I’ve been really conscious that in our day to day life with Marlin, there isn’t the same natural level of handwork in the form of stitching and sewing happening around him as there was with Chilli at his age.
With Chilli being our first child, I was naturally more available to spend days crafting and creating. Being a new Mum and a new family, I was creating toys for our child to play with. Days were spent turning old woollen socks into hobby horses, sewing felt animals, making story dolls and knitting farmyard scenes. Now obviously, our toy shelves and draws are filled with these things 9 years on and I don’t have the need to create these any more. Marlin therefore, doesn’t have this same natural level of handwork around him. Chilli obviously has a handwork program for her schooling, but it goes through cycles. Through Grade 1 it was heavily knitting based, this year in Grade 2 we have progressed to crochet and next year we’ll be working more with fibre crafts like spinning and dying wool. Marlin, just like Chilli did at this age, immerses himself in his own ‘handwork’ – wrapping wool around a thick wooden knitting needle, doing a little bit of assisted basic weaving or sewing through a piece of felt. Next year I will most likely start him on finger knitting, once he is ready. Chilli started finger knitting around 4 years of age. As Marlin enters this second half of three years old, I’m seeing many of the crafty interests that budded in Chilli in later early childhood, start to blossom in him as well. During one of Chilli’s school lessons this week, he set about organising supplies for felting and made a little felted piece of material which he then sewed together into what he told me was a ‘jacket’ for his Christmas Elf.
Yesterday for midday rest we read the Shirley Hughes story ‘Bonting‘. Alfie finds a rock and asks Mum to make some clothes for his new friend. He finds a little box to sit Bonting in and Bonting becomes a dear friend.
Marlin was having one of those pouty, walk around and be generally unhappy with the fact that Sissa had school to do, days! “Ma boooorrred” he would say. He was totally uninterested in any of my suggestions or attempts to engage him with anything and he decided to spend a large part of the day laying on the trampoline, basking in the springtime sun. Anyone who homeschools with a younger, early childhood aged child will understand these occasional days that happen – no matter what you try, nor how organised you are. A good dose of boredom is, I believe, good for children every so often! Chilli tells Marlin “Only boring people get bored Marlin”, one of those generational sayings that get passed down whether you like it or not, from your own childhood!
While I set Chilli up with her afternoon lesson, Marlin set about finding a ‘Bonting’ in our ‘rock pit’. Once Chilli was working independently, Marlin and I pulled down the fabric box and set about sewing him a Bonting. He’d selected three friends, who he named; ‘Bonting’, ‘Haiti’ and ‘Gruffalo’. It was a lovely opportunity to sit with Marlin and create something special for him. I sewed on the beanie, scarf and bathing suit from the fabric he selected and we found a sweet little ‘bed box’ for the new friends. Marlin decided they needed a roof so the rain wouldn’t come in and then the roof needed a light hanging off it. He was able to sew this part himself and I added a few more stitches to hold it all, more tightly together. After the addition of the light, they needed a light switch and then the switch needed a cover so as the friends didn’t get electrocuted when it rained! I kid you not! He really is such a boy! Their minds just work in totally different, ‘engineering’ style ways. Chilli would never have thought of the electrics with this much detail. It probably won’t surprise you that Marlin’s most common dough modelling item is a generator!
Stories really are such magical worlds aren’t they – that open up endless possibility for imaginative play and creating.
What are your favourite ‘stories breathing into real life’ moments?