It took 2 years of it lying around the house before Gianna picked up Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love* and asked me to sew with her. It is totally surprising that it took so long, because if you have seen the book yourself, you know it is chock-full of totally adorable projects.
The project she fell in love with was “the Mermaiden”. (You can download this project for free on MarthaStewart.com.)
Gianna did as much as she could on her own – choosing the fabric, tracing, cutting, pinning, and hand-sewing. Then, she sat on my ever-shrinking lap while I sewed the parts together. (The tight curves where too much for her 5-year-old hands to manipulate.) This book is not designed for children to sew, but if you can let go of perfection, it can make for some really wonderful parent-child projects.
If I am perfectly honest though, I have to say I had a really hard time letting go of my ideals and letting Gianna take charge. Why is that? Why is it so hard to step back and let our children do something imperfectly? For me at least, this project was an exercise in patience and love. I’ve got a long ways to go in learning to mother well. The result was wonderful though. Gianna has such pride in her project. She tells everyone that she “did it all by myself!!!!”.
If that is the case, I will let you hear more about this Mermaiden from the maker herself.
I made up a song of my mermaid. And I just… and the first step, I made the body. Then the next step, I made the hair, and the next step, I made the fin, and the next step, I made the flower.
I’m going to sing my song. Can you type my song?
[singing] “I love my mermaid. She makes me happy. When I.. because I found her. and I love her. And she makes me happy, because I love her. She makes me happy, because I love her and I made her and she is my favorite doooollllyyyy!!!!!”
[Referring to the picture background] I made some waves and I made some colorful clouds. And I made a pretty rock, that someone painted and dropped in the water. And I made the sun BIG. I made star persons.
I named Millie because that thing I made is a Mermaid and Millie starts with the letter “M” too.
After seeing Gianna finish up her project, my boys have started browsing through Wee Wonderfuls* to
choose what they are going to make. I predict many virtue-growing hours of sewing ahead of me.
How about you? Do you find it easy to let your children take charge in their projects? No matter the result?
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