Thursday, June 13, 2013

learning from kids

On Sunday Owen watched a Youtube video, showing how to make a Star Wars Angry Bird from modeling clay.
It was one of those, Star Wars + Angry Birds + DIY = love at first sight things.

He couldn't stop thinking about the video....or talking about it....or watching it a few more times.   Then he made me sit down and watch it with him, for 16 minutes. 
And surprisingly it was pretty fun--almost hypnotic with the dad in the video calmly explaining the steps and some sweet jazz music in the background (you should check out the channel--Evan Tube.  It's a boy and his dad doing all sorts of star wars-y, lego, science-y stuff.  Really fun for kids).
He became obsessed with this idea--that he could actually make an Angry Bird model.  And he wanted to do it right then!  I told him that we would do it in the morning (since it was 9pm and way past his bedtime)....and that we would try making it fro Play-doh (since that would be easier for a 5 year-old than modeling clay).  He quickly reminded me, however, that we were out of black Play-doh!  
So I assured him that first thing in the morning when we were all dressed, had breakfast, brushed our teeth, made our beds, etc. that we would go to Target and buy more Play-doh. 
(Score for both of us).
And he went to bed giddy with anticipation about Target and Angry Bird supplies.
Woulda thought it was Christmas eve.
So mid-morning after swinging by Target, Clara went down for her nap and we started rolling and molding our dough.  And by we, I mean mostly me.  And we came up with pretty sweet Luke!  Owen helped with little things along the way and reminded me of the proper steps (since he'd watched the video 7 times now).

Then we baked Luke in the oven to harden him up a bit, which I've done in the past with Play-doh but never on such 3-D creations.  And.  Well.  The playdough did get hard, but it also shrunk a bit and and his belt/light saber fell off.  It wasn't too successful.
And we were both a little bummed.
So.  Owen decided we should try the clay version.
And he went to bed that night dreaming of a trip to Hobby Lobby, dancing down aisles of colorful clay....which we did the next morning. And I danced around because all the clay was on sale!
We bought tons of different colors and tons of different brands to try out.
Then, same routine as the day before--put Clara down for a nap and we started rolling and sculpting.  This time Lucy wanted in on the action so we made a Princess Leia too.
And while it was fun to see the little birds come together....I'll admit, it was also kind of "not fun".
There, I've said it.

It wasn't how I would choose to spend the precious nap-time hours, two days in a row.
But it was one of those projects where the kids really needed help.  I was pretty much doing every step for them, while they watched, since I could just imagine the melt-down that might happen as Owen tried to cut those angry eyebrows by himself and they just didn't work right, and he'd be yelling from the other room "mom! It's not working!"

It was okay. I loved that the kids loved it.  And we were making cool stuff.
So I hung out, made birds, and an hour later we had these two siblings:
They turned out great! The kids were totally excited. 
"Good job mom!"
I was feeling better about the whole activity.
Then we put them in the oven at 220-250 degrees, as recommended in the video.
And this happened:
It was so lame.
We were so bummed.
I was probably more bummed than the kids....thinking about all the things I really, really needed to get done in the small 2-hour window I have each day while Clara naps.   And I had just spent it molding clay that melted into a pile of goo.  Ugh.  The stress was building inside of me.  Do you have those moments?
The stress of summer, where you're so happy to have a free schedule and to have kids home, and to  go swimming, and play till the sun goes down.  But at the same time you realize that you're getting nothing done?  (nothing on your working-mom schedule that is).
You can see why I've been blogging only once, maybe twice a week these days.

I had reached my melting point.
And I walked away, with Owen asking if we could make another one.
I just couldn't do it.
I needed to check an adult-task off my list or I'd go insane from constant kid-life.  "We can try one again tomorrow or maybe Dad can help you later.  But I just have to work on a few things before Clara wakes up."
I had just caught a fish for my son and it fed him for 10 minutes.
Maybe I should have taught him to fish instead.
Or maybe when there's enough determination, he'll teach himself to fish.

And while I quickly sewed another pair of shorts for the new KID Shorts pattern, Owen and Lucy tip-toed into the room and set-up their new creations.
For the past hour, they giggled and laughed and had rolled out their own versions of Luke and Leia.
I completely loved it!
Better than what I had done!
They were so proud.
And immediately started playing.
They even put the melty birds in the game too, which made me even happier--that they didn't care about perfection, they just wanted to have fun....and they decided that swirly, melty clay looks kind of cool afterall. 
Lesson #1 of the day, learned from my kids:  Let go and let them learn.
Lesson #2: Figure out how to bake clay properly
Lesson #3: Summer is long and short.  So soak it up.
And don't kiss your brother, or one day you might regret it.
Have a great Thursday!

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