Making a DIY Stamped Shawl With a Toddler

I love it when Liv gets in the mood of creating something together with me. Of course, when you’re creating something together with a toddler, you have to be more patient and forget about creating something “perfect”. Though, that is a very relative word, since for me something she has made is of course more perfect than anything else. I should rather say, don’t expect it to be “Pinterest-perfect”, as I have recently seen someone use.

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Just today we have been with Liv at a kids-friendly cafe near us, where there was a young woman prepared to make paper flowers with kids who would be interested. Liv was. So she sat down with her and made one. I sat there, watching them and it stroke me then how I did not like her (the young woman’s) approach to working with kids. Sure, she was friendly and everything. But she did most of the work herself, not leaving much room for Liv to do anything. Maybe it was just that the project was for a bit older kids. Though, I would wonder she would choose something like that for a place where most kids are 3 and under, since above 3 usually kids go to kindergartens/preschool in the mornings, not to cafes with their moms. Or it might have been that she was a bit in a hurry since we were the last ones to do something there with her and then she put everything away and left. It seemed though like she was more worried to make a pretty flower that could be photographed into a crafts book, rather than letting children try to do it on their own (or with less help).

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When you do something with kids, you have to learn to be (very) patient. (Little) kids (often) do take a long time to do something. Sure, they often have short attention spans, and you might have to remind them what you are going to do, or do a lot of it yourself in the end. Sometimes that’s how it works. Also, whatever you had on your mind you were doing, it will come out different than you had envisioned. Different does not mean worse. It’s just… different. :-) I admit, it does take me by surprise sometimes. Yet, I always love to see what that little mind of my daughter’s comes up with.

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By my experience, it’s best to just let go of your visions and go with (more or less) whatever your child comes up with. The outcome might surprise you and you may like it even more, because you know (your) child (or whoever you are doing it with) has put some of their thoughts and ideas, a part of him or her, into it. And the child will like and enjoy it the more, because they are not just pushed into doing something but they were able to make their own choices and add their ideas to the project.

I do not mean to preach. I hope it did not come out like it. And if it did, I’m sorry. It was just a train of thoughts that came out of me after today’s experience.

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My initial intention was to share with you something we did together. It was actually a Christmas present for my mother.

Mine was the idea. The outcome is Liv’s doing. It is quite different than I had envisioned. But I love it the more for it. I believe, my mother does too.

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Liv did pretty much almost all of the choices. I basically helped her do it. She chose the fabric we would make the shawl out of. I just gave her a few to choose from. She sat with me behind the sewing machine, as we sewed together around the edges. She helped me push buttons on the sewing machine. (And change all the settings on my overlock machine, while being a bit bored while I was sewing, to make it more interesting for me the next time I would need to use the overlock.)

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She chose a lot of the colours we used. Then we took the wooden stamps she got in one of her packages of her Advent Calendar and did the stamping together. I showed her how to use them, but then she did it pretty much on her own a lot of the time. Here and there I would help her. And in the meanwhile I added some on my own.

Liv also added her own drawings and signatures to it.

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And in the end she chose what trim we would use for the short edges.

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I would have chosen different ones for my mum. But does it matter? No. I would have done a lot of things differently if it was just me doing it. But I so love the outcome. I love that it was pretty much her doing.

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