Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Creativity Curse

I have creative children.  I'm very thankful that they are so creative, but it comes with its negative aspects, too. 

When my oldest two were preschoolers, the house was always a
mess.  They were always creating these wonderful stories with
their toys and playing so imaginatively ... but it usually meant BIG
toy messes.  The duplos, teddy bears, little people, and dolls
were ALL involved in the game they were playing.  Sometimes I'd
debate over whether to establish a "one toy at a time rule", but then
I'd watch them and think ... "How can I do that to them?  They're
playing so creatively!"  So instead I just worked hard each
afternoon to help them clean up their messes and teach them that
responsibility.

Now there are 5 of them, and the older girls are the ones helping me
clean up the creative messes their younger siblings make.  I have
to remind them all the time that they did the same things when they
were that age and I helped them pick up back then.

Then there's the kitchen table.  We have an eat-in kitchen. 
One half is the kitchen and the other half is the dining room. 
Although our laundry closet is also in the dining room half, and so is
the sliding glass door exit to the back yard.  The room is long
and narrow -- our kitchen portion is set up like a galley and you have
to walk through it to get to the dining room portion. 

But the dining room portion also serves as our school room.  It
houses two bookshelves full of books, school supplies, and craft
supplies.  Many times we eat dinner with ungraded schoolwork
stacked in the center of the table.  Other times it's craft
supplies quickly pushed to the center at dinner time.  There are
times I really wished the table was clean and neat all the time. 
But with 3 children doing school at that table,  4 children
creating all types of crafts and art at that table, and a toddler
wanting to sit and color all the time ... it rarely gets cleared
off. 

This weekend, my 4 and 6 yo children have been busy.  Very busy!
This weekend's creativity has involved lots of paper, scissors, and
tape.  They've folded and cut and taped paper into many many
different things.  But ooooh ... the MESS!!!  I keep making
them pick up their paper scraps and put the tape and scissors
away.  But every time we get them put away, one of them is out
there a short time later starting over again.  Especially my 4 yo
son -- who'll actually be turning 5 this week.  I've been
surprised at some of the things he's made by just folding paper,
although the cutting part is starting to bug me.

I'm so thankful for creative children, but I still wish my house didn't
get so messy with all this creativity.  Would I trade their
creativity for a neat house?  Not on your life!!  And I know
someday I'll miss having paper scraps and crayons lying around.

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