I remember when Nolan was in kindergarten, and we got his first poster board "All About Me" project. You know the ones where the kids put pictures of things on them, tell about their favorite things, and whatnot?
I remember I let him do it on his own. I helped, but not too much, just with the writing.
And then I saw the other ones. The ones that looked like they'd been done by professional scrapbookers. I knew it was ridiculous to feel even a twinge of competitiveness--afterall, my logic in letting him do it was so he'd take pride in his work--but I felt it nonetheless.
My Martha streak engaged. After that,I took over and 'helped' or, more accurately, 'overhelped' as we've done these posterboards over the years with different teachers/kids. As though my mettle as a mother is determined by the straightness of my columns and the captions accompanying the pictures, I'd hem and haw over the shoulder of the child working on the poster, if not out and out doing it myself.
Ryan is the Star Student of the week for his class this week, which meant another poster needed to be made.
I was busy making dinner the other night as I was helping him with it. In the interest of time and neatness, I'd plopped down at the computer and started making his poster, printing out pictures of things I know he likes. I was starting to make headings and such for his lists of favorites using fun fonts when he stopped me.
"Mommy, you don't have to do that on the computer. No one else has done it that way. Can't we just color/write it in using markers?"
"I guess. But can we do it tomorrow, then, because I should get dinner finished right now?"
Tomorrow arrived, and once again I was a little busy. I decided to farm the work out, and asked Ben (who likes drawing and coloring) to help him with it. They sat together at the table, just thick as thieves, planning and coloring. I watched from the kitchen every now and then, but made myself back off. Their result is more colorful and warm than anything I would've made. It's real, right down to the misspelled (and omg, crossed out) words.
"Mommy, what do you think?" Ryan asked me as he pointed at it proudly.
"It's perfect," I replied. Shut up, Martha.
I have to remind myself he's eight, not five; he's big enough to do a lot more on his own...
...I just have to let him.