I’m far from a perfect parent, and I constantly struggle with feeling like I’m messing it up. One area where I really have to give myself a strong talking to is when I do craft activities with Chublet. I’ve always been someone who like to do things as instructed, have a plan and follow the path – there’s a reason I was never great at jazz trumpet, but excellent at classical… and craft with Chublet challenges all my desires to do things ‘right’.
So with this in mind a couple of weekends ago I succumb to Chublet’s pleading to do the ‘giraffe puzzle’ given to her for christmas. To clarify – the puzzle wasn’t a puzzle at all, but a sweet little collage activity set with 4 partly illustrated boards, several punch out shapes, stickers, glue and a few select glittery bits. The kit came with a little booklet that carefully, through lovely pictures, showed how you went from partly illustrated template, to clever picture by selecting a range of punch out shapes, carefully arranging them on the image, adding stickers in pre-determined locations and finally putting a few glittery touches on the emerging image. All very lovely, and very clearly set out as to how to do it FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS.
So on a rainy day when B was away looking after his Dad, I pulled the box down, showed Chublet the instruction book, helped her do the first bit, explained again that she should look at the picture to see what shapes she needed and where to put them, and then I walked away to tackle the dishes and leave her to it. Less than 5 minutes later, and barely giving me time to get the washing up gloves on, Chublet announces she’s finished the first picture and is ready for the next one. So with a big breath I go and see what she’s done. the internal monologue was going mad ‘leave it alone, she’s done it herself and is proud of that achievement, it doesn’t matter how it looks, etc etc.’ But you know what, I just couldn’t help myself in fixing one little bit – the flowerpot, that should have been at the bottom of the carefully printed vine that spread all over the page, and was instead randomly plonked by Chublet in the middle of nowhere. As she turned to chose the next picture, I carefully re-positioned that flowerpot, the right way up and just where it should have been – those instructions must be followed!
One day I might manage to be a perfect parent by worrying a whole lot less about doing it perfectly correctly.