Now that our girls are in preschool, I feel as if I’m jetting back to my own childhood reveling in the frequent artsy fartsy assignments to commemorate yet another holiday on the calendar. Take Valentine’s Day, for instance. Pre-children, this holiday meant a nice, romantic dinner at an elegant restaurant with my husband, a dozen ruby red roses, chocolates from our favorite chocolatier and champagne to toast our years together. (Yes, I’m lucky to have a husband with such a strong romantic streak.) With children, we now experience this buildup for a week before the actual holiday (just like Halloween). When that day finally arrives, excitement reigns throughout our household as the girls tell us all the cool things that are going to happen that day.
This year, the buildup included our girls reminding me every hour about our homework/project.
L: Mommy, I need a box.
Me: Yes, I know, babygirl.
K: Mommy, I need to decorate my box.
Me: I know, babygirl. We’ll do it soon. (Apparently not a good enough answer)
L: Pappa, I need my box.
T: [blank look] What’s that? (in Norwegian, of course)
L: My mailbox. My box, Pappa! (much louder this time)
K: Me, too, Pappa. I need my box. (just as loud)
Of course, my husband turns to me. I explain the mailbox project for Valentine’s Day. It was outlined in a Memo To Parents a few days before (which he never reads though I leave it out for him on the kitchen counter in plain sight).
T: Oh, OK (to me). L, K, ask Mommy. [Boy, lotsa help there.]
Did I mention the above discussion took place several times throughout the week – increasing tenfold as Valentine’s Day neared?
T has deferred all projects artsy craftsy to me, which to be honest, is quite all right. I’ve been looking forward to this time in their lives. I’ve always loved crafts. And as he knows (well, maybe not), I’m going to defer all things math, science and geography to him (OK well, maybe not all the math). Ha ha ha He’ll get his share someday.
So…the Valentine mailboxes. K wanted pink (no surprise there). L wanted yellow (surprised she settled on a color at all). While I had the best intentions of using a couple used shoeboxes at home, I happened to run into a sale on photo/video storage boxes on sale for 94 cents each. Couldn’t pass it up. These boxes were in far better shape than any shoebox we already possessed. However, it did mean I’d have to paint them – the color had faded in many parts, explaining the major discount. No worries there. I have lots of paint. My crafting instincts were beginning to stir.
The assignment from the teachers said, “…a fun project to do at home with your child…is to create a Valentine mailbox from a shoebox…Let your imagination take over decorating.” This was worded in such a way that made me think the majority of the creation of the boxes would be the parents. At least, that’s how I interpreted it as I read through the lines. However, foremost in my mind, was a blog I’d read on how one blogger mom, Mary Tsao, felt herself becoming a different mother as she worked on a similar project for her daughter.
This mommy became so engrossed in creating this special Valentine mailbox that, in the end, she didn’t allow her daughter to add her own special touches. At some point in the creation process, the box became Mary’s own masterpiece. She was chagrined when she realized she had become one those mothers she derided.
The post was very entertaining. Regrettably, I felt I could identify with it too closely. I could easily see myself taking over such a project with the end result clearly visualized in my head. I resolved to keep this story in the back of my mind. I knew that once I started creating something, I usually wouldn’t stop until it’s done…the way I envision it. So before I painted the boxes, I decided on exactly what and how much I would do. Then, like it or not, I
must will hand it off to my daughters to finish.
– I painted the boxes where needed – the color was faded on parts of it, explaining the major discount.
– Glued foam letters on top – to identify the owner.
– Glued trim on the sides and mail slot – well, that’s just me.
I restrained myself. I let the girls do the rest. With colorful markers, washable crayons, and tons of stickers (from my mountainous scrapbooking collection), they did a fabulous job (if I do say so myself). The mailboxes were a study in contrasts. L’s was an eclectic mix of multi-themed, multi-colored stickers, dark brown polka dots and free hand drawings. Did I mention her base color was yellow? In contrast, K’s box was a monochromatic scheme with solely Valentines-themed stickers of pink and red. I was quite proud of our little project and the boxes did catch the eye of a few parents at the class party.
Next up, Easter. Weaving baskets? Dyeing eggs? I can’t wait for
our their next homework assignment.
Cross-posted at Silicon Valley Moms Blog.