Monday, March 4, 2013

The art of shaving**

This weekend, L found the fancy pom poms in the craft drawers. I'm going to tell you something about the craft drawers: I keep all manner of supplies at kids' level without much regard to order or planning. If they can reach, they can create at the kitchen table. They're happy and busy and exercising their imaginations, and I do love to marvel at their imaginations.

Here's a phrase my work colleagues will particularly appreciate: my philosophy for the kids' crafting is more process, less product. I don't want to lesson-plan them into making. I just keep us in supply of glue and tape and interesting things like pom poms. They are welcome to do what they please with what they find.

This weekend's pom pom discovery brought L down to the bottom of a drawer, chasing every little pom that had escaped its bag. These were no ordinary fuzzy poms. They had the spherical soft fuzz at their core but they also boasted long tendrils of tinsel. They were unmistakably alluring.

What would you do with be-tinseled pom poms? L sat on the floor, criss-cross applesauce, treasure trove in her lap. She was wearing a turquoise velvet princess ball gown from the dress-up bin, and strings of Mardi Gras beads around her neck. A dozen faded Valentine's tattoos peeked out across her lower legs. I could see slivers of her back between the gown's velcro fixtures.

She sat with a small scissors and she gave each pom a gentle haircut. It wasn't destructive the way small kids sometimes can be impulsively destructive. It was quiet, mindful, meditative. It reminded me of how her brother loves cutting paper, how I can hand him the paper recycling and a pair of scissors to head off a tantrum. She trimmed and turned and cut and examined, carefully working through her bearded poms until they had mere five-o-clock shadows.

Tiny tinsel tumbleweeds floated through the kitchen, caught on the dining room carpet, snagged on the stairs. My girl, though, the one I think of as the wildest of my wilds, she sat in quiet concentration and I watched her silently determine the perfect shearing for each of her tiny friends. 

When E was five I remember thinking often what a fun age it is, and L is reminding me of that sentiment. I don't know what runs through her wild when it quiets, but as she emerges from small childhood into unique personhood, I know that I love watching her grow. And it's totally worth the day-after-dollhouse-Christmas mess. 

(** with great restraint not titled Hairy Balls)
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