On-the-Job Parenting


It’s amazing the on-the-fly skills that I have developed since becoming a Mom. Just today my daughter was rooting through a bag of craft papers and stickers and such when she came up gleefully from her search holding a tube of glitter glue.

“Mom, look what I found. Glitter glue.”

“Oh joy.” I thought.

“Let’s make something!” And she began pulling papers, fun foam, glue sticks, scissors and other assorted crafty items from the bag.

“Whoa there. Don’t you think we should decide what we are going to make?”

“Oh, yes.” She paused. “A fairy princess.”

“What kind of fairy princess, a big one or a little one?”

“A medium one with a wand and a crown.”

So I found myself sitting at children’s card table across from my daughter with construction paper, fun foam glitter glue and assorted other crafty items having a go at creating a fairy princess. We gave her a long white fairy gown, golden wings, a head with a mouth, eyes and a fuzzy nose, sparkly teeth, curly black hair, a sparkly crown, feet, hands, and she was even holding her wand.

I am now an experienced fairy princess creator.

I can also make rocket dogs (hot dogs on a stick wrapped in breadstick dough and striped with mustard and catsup) and garnished at the top with triangle shaped cheese wedges, ants on a muddy log, and red white and blue fruit salad.

I can make an awesome bubble wand out of two wooden dowels and a little yarn, from which awesome bubbles can be created.

I can hold a bedtime story book up to a laptop computer web cam so that an aunt who lives 1,000 miles away can read a bedtime story to my daughter.

6-to-1 odds on the pink horse.
I have become an accomplished lift-the-flap book repairer. I can have a drum corps organized at a moment’s notice equipped with pots, pans and wooden spoons from the kitchen cabinets. And, look out Belmont Stakes, I can, at a moment’s notice, organize Hobby Horse races with only four pieces of construction paper, a set of markers, tape, and two yard sticks, all the while giving 6-to-1 odds on the 4-yr-old jockey in the house.

Motherhood has taught me a lot. It has ignited my imagination so that I can keep up with the wild tales that my 4-year-old loves to spin. They are so much fun to spin together. I can pretend to fight a witch across the yard and into the ditch or push my daughter on the swing, higher and higher, until she reaches the moon.

I appreciate our Sunday morning ritual of sticking a candle into a “roll up pancake” (Swedish pancake) prepared by Daddy and singing “Happy Birthday to Nobody” at the top of our lungs, giggling the entire time.

I’ve learned how much you can learn by saying the “silly” alphabet or from “silly” counting. Did you know that words and letters on a page make patterns? And, did you know that when a balloon pops and you are holding it, you end up “all covered in air”?

I don’t think I realized any of this until I became a parent. My little girl has taught me so much. I think we really underestimate just how incredibly brilliant children are. They are so easily distracted from the task at hand, and yes, that is frustrating if you are trying to get out the door in the morning, but the distraction comes from the fact that these little ones are open to what is going on in the world around them. They notice things. They haven’t donned the blinders of adulthood yet, and because of that they can teach us much: like how to do a better job of hiding the glitter glue, for instance.

© 2011 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

7 thoughts on “On-the-Job Parenting

  1. Thanks for the chuckle and for bringing back memories of when my children were little…I too learned much from them and from their imaginations…”oh, to be a child again” (I think somebody famous said that one time). Great post, Michelle.

  2. My claim to fame is that I can make a Ninja warrior course with just a ball of string, a bucket and some rocks from the garden. Lately though, I was quite proud of myself for knowing that the children were talking about a pheasant when what they acutally said was “that bird that is a cross between a Peacock and a Quail” —-perhaps I am starting to think the way they do?

    1. So, are you saying that if you took a career interest inventory right now it would indicate that you are well suited for a career as an explosives expert or video game designer (located in Las Vegas, of course)?

  3. This is a wonderful post! It’s truly amazing how much our kids teach us. I’ve found myself a more creative person because of my daughter. Thanks for visiting my blog today. And I have to admit that I was so excited to finally see the Blue’s Clues episode where Steve transitioned off and Joe came on. I know, that’s really sad!

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