Friday, June 24, 2011

Rethinking my Thinking

I usually like to post art projects on Fridays, but as our week was a whirlwind involving my mom and sister taking the girls to the beach for 2 1/2 days, we didn't get one in this week. However, all the time to myself got me thinking - or rather rethinking - my situation with my youngest daughter. My youngest just turned seven last weekend, and from the minute she was conceived the child has been, for lack of a better word, different. She is different in many brilliant and wondrous ways. She is extremely gifted, very witty, undeniably creative and original. She sees things differently than most and is not afraid to explore. She doesn't worry about doing things "the right way" and she certainly is not afraid of failure and trying again and again.

All of this "differentness" (which I know will serve her well in life and makes her so unique) can be hard on mom. It's not that I want her to conform to some random notion of how a child should be. And it's not that my other three are without their moments. It's that with my youngest, the moments are unending and usually very complicated with a probable side of destruction. She requires near-constant supervision, which is simply not realistic. I need to be able to throw in a load of laundry.  Or take a shower.  Or go out to the garden to water for five minutes and not worry that when I come back in the project my oldest has been working on for five days will but cut into a million different pieces and stuffed under a bookcase. Or that a glue stick has been used to decorate the couch. Or that the piano keys have been covered with permanent marker. (All real-life example and all happened on the same day.) Obviously being negative doesn't work. But NOT getting negative can be hard when you're at the end of your rope.

So in my time alone, I was rethinking everything. I haven't come up with anything too major yet. But I'm tackling the issue from another angle - starting backwards, if you will. This usually works for me when I have a problem or situation and I find myself doing the same thing over and over and getting no where. One thing I'm in the process of deciding is her education path for next year. I feel like there will be a big change coming for her and I, and that it will be a good thing. I have no interest in sending her to school, but I'm rethinking what her days will look like at home. The hard part there is explaining this difference to the other kids. I also have already decided that I need to make a wish board/inspiration board so that when I feel like I'm at the end of my rope I can find the energy to tie a knot and hang on!


  1. Have you tried giving her a box of things that she can destroy? Old electronics (make sure you remove lithium ion batteries and such), fabric to tear or cut up, etc.? We bought something on Amazon that fits over a 5 gallon bucket and has a ton of pockets for art & craft supplies, tools, magnifying glasses, etc. Basically it's our mobile learning bucket for the backyard and roadtrips. You could put all of those supplies into a bucket (somewhere without carpeting) and let her have at it as long as she is on the sheet/tarp/table cloth. You could even line the walls with contact paper she could draw on. That way she gets to make a mess when she needs to without it negatively impacting the whole house. Of course I can think of 12 ways this could lead to disaster (I have a different kid myself), but maybe it will spark an idea!

  2. @ G.H. - Oh yes, we have done that. In fact, we still do that. She has many things that are available to her at different times. I've found if the same box/bucket/etc. is always available she gets bored. So there's the kitchen box, the car bag, the restaurant tote, the upstairs crate... you name it. Haven't tried the contact paper on the wall... we did consider white board paint, but I was too nervous that she wouldn't be able to stay in the restricted area. I'm not sure why it doesn't completely work. I think she loses interest quickly. She still loves her special boxes, etc., but she also loves to investigate, explore, and consequently sometimes destroy everything else. I completely appreciate the tips - it's tips and hints that lead to brainstorming that lead to positive solutions. Thank you so much!! :)