I’ve learned at least one thing from my oldest son’s kindergarten class — that kindergarten art assignments are really art assignments for parents.
Take this dragonfly for instance. Do you think my 5-year-old put this together? Yeah, right. That dragonfly — which was for a project on insects — was a Pinterest find by my lovely and talented wife. It’s body is an egg carton, with a cut-up ping pong ball for eyes and a wire coat hangar for wings. Pipe cleaners make up the legs. The only contribution from 5 is the paint. He did a pretty good job, though.
This is the thing about parenting — it brings out skills that we never knew we had.
Take these masks for instance. When my wife and I were planning a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party for our 4-year-old we debated about buying a bunch of silly, cheesy toys from Wal-Mart for goodie bags that were guaranteed to fall apart with hours. Then, my wife had a stroke of genius. “Why don’t I make them ooze and a mask?” she said.
“Would that be cheaper than buying a bunch of stuff from Wal-Mart,” I asked.
“Yes,” she said.
“Let’s do it,” I said.
The masks were easy, according to her. If it were me, I’d still be trying to cut out the fabric and figure out how to affix the elastic.
The ooze was a different story. That took Borax, water, glue and food coloring. But you know what? She did an amazing job, got the kids excited to do it and I’ll bet that none of the kids who came to the party have ever or will ever receive TMNT ooze as a party favor.
This is not my wife’s first rodeo, though.
She made these capes for their Superhero party, complete with each kid’s initial on it and for our son’s 3 -year-old party we made (she, mostly) made this rocket ship photo booth.
She’s upped the ante with her gifts and accoutrements and I couldn’t be prouder of her. What I love about it is that she is giving our kids memories of their most treasured moments that will be unforgettable. By her willingness to take risks and indulge her crafty side, she is running the risk of failing but also of providing our kids and their friends something unique and distinctive. We’ve had more than one parent marvel at her ability and several tell us years later that their kids still play with the capes that she made for them.
My wife has always tapped into the sense of wonderment and joy that only parents can bring to their kids. By taking the time and putting in the extra effort to make their heroes come alive, she has set a standard for them to anticipate her creations and make their imaginations run wild as they play out their favorite scenarios in their mind.
But her biggest project might await — 5 wants a dinosaur birthday party in a few weeks and I’m waiting to see whether she makes a life size T Rex out of paper maiche. That will be a subject for another blog.