Saturday, 4 October 2014

Let them take ownership

I have been working hard at letting the boys take the lead in their project work.  I am observant to what they are interested in, acting mostly as their assistant to where they want their project to go.  I have said YES a lot more.

Recently MJ asked if he could build a robot.  We said yes.  Daddy was cleaning out his truck and had lot of random parts to spare.  A few screws and a lot of tape later (my boys don't like waiting for glue to dry) MJ had an awesome robot.  I was simply his assistant taper while he directed me and explained all about how his robot worked.  Big brother wanted in on the action too.  It took some negotiations, some emotions and a big heart but we gathered parts to make another super cool robot.  The boys then played together all afternoon with their fun creations.

MJ's WALL-E looking robot on top, TJ's helicopter robot on bottom
I'd say a week or so went by and our focus at home switched to home renos.  We have some grading issues, foundation, and a wall to work on.  Since we are doing all the work our selves Jon and I have spent many days digging and digging.  I found several Mechano type sets at the dollar store to keep the boys occupied.  I am so amazed at how nimble and creative they are!  The two boys are also starting to play together a lot more which has been a huge blessing for everyone.  They now go off on adventures together.
"This is the day I caught my fish Greeny." 
This past week TJ came to me and asked me for a fish bowl.  We do have a pet fish who has been with us about 1.5 years!  TJ also had a strong interest in fishing early in September.  I inquired into if he needed the fishbowl for a few hours, for play, why?  He said he really wanted to pretend his lure that looked like a fish was his pet.  He wanted to play with it.  We talked about what else he could do with the fishbowl once he got bored of it etc.  I said yes, but he would have to pay for it because we just bought him some knee pads he asked for the day before.  So off he went to organize and help me count his money.  I was rather surprised at how much he had collected, mind you MJ keeps giving his away and TJ finds loose change all over the house.  MJ too wanted to get something so we went on a hunt in the couch, and around the house for more change.  MJ decided he wanted to replace a plastic backhoe that the two boys had taken apart (ok smashed with a hammer to see what was inside).

We visited a few different stores with no luck for the fishbowl.  MJ was so pleased with his purchase.  Success was met at the pet store.  TJ took care of everything.  Both boys played with their treasured items and introduced them to each other too (so cute).  TJ also wrote a story about his pretend play.  First he drew pictures then I wrote words on the white board for him to copy.  The writing for the first picture took a long time to finish with a bit of coaxing.  I did most of the writing for the second picture to help him out.

Astronaut TJ's rocket ship
TJ again comes to me with a new idea.  "Mommy I want to build a rocket that I can play inside."  Of course I say yes to the rocket.  We talk about what he needs and where we can get it.  TJ asked me to put out a request on the internet for large boxes.  A few days later we decided to go ask at some stores.  I let TJ know that it was his project so he'd need to ask.  We practiced what to say in the car.  I am so proud of my boy for being so confident and well spoken.  TJ tried at 4 stores to ask for boxes.  The clerks really wanted to help but didn't have anything to offer, though one store did take our name and number.  After a suggestion from a friend we tried Leon's furniture store.  They were so kind and great with the boys.  We received two huge boxes and the boys were even given a promotional toy and lots of well wishes.

In the time it too TJ to plan out his design and draw the cutting lines for me, MJ had already built his space ship, played with it and destroyed it!!  Oh they are so different at times.  TJ's rocket ship has a large door, and a window with Saran Wrap.  The box sticking out the side is to pass objects into the ship.  The boys have been on various space adventures already.  Again TJ and I wrote all about his adventures with adorable pictures.

My boys are learning a great deal from these projects.  They are communication with a variety of people, becoming more confident all the time.  They are working on writing, math, science, problem solving and more.  Their imaginations are blossoming and the boys are playing together more.  I am learning to let go, trust my boys natural curiosity and enjoy where it leads.  Honestly we are having so much fun!!