Since moving to NYC I have either payed the bills or supplemented my income by watching some of the sweetest kids in Brooklyn. Over this past year however, I have taken on other full-time employment. While I still see my kids for the occasional weekend gig/visit, it’s not that often, and I have to say… I really miss them.
This weekend I got to spend some time with a couple of my old regulars. They recently bought the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and since we read the first few books together, they were saving this one for me too. Yes- in one night we read 133 pages, funny voices and all!! Then they surprised me with a little birthday party, complete with cupcakes from One Girl Cookies and handmade gifts. My favorite is the outside of this card:
Last week I was asked by super-local blog Brooklyn Based about the best gift I ever received as a nanny (check it out here) and it got me thinking about how fortunate I have been… not for the gifts, but the gratitude. It’s things like this that make my heart glow.
When I walk in to work, there is one question that I am frequently asked, “Can we do an art project… pleeeeease?”
On occasion, I’ll walk into a very specific request, like earlier in the week when I was asked to help make Palpatine’s house from Star Wars (still thinking that one through), sometimes I will have a project planned, but most of the time I just wing it.
It was already after dinner and bedtime was lingering in the air like sweet reprieve, when the begging began. “Pleeeeease can we do an art project… puh-leeeeeeeeeeeeease?”
Not wanting to disappoint my pint-sized admirers, I dug around in the art bin and brought out a few goods to play around with while we downed desert. What we came up with was simple, a pom-pom family, assembled quite quickly with colorful pom-poms, self adhesive stickers and magic marker faces.
We spent a few minutes fiddling around, giving them names and places in the the family lineup… mother, brother, sister, baby, neighbor… babysitter!! And then they went to bed.
Projects don’t always have to be complicated, messy or involved. Sometimes the point of a project is spending quality time together!
Spending too much time with me can turn you into a collector, of sorts. Instead of collecting things you think will be of value to someone in a number of years, you collect random things (okay… trash, more or less) that you think you’ll use for an art project!
You’ll find yourself hanging on to empty spice jars, socks, stockings, styrofoam, boxes, broken jewelry, empty food containers, juice bottles, sippy boxes, baby food jars… you name it, I can make something with it!!
Fine! Good! Reuse!
But you must remember to USE WHAT YOU SAVE, otherwise you just end up with a heap of junk.
This recycled sculpture was done by a 7 1/2 year old girl (who held herself up in her room with her little brother so that she could surprise me with this awesome gift).
There got to be such a mound of ‘collectibles’ in the house that the old ‘Use it or loose it’ adage was tossed around a tad too frequently! So.. she stepped up to the plate.
This project was made entirely out of things she saved, rescued from the trash, or collected around the house.
The Rundown: There’s a sock wrapped around a juice bottle, on top of an empty cookie container. Then another sock balled up, with an empty ribbon wheel, some craft straws and pipe cleaners holding up an ART sign, written with Sharpie on a fabric scrap. The sculpture is cleverly held together by (massive amounts of) clear packing tape.
I’m lucky enough to spend my time with some very big thinkers. They have ideas by the bag full. And while most of the time, we as adults can already see the flaws in their master plan, sometimes we have to step back, Say Yes, and let them give it a shot!
It was getting late, and what started out as four kids playing with colored modeling clay has dwindled down to the dynamic-duo rolling, twisting and kneading their way into a plan.
The problem was this: they wanted to use the make-and-bake clay, but there was not enough left for everyone. So I said: No, Let’s use the modeling clay today, so everyone has a chance to play.
The whole time their brains were churning. “Tammy,” one would ask, “what would happen if we baked this clay?”
“It would melt everywhere. It’s not the same as the make-and-bake kind.”
A little while later, “What if we mixed the two types of clay together, then it would work, right?”
“Sorry you guys, I don’t really think that would work. The modeling clay portion would still melt if we put it in the oven.”
Snakes and snails and baskets were made, and a new theory was formulated… they would paint the clay with glue.
And once again they asked me their, what if, and I said, “Why not!”
I told them that I didn’t think it would turn out the same as the baking clay, but if they wanted to try, go right ahead.
We put down some newspaper and they painted their clay sculptures with Modge-Podge and inexpensive brushes. Partially because we had it, but also because it dries clear and won’t wash off.
What happened? A great idea!
A day later, and the glue had formed a clear, protective barrier around the clay. A great, less-mess way of preserving modeling clay masterpieces!
Kudos to my Big Thinkers… and to myself for just Saying Yes!
- P.S. While we had the glue out and the paper down, we did some collages, made masks, and had even more fun.