This week, I have made a few mistakes and I don’t mind admitting that (see also my post on the dangers of biting fingernails).  Years ago, I would have viewed this as being like the end of the world but nowadays I am more relaxed about my errors of judgement.  I put it down to the fact that I have realised that I am a human and not actually a robot and that I can now allow myself to make mistakes. Yesterday, H and I had a fantastic time reading, “Five Minute Peace,” by Jill Murphy.  As we read the story, we discussed the details of the pictures and discussed items that the Large family had that we had in our home too.

We did a variety of activities in connection with this story, which H absolutely loved.  We made cakes, just like the cake that Mrs Large tries to eat in peace (and of course we ate said cakes). She also washed up, with lots of bubbles as Mrs Large put lots of bubbles in her bath. We read , ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ and viewed different versions of it on the iPad as Laura in the story reads this to her Mum.

We played the water flute that changes pitch, depending on how much water is in it to make the story more real for H as one of the children in the story plays the recorder to his mother, while she is trying to have her five minutes peace in the bath.  None of this went wrong and no mistakes were made here.  We both really enjoyed spending time together, focussing on taking part in different activities to make the book ‘come alive.’  We even played with her elephant toy.

As I have not really done papier mache with H before, we decided to make a bowl using this method.  In the, ‘Five Minute Peace,’ story, the baby elephant makes a mess at breakfast time by putting his bowl of cereal on his head, amongst other things.  H wanted to make a bowl like this but to add sparkles to it, instead of being white to match the book.  H ripped the newspaper up brilliantly and helped to mix the glue and water to make a gooey paste. She absolutely loved sticking the paper onto the upturned bowl and did so very patiently for the longest I’ve seen her sit down to do a craft activity.  H was very excited about the bowl that she was making and we discussed the Five Minutes Peace Story throughout.

I have not done papier mache for a while and did not have any balloons to use for it so I thought that the pyrex bowl would be ok to use instead.  This was my mistake.  When it dried, it stuck tight to the bowl and would not come off.  I felt awful as H was so excited about seeing what her efforts had achieved.  I explained my mistake to her and said that we should have used balloons instead.  After the initial disappointment of realising that she wouldn’t see the bowl that she had worked hard to make, she suddenly perked up at the mention of balloons.  She told me that we should get some balloons and try again another day.  She also wanted to play with the balloons in the living room, with her brother.  I had an excited little girl again.  Plus, it meant that we would get to have fun sticking the ripped up newspaper together again but hopefully this time, we’d get to see the finished product. A while ago, I would have been so worried about making a mistake like this, that it would have overshadowed the whole day of activities. 

My thinking has changed lately though.  We had a fantastic time doing crafts, baking, reading and talking together.  I made a simple mistake and explained what had happened to my daughter.  I was pleased that she reacted the way that she did, suggesting that we could do it again and that it was something to look forward to.  We both learned from the mistake and moved on from it, realising that we’d had fun along the way.  I think that it is a valuable learning experience for her to see that it is ok to make mistakes and that they are sometimes necessary to understand the world better.  It is also important for her to know that it is great to have high expectations but if mistakes are made, then it is how we react to them and move on from them that we should focus on.

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