We've moved. Please click here to view our new blog.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In Her Own Time

I know the value of following a child's interests. I've witnessed it, the full engagement, curiosity, hypothesis building and rebuilding, cognitive restructuring...yada, yada yada. But that doesn't mean it's always easy; afterall, adults have interests too! I'd been wanting to make birdfeeders since...October? Not Addi. I set up the invitation (twice) and she ignored it. She wasn't interested, or maybe she wasn't ready or she didn't feel connected to the idea. It doesn't really matter. She didn't want to make bird feeders. So we continued to explore her interests...of which there are always plenty. We painted, played hide-and-seek, painted some more, and one day she asked for water beads. As nature would have it, the bowl we left outside the previous day filled with rainwater and had a thick layer of ice on top; Addi decided it would be a perfect place for the beads to "grow."  Later she checked on them and discovered the ice was gone, which led to a discussion on the different properties of water and several trips to the freezer for ice cubes, which we watched melt in the sun. I love watching how she thinks and problem solves and develops her own hypotheses.

Yes, you can smell the water beads
 And then one day (several MONTHS later) it happened..."mom, the birds are eating worms. Hey, can we make bird feeders?" YES! I grabbed my camera ready to document the project, and then she said, "Mom, can you not take pictures, please?" Clearly she had enough picture taking and wanted my undivided attention. Sure.

Because she made birdfeeders at her preschool's Winter Festival she knew the "how to" basics. We went outside to gather pinecones, discussing their different sizes, shapes, and prickly properties: "Ouch! Mom, can you pick them up when I find them?" Sure. "Or how about we use gloves?" That sounds like an idea worth trying.

Then we went back inside where we poured, measured, squished, and ran our fingers through everything while building our birdfeeders. I am not exagerating when I say we spent over an hour exploring and talking about how everything felt, smelled and looked; their differences and similarities, what we liked and disliked about everything, and why, why why ("do you have any ideas, Addi?"). We made a gigantic mess and decided not to clean it up until after we sprinted outside to find the perfect place to hang them...and right before we went outside she said, "you can take some pictures now if you want." Ahhh, thanks little pumpkin spice!

How's this face, mom? Perfect.
We scoped out the trees in our backyard to hang our 9 birdfeeders. Eye level seemed just right!

Yes you can be sure it's hanging securely

I love making and hanging birdfeeders! The mess? Well, it waited until after snack, reading books, bedtime, and until she woke up the next day ready for another action-packed day...after breakfast, that is. Clean-up, like making birdfeeders, was also done in her own time.

Note: I have to admit, sometimes I'm more flexible than other times. Yet I always find that the more flexible I am, the better I am able to connect more deeply with my daughter, which means fewer power struggles & frustrations, and more fun & laughter; and sometimes even better sleep for us all. Of course, it's always easier to feel more flexible when my own curiosities and interests are also satisfied. But when they're not I try to remember it's an opportunity to stretch my mama muscles (coping skills, patience, curiosity about my daughter, etc.).


  1. Nice :) I will do these with my little one! Since I discovered this blog, I started doing "Sensory bins" with my daughter (almost 26 months old). Since I don't have any empty bins right now, I put things in a large bowl. It entertains her for almost 30 minutes. It does make a mess, though, especially with rice! Thanks for the ideas :-D

  2. Thanks for this. Especially reminding me to stretch my Mama muscles

  3. Had to LOL at "smelling the water beads"...can't tell you how many things I have to let my kids smell! The little ones really use all their senses, don't they? Good reminders to slow down when doing these projects though, and all the learning that happens when you do!

  4. I do this. Takes the stress out of meal planning. Comes with assembly/cooking instructions and a shopping list. http://5dinners1hour.blogspot.com/

  5. Great story! I can very much relate to the exact same thing with bird feeders. My son had no interest in them until one of his day care buddies started talking about it. Then it was all he wanted to do, lol. We made Fruit Loop string feeders, box feeders, ledge feeders, lol, it never ended.

    We also bought our kids each a small fish for their birthdays (2 days apart) and neither one cared, until about 8 months later, when my son all of a sudden developed an obsession with his fish, which has been named Mater, Lanny, Wayne and Zerby??? No idea where Zerby came from...

    Kids are so amazing, it's like a whole new adventure every day for us parents and I love it!!

    Keep on bloggin'!

    Canadian Dad

  6. Love this because my firstborn guy was so opinionated about what he was interested in! He would open a sory to the page he liked, look for a moment and be done.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...