One of my dreams for motherhood was what I now call The Pinterest Life. (Pinterest didn’t exist then.) My children and I would do crafts around the kitchen table or maybe in our perfectly decorated playroom. When Henry came, I looked forward to making pictures out of glue and noodles, chalking on the driveway, and finding treasures hidden in a tub of dried beans. I bookmarked ideas when I saw them on the internet and filed away ideas from magazines.
Around age 3 I realized Henry would never be interested in any of that. He lost interest in the noodles in about 3 seconds. He loved to watch me chalk, but he did not want to chalk. He mostly wrote “H” over and over again. He liked to throw the beans on the floor and then skate on them (have mercy on my soul), but not play with them inside the tub.
How in the world was I going to be the picture-perfect mother if I couldn’t do ALL THE IMPORTANT THINGS? And, worse, how in the world was I supposed to help him develop fine motor skills?
Then, one day in October of 2012, I found an activity he liked. I hid a Matchbox car inside Crayola Model Magic and told him to find a treasure inside. He eagerly tore away the dough with his fingers until he found the little car. “Mama, hide again!”
That was the day I realized Henry’s way of growing up wouldn’t be what I expected, but it would be beautiful.
I realized I would hide that doggone car 100 times if that’s what it took to develop his finger strength. (And if it gave me that smile every time.)
I realized we would find different ways to challenge his body and brain.
I realized no one else cared if my son did crafts at home, and if they did, they weren’t my real friends anyway.
I realized I didn’t care if my son did crafts at home.
Good-bye, Pinterest Life. We’ve got something better. Our real life.