trying to play the board game? LOL! Go figure that same daughter is also a perfectionist. Hmmmm...
    Smiles!

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  8. Oh, Mama. I'm glad you've now got a turkey of your own. I was never allowed to make mistakes as a kid, so I tend to go overboard in the opposite direction. You wouldn't really want a keepsake drawer of perfect gingerbread men, now would you? It'll be much more fun to look back at a gingie w/ his hat on is @**.

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  9. tee hee...this post is fun!
    If you have time...go read an old post of mine...
    http://livingandlovingeveryminuteofit.blogspot.com/2007/05/what-is-it-all-about.html

    I think a lot of us go thru this...it is hard to let them just do what they do....but I think it is totally worth it if we can. :)

    GREAT POST! thank you for sharing it. I already have a craft set up for SB and I this weekend. WE did some cutting already last night to prepare. :)

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  10. I have given up on trying to make their crafts perfect. It is more fun just to watch them and see what they create.

    I think you found a great solution!

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  11. What cute pictures! The Baby and I were going to make gingerbread men tomorrow - now I have a craft to go along with it. Thanks!

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  12. Deep breath! In ... Out ...

    Okay ... if you can do this then so can I, darn it!!

    Our first "Mommy Hands Free" craft will start tomorrow. Or Friday. Or we'll just start fresh next week.

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  13. HOLY SMOKES I am laughing so hard!!
    You have the mind of my husband!!
    I, however, was an art teacher, the kind that would DRIVE YOU NUTS!

    "If you want the gingerbread man's eyes on his belly - I think that would be wonderfully unique! Go for it!"

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Sorry...just picturing your next blog about Curious George!

    I am bookmarking you - your writing is FANTASTIC!

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  14. Cute cute cute! She is great with those scissors and look at that perfect crayon grip! It's so great that you do art stuff with her but oh goodness do I know how stressful it can be! Sometimes I have to turn my head and not look!

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  15. I am NOT a perfectionist when it comes to crafts--process, not product. When I taught preschool at a daycare, I used to shake my head at teachers who did the crafts for the kids. Bean looks like she is doing GREAT, though. I haven't dared to give Phoebe scissors yet.

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  16. this is one area where I can stay calm.

    but as soon as I step away from the crafts and look around the rest of my house I turn into crazy lady...

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  17. Her little hands are so sweet!

    This reminds me of my mom. I was playing with markers when I was about 4 and I got bored when she went to take a phone call and began dipping the markers into my drink. She didn't let me have any again until I was required to have them in 8th grade!

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  18. You just give yourself an A+ for effort, Mama. When she's older, all she'll remember is "when I was little and we used to do crafts together."

    Just wait! Kids are soooo forgiving, praise the Lord...

    Jeanne (who doesn't DO crafts--at all!)

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  19. I'm dying laughing here! When my son painted his little pumpkin with gobs of blue, pink, and purple paint I happily accepted it as Learning. But when he pasted the googly eyes a full inch off center from each other I almost burst a blood vessel trying to restrain myself from repositioning them when he went down for his nap. Thanks for the link--you're really on the ball getting into Christmas!

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  20. I have the same problem. You would have been laughing watching Mari and I when we taught the Kindergarten class on Wednesday night at church. We always had a craft and there we were pretty much doing the craft for them.

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  21. Ha I was just commenting on this sort of thing on Alice's blog. My daughter would drive you completely out of your mind!

    She has to do EVERYTHING by herself, will NOT follow what I do and is SURE she knows a much better way for it all to fit together anyway! I gave up on making things look as they should a long time ago and now just revel in glittery abstract creations!

    I have a plan for Xmas cards this year thogh. I'm going to let her have her independant way with the plain cards and glitter and glue and then just stick a pre-cut snowflake shape on top! Voila!

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  22. Megan, why do I get the label of anal retentive control freak? Sounds like it runs in the family!absolutely LOVE your revelations about yourself and the family--getting to know you. I think Bean's gingerbread man thing is nearly perfect! Love, Aunt Joy

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  23. You two are just perfect for each other. I'd say you two were made for each other. She will teach you more than you will ever be able to teach her. Indeed, it is hard to just let them be without interupting them and telling them how they SHOULD be. (Lord knows, we KNOW how it should be - but that is not the way it turns out to be most times.) I used to re-fold clothes my husband folded so I could put them in the drawer the 'right' way. NOT ANYMORE. I'm just thankful that they are folded and I'm not the one who did the folding! I used to make sure the house was SPOTLESS before ANYONE set foot in it. NOT ANYMORE. I get done what I can get done and I go to bed at a reasonable hour. Maybe it will be better next time I have company, maybe not.

    I love her little gingerbread person too.

    xoxo Julie

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  24. Mr Gingerbread man looks great. Reading thru your comments I see a lot of us mommies have issues with this. I bought a bag of stuff for Gracie and I to make ornaments. We have yet to sit down and do it. I need to wait for a day I am chilled out

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  25. (big giggle) Breathe, mommy!! I guess I figure if they're crafting, it's their creativity at work. Of course, I've got 4 kids and Hubbers, so my control issues are long long gone - "outdid" by theirs. Especially by TheBoy - at 3, king of the domain.

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Thoughts?