Phoebe is growing more and more independent. She has her own sense of style, and is very creative. She picks out her outfits, she makes up projects and even games. She likes to do things her way, and is happiest when she able to do things herself. Not by herself, as in alone–she loves to have company. But she likes to be the one doing the tasks, and making the decisions. I enjoy seeing her figuring things out, and becoming more competent at a wide range of things.
For Valentine’s Day, the kids in Phoebe’s pre-K class were invited to bring in valentines for each of the other 17 kids in the class. Phoebe decided that she wanted to make all her own valentines, for the kids in her class. (And for the teachers. And for a few other friends.) Since I definitely have a preference for the hand-made and the home-made over the mass-produced and the store-bought, I did not discourage her from this plan. We even had an extra day, I reassured myself, since Phoebe wouldn’t be going to preschool till Tuesday. Of course, I had in mind that I could do a lot of the tasks with or for her–cutting card stock with the big paper cutter, and snipping other paper things as needed with the scissors for her to use as decorations. (I am a whiz with the scissors.)
But Phoebe had her own plans. For a start, she wanted to cut all the cards herself with her own little scissors. And she wanted to do all the decorating herself. And the writing.
Due to the chaos that is our life, which was compounded by a flat tire on one of the cars, Phoebe didn’t really get going on her project till Sunday. She worked hard at the project, cutting and drawing and writing. (I kept her company, and made my own valentine.) By Sunday night, however, she had only finished 8 cards.
Monday was a work day for me and a daycare day for Phoebe, then Phoebe had karate class in the evening. She’d finished a couple more designs before dinner, but still had many more to make. By the time we finished dinner, it was heading on towards 7:00, when we would ordinarily be getting going with the bedtime process.
I found myself saying to John: “I really love to see her wanting to do things her way, but sometimes she needs to understand that there just isn’t time to do everything she wants, just how she wants to.”
John looked at me.
“What?” I said. John smirked in reply.
“Oh, you mean she sounds like me. With my research.”
“Like you with everything that you ever do.”
But I had worked out a revised plan, to at least get the 17 cards done for the kids in her class. I told Phoebe I would cut out some hearts for her with different papers–I even enticed her with sparkly papers! Then she could write on the cards and glue hearts on, rather than drawing pictures on each card. Phoebe agreed that we could wait for another day to make cards for the other people on her list.
John got Theo off to bed, and Phoebe and I settled down to work. We got a method down by which she would pick several hearts for a card, then I would put glue on the hearts, and she’d stick them on like stickers. When things went pretty fast, I even agreed that she could draw on embellishments. (She wanted each card to have a face.) We finished the cards by 8:30 or so, and Phoebe still felt that she’d had control of the artistic direction for each of the cards.
(Remind me to tell you what’s going on with my research…)