My Hour as a Tiger Mom
4:45PM – I arrived at Mini-Me’s preschool for afternoon pick up. As I cruised by the after care room, to her regular classroom to read the “what we did today” notes, I peeked in the door to see my little princess quietly coloring. I smiled like the proud mama that I am, and kept moving down the hall. Within seconds, the peace of the empty hallway was shattered. A loud, “Oh, honey! What are you doing!?!” I knew immediately who it was directed at.
In the mere seconds since I had passed the after care room, my little darling had turned from coloring her papers quietly, to coloring herself with red marker. She had drawn red stripes down one arm, one entire leg, and was working on the second leg. The look on her little face when I rounded the corner into the room was priceless and heartbreaking all at once. She looked so ashamed and remorseful as she uttered, “Well, I really wanted to be a tiger, so I needed stripes.” So matter of fact. So simple. So washable.
Her teacher stifled a giggle as she calmly explained that it was really imaginative, but marker really needs to stay on paper. I swept her into my arms, and told her how much I loved her imagination, and that maybe we could talk about other ways to make stripes.
This is something, as a mama, I struggle with regularly. How do I reign in the chaos without being controlling and stifling her creativity all together? Mini-Me is a fantastic little artist. It seems to be one of her early passions. But there’s the OCD control freak in me, who wants to scream bloody murder every time she decides the table is a better canvas than her, well…canvas. We’ve talked endlessly about the right places to put crayons, markers, and paint. We’ve ended art projects early, because she control the impulse to try painting the pets. I want to establish and enforce the rules without taking all the fun out of art for her.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. There has never been a time when her creative flair has caused any danger, or even any real damage. Sometimes, it really is just a matter of me needing to relax and enjoy the ride. I have to remember to slow down and ask myself: is this hurting anyone, is this damaging anything, is this impossible to clean up? My overall goal is for her to remember all the fun we’ve had creating, not that I was raining on her parade and begging her to color inside the lines to please me.
So with that in mind, I giggled a bit, gathered up my tiger cub and her things, and took her home for a warm bath.
Credentials: 3.5 year old daughter * Married for 8+ years * 7 years school aged day care * oldest child of 3
Likes: the beach * travel * chaos * my munchkin and hubby * pets * family * laughter * all things Disney * home renovation
Dislikes: doing dishes * putting away laundry * meltdowns * waking up early
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