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Creating Together

I had a nice moment with my son yesterday. 

My son J, my oldest, is almost 3 1/2 and has entered the imaginary world from which I know he won’t emerge for the next 8-10 years.  I love listening to him when he’s playing by himself and hearing about the fun little worlds and stories that he creates for himself.

His recent obsession is a stuffed puppy dog that my friend Lauren gave me in college.  It’s nice and soft and makes a good companion for him.

J’s puppy and companion.

Yesterday we named the puppy Picasso.  We didn’t choose Picasso because we’re all artsy and cultural and stuff.  It would be nice if I could say that was the reason, but it would be a lie.  No, we named it Picasso because there’s an aquarium store (i.e. a store that sells fish tanks/aquariums, not an aquarium, if you know what I mean) a few blocks away from our house and J loved going there to look at all the pretty fish when it first opened.  It’s called Picasso Exotic Aquatics, and J was wearing his t-shirt from that store yesterday.

We were playing with Picasso while N napped yesterday afternoon and J and I decided that Picasso needed a necklace, just like our doggies.  Rather than wait until the kids were in bed to do any kind of sewing, like I normally do, I asked J if he’d like to make Picasso’s necklace right now.  He was all over that!

I let him pick out the colors, of course.  Purple for the collar (given his druthers, J would have everything purple) and green for the name placket (green is a close second).  Then he sat nicely beside me and watched excitedly while we made this:

Creative Counselor: DIY stuffed dog collar
Picasso’s necklace
Creative Counselor: DIY stuffed dog collar
Picasso’s collar — velcro closure

It was a quick and easy little project.  We just took a scrap of quilting cotton, folded it in two and programmed Picasso’s name into my sewing machine.  Then we pinked the edges and sewed it onto a piece of purple felt with a straight stitch.  We used adhesive velcro for the closure.

I purposely kept it very quick and simple, but this was such a revelatory experience for me — that I can share my creative loves with my children!  They will be old enough someday to participate in a way that won’t maim them!

I haven’t really let J into my sewing room in over a year since when he was in there around age 2 1/2, he was obsessed with the sewing machine and all the moving parts.  I know how strong that needle is and it gave me nightmares of the needle piercing his little fingers, him pulling a hot iron down on himself, etc. Therefore, my sewing is generally relegated to after bedtime.

What a difference a year makes!  Now at 3 1/2, he’s so much more reasonable. I can tell him to sit next to the sewing machine and just watch because the needle is very sharp and HE DOES!  And he’s fascinated.  He thought it was the coolest thing that we were able to whip up a necklace for Picasso, in his chosen colors, in less than 10 minutes.

I’m sure I won’t work on my own garments while the kids are up and about for a few more years still, but it’s nice to know that I can safely start to introduce them to sewing and creating.  I’m eager to come with other little projects that J can “help” on!

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