Cold Water with Like Colors

“What are the directions?”

I asked my 7 year old daughter when she told me we needed to do a Book Mobile for her reading book Chocolate Fever. She replied that there were no instructions she was just supposed to put pictures and fun things from the book on paper and tape them to a hanger.

What kinds of things?
Just a regular hanger?
Do you need to write anything, or just pictures?

“You can write things if you want, it is up to each student to just do whatever.”

Whatever? I am definitely not comfortable with Whatever?, not when it comes to school work or assignments. OK, not when it comes to anything. I like order, instructions, how else do you know if you are doing it correctly?

“Mommy, you are making a really big deal out of this? It is supposed to be fun.”

On that note I asked my daughter to go hop in the tub while I do some research. Off to the internet I went to look up Book Mobiles. I was certain that she had just misplaced the instruction sheet. There is no way a teacher just said “Whatever?” My daughter was mistaken and I was going to save the day with my research.

Book Mobiles it turns out can be done any number of ways, but the standard Book Mobile consists of a hanger, 4 different shapes of paper and the following things on the paper: Name of the Book, A Character from the Book, What Happened in the Book and Why you liked the Book. You can use words and pictures to hang and explain these 4 areas.

After we battled the knots in my daughters hair we sat down at the table and began. One and one half hours later we had a hanger with 4 different shapes, writing and pictures as per the instructions.

“We have to decorate the hanger.”
“We do?”
“Let’s make it look like a big chocolate bar on top.” OK, so a chocolate bar it was.

The next day when we arrived at her class to turn in the assignment I pulled the teacher aside and asked if she had sent home an instruction sheet. “No, I think that threw a lot of the parents, but I just wanted it to be fun and let the kids just run with it. I was excited to see what they came up with. Great chocolate bar by the way!” I thanked her, kissed my little free spirit and left for work.

What happens to us when we become adults? The best part of the mobile was her last minute chocolate bar idea. No one cares if there are the right shapes, or if it was in the right format. As we become adults we are given so many instructions that by the time we are in our thirties we forget how to “wing it” or do “whatever” comes to mind. We are immediately looking for the instructions. What is the right way to do this? It is comforting to know the rules, but stifling at the same time. One could argue that as adults we have a lot to lose, jobs to keep and obligations. I would argue all adults would do well to every now and than “wing it”, or “do whatever”. Perhaps that is why we have children to help us remember what “do whatever” even feels like. Thanks Mags!! My thoughts from the laundry room tonight.

Wishing you Crazy Dreams!

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