Monday, February 8, 2010

And So It Begins. . .

the Mom projects. It turns out that Absurdist Tot's playschool (daycare) is having a Valentine's Day party on Thursday. I now have a list of all the kids' names. Do I buy the little Valentines that I remember from elementary school and just put names on them, which I can do easily and quickly one night after AT's in bed? Or do I buy red construction paper, cut our hearts, and begin our first craft project together? To me, this seems like a choice between convenient, yet anonymous commercialism and a handmade but time-consuming, potentially frustrating, potentially fun project. Of course, I am reading too much into it -- not every kid project must bear the weight of my deciding what kind of parent and person I am. But perhaps because I've been thinking about so much lately about how I need therapy to work through some really big issues from my own childhood and how I don't do enough with AT, this choice seems weighty and important. Especially because I'm always touting the intrinsic goodness of the handmade gift. Obviously, this means that I'm going to have to get myself to the drugstore and buy some construction paper and glue. We have some Sesame Street stickers that I thought were a silly purchase of mine at the time (ha! something in me knew better in that JoAnn's line), and I could get crayons, markers, more stickers, or, dare I say it, fingerpaint. The whole thing sounds daunting, especially in our Berber-carpeted apartment. But I was just reading about craft ideas for children his age last night (and saw many different things, including the very real idea that he is simply too young and the best play is self-directed -- of course, they all touted the goodness of pudding fingerpainting which is only good if you don't mind your child eating that much sugar).

I have long wanted to get his little handprint. It's no good always meaning to do something, but not getting to it from just not taking the trouble to get it done. AT needs a better example than that. He needs a good role model. Which is why I need therapy. Having such a happy child and not wanting to screw him up with my baggage is a great motivator.

4 comments:

Sisyphus said...

wait, isn't Absurdist tot less than a year old? And he can't read? presumably none of the other kids can either, which makes the entire valentine thing pointless. Except that means the real point of a valentine exchange is to impress other parents or engage in competitive behavior against *them.*

I vote that you completely opt out of the whole silliness and go take a nap. Maybe play sugar-free pudding painting with the kid when you wake up from the nap.

Maude Lebowski said...

Sis, he's almost a year and a half I think, if I may be so bold to answer for EE there, but you make a great point. I was going to say that since he's still so young, and can't really participate--he can't cut, he can't write, he can't glue anything, and all you're going to do is spend time trying to get him NOT to play with the scissors, get the little premade ones. If he were three or four or five, yeah, you could have this argument with yourself. And yes, I don't have kids, but you don't need to worry yourself with this kind of craft project with him yet. Maybe next year this might be more feasible.

Earnest English said...

Yes, as Maude notes, he's over a year. He's fifteen and a half months. I would've agreed with both of you that this is silliness if AT couldn't participate. But AT came home from playschool with three projects -- that is, pages upon which he had placed little (glued by adults) parts. And I talked to his teacher and she said he was really enjoying it by the third one. So while he can't cut out hearts or write anything on them, he can affix shapes to the pages and maybe can even place some stickers on them. I also got the special triangle training crayons and some washable markers. Maybe it will all go terribly badly. But there's no harm in trying. And encouraging him to make a mess and try something new (really to me, not to him) for other kids is not a bad thing. I always get the feeling with him if I wait until it's all going to go well, he'll be totally past it. I like the idea of him being spurred onto something new with me. After all, this is a kid who I can't read to because he wants to flip, flip, flip the pages -- and too often eat the book. So he's not getting read to.

Sis: I'm with you that so often school activities are idiot competitive things between parents. My step-mother is constantly getting caught up in such things and what ends up happening is that she doesn't include her children in the projects at all, making them less than pointless (sending a bad message about these things, I think). But this place really doesn't have that vibe at all. While there are lots of chain places around here with an okay but almost clinical air to them, some of them really super structured (not at all what I want for AT; he'll get enough bogus structure and messages to stay still and behave from public school, if I send him) with achieve-achieve-achieve and compete parents, this place is very mellow, very friendly and unpretentious. I don't think that this is set up to be an impress and compete exercise. They don't have the other earmarks of that that I've seen at other places (like snack day for parents).

Maude Lebowski said...

oh, well, if that's the case, then why not? buy the premade ones as a back up in case it gets out of control or he ceases to enjoy it, and then you're covered.