Some time ago I wrote about my desire to make recognizable Play-Doh animals. I thought this would be a good skill to have as a parent. What fun we’d have making our own little zoo full of creatures. But, I’ve since discovered that this was completely wrong and misguided. My child has absolutely no interest in Play-Doh animals.
First, he much prefers Plasticine, modeling clay. It’s harder to work with but it’s sturdier and creates things you can really hold on to and play with.
Second, he couldn’t care less about animals. I once tried to make an elephant and he ended up in tears smashing it to pieces. All he wants is cars, trucks, or trains. We once made every character is one of his books. Dumptruck Dan, Monster Truck Max, Cement Mixer Melvin, etc. We’ve also made most of the cast from Thomas the Tank Engine. So instead, I’ve become skilled at making dump trucks, cement mixers, and trains with smokestacks and cranes. All with lots and lots of wheels.
And he’ll play with them for hours creating little stories and conversations among the characters in his little clay motor pool. Which is all I ever wanted.
Is there a parenting lesson in all this? I think so. Sometimes you’ve got to give up your dreams for your children and let them follow the dreams they have for themselves. Because maybe their dream is even better than what you imagined.
Take that animal kingdom.