A year ago, Doug and I took the two youngest children to AC BuyMoore for supplies to make Valentine boxes. You know, the homework assignment to decorate a shoebox for classmates to put tiny cards, candy and stickers in on Valentine’s Day. Teachers now make this assignment with the caveat, “Be creative.” Anyway, Doug and Sawyer walked into the store with the mission of collecting supplies for an R2D2 box. While they wandered the store doing their thing, SuperTween and I (1) looked at the container choices, (2) chose a container, (3) imagined what that container could become and (4) decided how to do it based on the supplies in the store and at home.
When we got home, Sawyer hovered over Doug for the 30 seconds that Sawyer’s attention span lasts. Sawyer then ran off to play Legos, while Doug played with his old drafting class tools. SuperTween and I teamed up and got her box done in less than an hour. Doug stayed up the entire night building Sawyer’s box. In the morning, both children were thrilled and Doug promptly fell asleep for 12 hours.
Fast forward a year and we once again found ourselves at AC BuyMoore with the youngest children. Just like last year, Sawyer had declared exactly what his Valentine box was going to be while SuperTween went looking for inspiration. I suggested that since last year, Mom was SuperTween’s helper and Dad was Sawyer’s helper, maybe we should switch helpers. There was some reminiscing about how the previous year’s project went and Sawyer announced that, “Mom’s helping everybody this year.” I could see Doug’s thought bubble laughing in relief.
SuperTween picked out the box she wanted to use, declared what she wanted it to be and made it almost entirely herself. My only contribution was holding the box and rotating it while SuperTween threw glitter at
my face her box.
Sawyer’s box had to be hunted down and the debate about what materials to use took DAYS. Once the right materials were acquired, I spent an entire day hunched over the table with a ruler and scissors while the peanut gallery occasionally wandered by to offer useful input. “Why is it taking so long?” “I think you should have used different greens.” “It really needs sound effects.”
This morning, both children were thrilled.
Next year, Sawyer will be my only child in elementary school. I think his older siblings should be his Valentine box helpers.