Before I had children I was so excited about the idea of doing creative projects with them. Painting with them. sewing with them, nurturing their creative juices through encouragement and support. Then I had two of my own and realised just how constant the creativity and ideas of a 5 year old can be, how the "great ideas" can go on all day and just how much they can ask you to do in a 2 hour space. I also realised how frustrating it can be to get out paints and collage materials for a 2 year old, only to have them finished up with them five minutes later, leaving a huge mess for you to clean up. Its hard to support a child's creativity all the time!
Having said that, I do creative projects with my girls most days, I just can't sustain them all day, every day. You have to be proud of yourself for giving them opportunities to be artistic, even if they aren't as complicated as you previously imagined.
Mia has been bugging me on and off for weeks to "have a go on my sewing machine". I remember my mother showing me how to sew on her machine and creating Barbie doll clothes. I don't remember how old I was, but I am guessing in hindsight I was a little older than 5!
Yesterday I suddenly felt extremely guilty for not letting her use my sewing machine, after all wasn't this what I had dreamed of, sewing with my daughter!? So we decided to make a bag. Now if you ask Mia who made the bag she will say "I did and Mum helped a little bit". If you ask me I would probably say (out of her ear shot!) "Mum pretty much did all of it, Mia touched the fabric and fiddled with the buttons on the machine". But the main thing is that she learnt several skills and pieces of information she didn't previously know, she is proud of what she created, and it was a (mostly - the project did start with a heated discussion about how the needle was not going to go through her finger) positive one.
There were several challenges I hadn't anticipated:
- She couldn't reach the pedal of the sewing machine so I had to push it
- My sewing scissors were too big and heavy for her to use
- She had a real phobia of the needle going through her finger which we had to overcome before she would even touch it
But she did learn heaps:
- What several dials and buttons on the machine did
- Where the thread went
- That the machine did different stitches for different purposes
- How to "steer" the fabric through the machine (although I had to help with that one)
- That she could sew without losing a digit!
- The process behind putting on applique
As she gets older I will definitely encourage her passion for sewing, after all it gives me so much enjoyment!