I can be kind of a perfectionist, so I had a major triumph last week during project time with Little Man. Let me back up. I had an even bigger triumphant mommy moment last week when I planned a project for us to do together. Like, ahead of time, not just fishing for some broken crayons and mostly-used-up coloring books in a desperate attempt to entertain. No, I mean I purchased some supplies and had a general plan for some quality activity/bonding time.
Pat me on the back. Oh yeah.
Thanks to the ever-wondrous dollar bins at Target, I found some foam leaves, and then some googly eyes in the craft aisle. My idea was to make little leaf men and then hang them up somewhere so we could have a (semi)permanent reminder of quality mother-son bonding time.
Great idea, right?
This is what I thought the leaf men would look like:
This is what they actually looked like:
It really took a lot, and I mean a lot, of willpower on my part not to be all “hey….why don’t we try one with just two eyes?” He actually did choose to make a few conventional leaf men:
After we made all these slightly Tim Burton-esque leaf people, I used a cardboard rectangle that we happened to have on hand and drew a tree, grass, sky, and clouds (and an airplane, upon Little Man’s request). Then I affixed some tape to the board and voila! A tree for all the leaves!
While the project didn’t exactly turn out the way I envisioned, I was somehow able to remember that the point of having this activity time was to spend time with Little Man, and to let his own vision of creativity shine. You know, when I get perfect-looking school projects, it’s nice, and they look great, but I know it’s not really what my child would do if left to his own devices. No, this is a child who wants to make monster/alien looking leaves. Because that’s what he sees. That’s where his mind is taking him. And if I don’t ever let him express himself, but always
force guide him to do what I imagine things should look like, how will I ever really get to know him, and how will he develop the confidence to be himself?
So this was our project. Look how happy he is. He played with those leaves for a good part of the afternoon.
How do you foster your child’s uniqueness and creativity?