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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Managing the Perfectionist with Silliness

My eldest is a perfectionist.  She hates making mistakes.  She hates to disappoint.  Every day school tasks can be cripplingly slow.

Now, growing up I was anything BUT a perfectionist-- I was satisfied if I attained a B at school, and truly never tried for A's.....   As I grew up, I have gradually morphed into a perfectionist. I am not a super neat housewife or anything, but I definitely hold myself to much higher standards than I used to.  It's like Grace is me as an adult, not a child.

Sometimes, I have to rein myself in for over-correcting her as I compound her own tendencies.  So, to combat the "serious" side of Grace, I developed a monthly (surprise) Silly Day.  My children ADORE silly days as it's a break from the mundane AND I get to use all those Pinterest ideas that I have stored up!

First things first, a silly breakfast.  I do "pancake shapes to order".... now, am I truly a pancake artist? No... but the blobs of houses, ducks, dogs or even clowns that they request make us laugh and we have to use our imaginations! We decorate them with mini-chocolate chips, strawberries, even a dollop of whipped cream!

The night before I do write down a list of potential "silly day" activities.  The obvious is FACE PAINT and silly hair first. The girls LOVE choosing their own wild hair-dos, mismatched outfits and what they want on their faces.  (Oh, one rule I have for silly day is that I usually don't leave our house as our children do look ridiculous...)

I make my own face paint that has never killed them or caused a rash--which is miraculous as our children come from a long line of very, very pale people.  I mix crayola paint (the washable, non-toxic kind) with a dab of children's liquid soap (Johnson & Johnson's or something that won't sting or irritate the skin).

Kids LOVE face paint-- it does NOT matter what it looks like as long as they get covered. (Quick note--- I often face paint my kids before we go to a parade or event that I know there will be face painting there to save me money....) 

After that, I usually plan 2-3 messy activities that have no real purpose or goal.  Grace is quite creative, but she is also quite rigid with "staying in the lines".  We do shaving cream with food dye in it, bring snow in and make mini-snowmen or even paint with pudding.

I've even come up with an Silly Animal game: two piles of cards one with animals and one with adjectives (ie. Quiet, Lion).  The kids have to act out the pair they get (hilarity ensues for Ferocious Rabbit or Angry Frog).  For lunch, I try do do one of those creative lunches from Pinterest with shapes.  Not too hard to add cucumbers to a sandwich as "wheels" and call it a car.    I've made animals, robots, and more just by cutting the sandwich a little differently.

After lunch we have a mid-day bath (Gasp--Deviation from our normal routine!!) in which we wash the face paint off before nap time.  I use some of the "fun bath" ideas I have found on pinterest--- bath tub paint, glow baths, colored ice cube baths, etc.

My children really appreciate all the effort I put in, and they get giddy with excitement all day.  In between activities, they usually initiate their own "silly" play that ends up being a bit too wild.... but fun :) 

I choose lots of silly books and songs (usually Wiggles) and we dance and read all day.  I try not to do QUITE as many chores, and it's a day off from school lessons.

Are Silly Days a lot of work for me?  Yes-- but honestly, they alleviate some of that "Homeschooling-Mom-Guilt" that I get for pushing my children so hard.  It gives me a moment to appreciate the fun and joy of having a kid without thought to learning and teaching. Don't get me wrong-- I love teaching my children, but sometimes it's fun just to be a crazy mom.

Easy Rule #499 You don't have to be a perfect Pinterest mom every day--- but once in awhile it's fun to liven up your shcedule!

Easy Rule #529 Don't always be a stick-in-the-mud-- let the kids go crazy (in an orderly way of course :)

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