Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A fabulous mess

Maybelle's preschool has been working on gingerbread houses as a learning opportunity for a couple of weeks.  Last week all the kids in Maybelle's preschool class had to bring in the framework of their homes, made of cardboard.  We were allowed to do it any way we wanted--some parents made the whole things, while others worked with their kids.

I was very committed to this project being Maybelle's.  I'm not interested in seeing my own work.  I wanted Maybelle to be able to watch it come together due to her own efforts, and to be proud of it.  So I had the brilliant idea to have Beth, Maybelle's occupational therapist (who's worked with Maybelle since she was 18 months old) help us build the house.

Maybelle and Beth, happily constructing
Beth was amazing with her expertise.  I cut out the cardboard, and Maybelle and Beth used the "see see kay" (sticky tape) to assemble.

The "before" picture.
We live in a triplex, and our place is right in the middle.  Beth made a door and two windows (which are what's visible on the front of our place), and then she let Maybelle decide where they went.  Maybelle did a really good job, because our door is in the middle, and our windows are to the right, one on top and one on the bottom.  You can see that Maybelle was actually pretty pleased with what she did.

This week at school, parents and friends were invited to help the kids decorate their houses.  It was hard for me to explain the concept of "decorate" to Maybelle--I kept using my hands to try to explain, and she would imitate my hand motions without getting any sense of what I was trying to say.  So I told her we were going to make her gingerbread house "so cute," and she got that.

So cute.
From the very beginning I'd said that I wanted her gingerbread house to be a fabulous mess.  I wanted her to get to see her work start shaping up.  Three of Maybelle's favorite people--two friends and Uncle Trey--came to her preschool and supported her during the process (channeling Beth):  asking her what colors of gumdrops she wanted on the house, and helping her put them where she wanted them; using their hands and hers on the squeezy thing to pipe frosting onto the house; using their hands and hers to scoop big blobs of frosting and spread it wherever she wanted it.

This is a fine house.  A fabulous mess, for sure.  She was pretty pleased with it (and then she was exhausted and ready to go home).


  1. A great way of looking at projects: not wanting to see your work, but for your child to watch it come together from their own efforts. I could have used that one about 3 years ago when I was building Thomas the Train track layouts with James and being a stickler on the design.