"Made" into someone better.

"Made" is one of my favorite TV shows, even though I'm about 20 years older than the target demographic. For those who've never had the pleasure, each episode of this documentary-ish show chronicles a select high schooler's journey as they are "made" into something entirely new and different. We watch as they are paired with a coach who helps them attain their goal: the nerd vies for the homecoming crown, the shy wallflower learns to rap, the jock takes up ballet.

I eat this feel-good, you-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be sh!t up.

I want to believe that, given the right caring encouragement and expert assistance, we all could break out of our mold and realize new dreams, new improved versions of ourselves. Remember how easy it was to get pigeonholed in high school and how we all dreamed of busting out and finding our hidden talent for skateboarding or cheerleading or Olympic pole vaulting? (that last one is MINE ALL MINE)

I think this is why I love parenting books.

(you: GROAN.)

Seriously, parenting books coach me with new and different ways of doing this most impossible job. Sometimes, I totally agree and latch onto the ideas in a book or at least remember something that informs how I mother Zoe. Sometimes, I totally disagree or get annoyed at the judgmental tones (see: Dr. Sears. I know, I know, he's loving and touchy feely but I often feel he's judgmental of non-attachment parenting decisions like, oh say, prioritizing the PARENTS' need for sleep?)

Other times I feel like I'm trying on a new persona to see if it fits. Like when I read this beautiful little book by Amanda Soule of Soulemama, which was given to me by my dear friend Kathleen (a truly crafty lady who helped me make these letters for Zoe's room). First of all, Amanda's blog is beautiful and awe-inspiring. The book is too. It's chock full of tips and ideas for creating an open creative environment for your whole family. As I read it, I found myself wanting desperately to make a banging wall (I'm not so sure that the neighbors would appreciate that), stock small bins with fabrics for Zoe to run her little fingers through (won't she just scatter them to the far dusty corners of the room?), create family art time where we all sit and draw together (right now, Zoe's
idea of art time is rubbing markers on her chin till they're dull while demanding that "Mommy draw! Mommy draw ZOE!").

My parenthetical comments clearly betray my lack of conviction. I want so badly to be an open, creative Mommy. The one who doesn't care when things get messy. The one who is naturally improvisational and crafty, has artistic vision to burn and can sew/paint/fabric-glue with aplomb. In reality, I hate to get messy and I cling to directions and recipes because if left to my own devices I'm usually sad to discover that my creative energy well is DRY AND EMPTY. That's why I need this book. Real, live, truly creative types don't need a book to teach them how to be creative. (I like to think they need a book about how to.... be punctual? follow a recipe? GOOD GOD do I have ANY meaningful, worthwhile skills here?)

So I've started slowly. I finally bought Zoe some (washable) water colors (Mess! Lots of instruction and supervision! Things might get stained! Some creative coach needs to come over and hold my hand!). She likes them, though it often results in her declaring: "Mommy paint ZOE NOW!".
I think more often about ways to make her toys and environment more open-ended and creative. I pulled out all my old scarves from the 80's and put them in a box for her to dance around with. I try to encourage her to explore and get dirty, swallowing my concerns about all the laundry and floor mopping that will certainly follow. I've renewed my desire to get a sewing machine and learn how to actually use it, not for anything too wild, maybe just a few halloween costumes ("It's Zoe! The Glad trash bag!") or maybe these AWESOME birthday crowns (Oh. It appears that you don't need a sewing machine for them. Don't tell CG because I still want a sewing machine.)

Plus I totally have a dream (No, not the pole vaulting one. With all my dance injuries, that one is definitely out of the running.) to learn how to play the guitar so that we can sit around the fire and sing Beatles songs while softly petting our perfectly well behaved dog's head. That may be mostly fantasy (unless that's a BBQ fire where our turkey burgers are burning and the dog is eating dirt) but I hope to take guitar lessons sometime in my life.

And be MADE into the creative, artsy-crafty mom I've always wanted to be.

1 comment:

My Buddy Mimi said...

One of my very favorite things about daycare is that Mimi gets to do all her arts and crafts projects there. We are a strictly crayon house so far. She occasionally comes home with finger paints or marker on her, but at least she didn't get it on our furniture/walls/carpet/etc.

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