Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Better Parent: Thank You Playdoh

Most people are aware that I have a bit of a Type A personality, in that I can occasionally be anal retentive. Yes I fully admit it and in the past I thought that this was a completely positive trait to have; a place for everything, everything in its place and so on. If you’ve read some of my previous blog posts (ie. Organization = Sanity) this bit of information won’t surprise you. Raising a toddler I have come to the realization that imposing my anal retentive behaviors onto my children is likely to set them back and prevent them from having the experiences that they must in order to learn and grow.

For Christmas, Sophie got a wonderful Playdoh set from her Uncle Chris. I added it to her wish list thinking it would be a lot of fun for her. Then once I saw it in physical form I immediately had these horrible images of yellow, green, and pink Playdoh mashed together in a mess of marbled colours. I so desperately wanted the colours to remain separate, but knew that left to her own devices Sophie would surely mix them all together. This is why the dough set remained hidden for 3 solid weeks after Christmas while I built up my courage to bring it out.

Against my better judgement about giving Sophie an opportunity to be creative, I finally opened one colour of Playdoh for her to play with. Little did I know that colour mixing would not be my only stressor…

This wonderful Playdoh set came with a whole mass of shape making tools and even a hair making station. On that first day Sophie thoroughly enjoyed cutting the hair that squished through the little holes. Then she decided she wanted a different colour. Terrible mother that I am I insisted we clean up the first colour and put it back in its container, safe from contamination. Luckily Jonas was around to enjoy the Playdoh fun with Sophie while I mercilessly attempted to get the previous colour of dough out of the hairdo guy. I now know that this is an impossible task. 

Fortunately for both Sophie and I, one afternoon I stumbled across a website dedicated to Preschool projects and activities, which clearly emphasized that young children must be given the opportunity to be messy, mix things together, and be wildly creative with toys and crafts. Needless to say, now when Sophie asks to play with Playdoh, I open every single dough container she wants and let her play to hearts content. We build white snowmen with orange carrot noses, pink hats, brown buttons, green scarves and I no longer stress over that silly hairdo guy. This doesn’t mean I don’t try my hardest to pull the mixed colours apart once she’s finished. For my own sanity I feel there must be some attempt made to put things back in order, but the white Playdoh is definitely not white anymore.

I’m still building up my courage to open up the finger paints she got for Christmas from my Mom. Every time I look at those bottles of paint a knot forms in my throat and I have images of carnage throughout my kitchen. I’ve seriously considered taking a page out of Dexter’s book by taping up sheets of poly so no square inch of floor, wall, ceiling or furniture is left bare. That will be a post for another day. Possibly sooner than later, because my Mom will read this and call me to tell me to “open up those darn finger paints for crying out loud, Christmas was two months ago!”

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