You know what kids seem to love (when they’re old enough to stop shoving everything in their mouth)? Sculpting stuff.
Play-doh was great when Myla was younger–easy going, soft enough for little hands to squish. We’ve tried lots of different clays since she’s gotten older, and they all have their own issues (getting stuck in the carpet, for one). But when our craft store had multicolored, never-drying clay on sale, we gave it a whirl. I thought she could have fun building and rebuilding things in a variety of colors.
Of course, she sculpted like a MILLION awesome little figures, and they don’t dry, and she won’t re-use the clay to build something else, and they’re each incredibly amazing, but….now what am I supposed to do with them? I’ve daydreamed of lying them all on a piece of plywood and sealing the whole thing with resin…but that might be a bit beyond my skill level.
There are times as a parent (especially when the husband was deployed and I had a project I desperately wanted to work on, or when I was sick, or–heck–when there were everyday household things that really needed to get done) when art projects are a great distraction. And there are times I have used art projects the way some parents use television (although HEY–there are MANY times when television is absolutely called for and helpful, believe me).
And man o MAN! Did she sculpt! Mermaids are her favorite lately. She says “I am IN to mermaids right now.” But since she’s an artsy art girl, plain ol’ mermaids aren’t enough, and she does fun things, like add a little old-school mobile phone that was a mystery piece in one of my Munny kits….
(Don’t mind the skin change; it was important to her that Storm’s skin be darker, and the assorted Duplos we have (which I purchased in a big random bag from a secondhand store) didn’t include a darker one.)
There are times you are busy, and your kid is happily playing next to you, and you see that everything is going well, but because you’re engrossed in what you’re doing yourself, you don’t REALLY notice what exactly she’s doing until she shows you this:
…which is, of course, a Duplo giraffe in a Nightcrawler costume that she made out of clay. Complete with tail.
And those are the times when your jaw drops, and you stop what you’re doing, get down on the floor to play with her, and really SEE her ideas, get a glimpse of how her little brain works, and all the little creative things she’s doing, because DANG it’s cool.
Once, when I was younger and walking home from school, I remember thinking to myself, “I’ve never seen a real four-leaf clover.” So I sat down right there in the grass and I SWEAR after a few quick brushes with my hands, I found one straight away. I’ve done that quite a few times since. I’ll sit in the grass and think, “I wonder if I can find another four-leaf clover?” and will find them. I’ve found about a dozen, and taped them all in sketchbooks or scrapbooks or in shadowboxes here and there in our house.
Those things are ALWAYS there. You just have to LOOK for them. It’s so easy to pass them by, but they’re the things that pack the biggest punch.
And it’s those little things that can make a rough day feel SO much better in an instant. It’s always the little things.