One thing that's really struck me as different now that T. has a couple months of kindergarten under her belt, is what effect school has had on her assertiveness. She's a pleaser by nature and sometimes asserting herself takes a back seat to my big-hearted girl's desire to please. But we've noticed at home that she's holding her own with L. They are squabbling and fighting more because of this, but I imagine that once both of them adapt to this shift things will settle down--at least I hope so (please oh please).
T. is soaking up everything she learns at school these days, and with all this knowledge in her hands now she's feeling pretty good about herself; this, in turn, is helping her stand up for herself more, and encouraging her to participate in dinner time conversation, supplying us with countless math and language facts and information of her own, instead of sitting back and listening to L. I've noticed also that she's taken charge of our weekly craft time by coming up with her own crafty learning activities, and spelling out the details of these activities to me in very certain terms. She's like a pint-sized theater director these days--giving me detailed and involved directions, and correcting me if I misunderstand.
All these years I've been the one great orchestrator of crafts when it comes to T. I assemble the materials, set them out, discuss the process and goals, and turn T. loose at the kitchen table. But lately she comes home from school bursting with ideas about elaborate activities--many of these are spins on ones she did and thoroughly enjoyed at school; some, like her idea for us to draw and design an elaborate mansion for our imaginary American Girl Dolls (T. and I have quite a collection of imaginary American Girl Dolls--she's always "buying" me new ones, too), are born purely from her imagination. But this past weekend T. came up with an idea that combined both some early learning skills, and creativity.
Last week at school T. brought home a picture of an ice cream truck, made out of shapes cut from construction paper. The kids were given various shapes, and used them, with some direction, to come up with their own creations. T. was very taken with this activity--primarily because it combined an understanding of shapes with patterns (red wheel, blue wheel, red wheel) and fed her love of cutting, pasting, and creating. On Saturday she told me she wanted us to do the same thing, only we would use all the different pieces to create an image of...Mama!
In a dramatic departure from what normally happens, T. ran around the house gathering all the materials: construction paper, scissors, tape, glue stick, then ordered me to the kitchen table and assigned me the task of cutting out the smaller pieces, like eyes and nostrils--which she insisted we HAD to include, so the project would be realistic, like her ice cream truck.
It's REALLY hard to do crafts with the kitten
All in all, we spent about twenty minutes on the project. It's certainly one you can do with your own kindergartners in a short amount of time (you could even set them up with some pre-cut shapes while you're fixing dinners, or trace some shapes on paper and let them cut them out). The finished product doesn't, I think, truly capture my likeness:
Me, on a bad day, complete with large purple bow
but I loved what T. made, and I hugged her when she pronounced it "perfect" because it was.
What struck me the most about this craft activity was how it exemplified just how much my little big girl is coming into her own; taking charge of her world, ordering it to fit the magical, colorful, beautiful way she sees it now. When I line up her artwork these days and look at it--the pictures of people with their big eyes, and their rosy cheeks, the smiling sun with the lashes-to-die-for, the flowers with the large petals, and even the shapes collage of me wearing a big, exuberant bow, I see what T. sees--a world she's ready to take by storm, a world she loves, a world that, at least for now, is beautiful and perfect, and larger-than-life.