Jasper raided the kitchen drawers and commandeered these chopsticks to build a tower. His home is at the top (of course), but he wanted to double check with me, first, to ensure I'd live there, too. Here, he's pointing to the office on the ground level where Daddy's office will be. Dad will enjoy that convenience. This seemingly simple activity is what my kid will do when I turn off the TV and computer, iPad, iPhone and Wii and then ignore him for awhile. Big deal, right? While it may not look so brilliant to the untrained eye, I'll tell you why it is fabulous.
I didn't search the parenting blogs for craft ideas. Nor did I drive around to pick up any "common household items" which I never seem to have in my common household. There was no child enrichment activities on the schedule for this morning. He didn't need a special creative corner with child sized table (although we do have one - the table that is) and shelves of neatly organized arranged materials. I didn't stay up all night reading about what activities are most conducive to enhancing cognition during his stage of development. None of the materials were ordered from a childhood learning catalog.
To encourage this hour long activity, I stepped out of his way. I didn't manage him - I didn't direct. I never asked, "what should we do today?" There were no barrage of questions. When he was rummaging through the kitchen drawers, I didn't freak out (at least, not this time). When he noticed me noticing him, I smiled and let him tell me everything. And he did, without coercion. I was especially touched that I get to live in the penthouse with him. Although, if/when he builds this tower someday, I hope he'll be living in the penthouse with a partner who loves him as much as I do, and he'll be happy to let me have a small apartment near the pool deck and he'll come by to watch the Oscars with me.
No matter what I seem to do, or don't do, my kids seem to grow themselves. Even with child number two, this never ceases to amaze me.
PS: I love the kids craft blogs, and home designs that include inspiring child-sized creative spaces. I especially admire the art room in the Crown Family Play Lab at the Field museum with their shelves of art supplies - I've always fantasized about a room like that for