True story: I am the least crafty person on the planet. Okay, well, maybe not, but I definitely rank in the lower-than-average realm. I am not a creative person and spending what little free time I have doing arts and crafts does not sound appealing. Nor does the post-craft cleanup. But we can’t spend every weekend day at the park or out somewhere, and I know that a little variety is good for my kids’ development and imagination. So reluctantly, I set out in search of easy, mess-free(ish) crafts that didn’t require a trip to a hobby store and that I was least likely to screw up. In addition to meeting my high standards of clean, interesting, and using on-hand items that I didn’t need to go out and purchase, I also needed to come up with things that could entertain a four-year-old and one-year-old at the same time. It was a tall order. Read on for a few of my attempts.
I’ve read a lot of parenting articles and books in my four short years of being a parent, and I’ve concluded that if they’re (mostly) fed, (sometimes) bathed, and (generally) not in harm’s way, I’m doing an okay job.
I came across a few articles and posts about positive parenting (here, here, and here), and it intrigued me enough to consider how I could apply it in my life. There is a broad spectrum of what is considered positive parenting tactics from simply removing corporal punishment (which we haven’t used before) to super crunchy versions that include never saying the word “no” and praising everything a kid does. Everyone can find their happy place on that spectrum. For me, it was simply about trying to change some of my habits in an attempt to see if I could get a different (better) outcome. I’m not a total drill sergeant as a parent, but I’m definitely not some zen yogi patiently humming quietly to myself and smiling through my toddler’s next-level tantrums.
It was 10:45 pm on a Thursday night. My husband was out of the country on business since Sunday. There were two days left in the fiscal year at work and I was slammed. The baby was teething. The toddler was being a contrarian about everything. I was exhausted. And I was lonely. Not just I-need-a-hug-from-my-husband-or-a-friend lonely. Lonely in a deep, deep place. I felt lost. Overwhelmed. Like no one understood me. No one knew what it was like to be me. In that moment. Drowning in a sea of responsibility and expectations.
I looked over at my nightstand to check the monitor to see if I finally won the battle of getting the toddler to bed and a book caught my eye. It was a novelty item I was gifted. A parody of a children’s classic. I had flipped through it once and set it down, not knowing whether it was something that should be placed on the bookshelf, re-gifted, or frankly, tossed in the trash. And an idea struck me.