Monday, August 1, 2011

Dear Behind-The-Scenes

Dear Behind-the-Scenes,

Only you and I (and, well, my Dear Daughter and Dear Son, too) know what really happens during our projects.  They are not always as well-oiled as they seem.  Yes, I take has nice photos of the kids doing what they are supposed to be doing.  I add personalized touches of the kids' reactions or remarks about what they do.  What I don't include are the messes, the goof-ups, and the "challenging DS" days that come with every project we do.  Those parts belong here, and you will soon see that I am not always as patient, as capable, or as creative as you think.

The picture above was during the time we made popovers.  This happened right after I asked DD to pour in the melted butter and DS to pour in the Pyrex glass of milk simultaneously.  He poured, and instead of pulling the glass back to set it down, he put it straight down, knocking over the bowl and all its contents (milk, butter, and eggs).  As soon as this happened, DS began to howl.  ON THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS.  You see, he does this when he knows he did something wrong but doesn't know what will come next: a very angry mom or a forgiving mom.  As it turns out, I knew the person at fault was really me.  I REALLY wanted to snap a picture of both the kids pouring liquids into the bowl at the same time (I got the picture I wanted, and I also got to spend the next fifteen minutes on my hands and knees).  I neglected to help DS with that very heavy Pyrex glass full of milk while he was standing on a step stool a little too far away to hold his balance.  This shows you how deserving I was of having to clean up that mess.  I calmed DS down, told him it wasn't his fault, and that I would go clean up.  Fifteen minutes later, we had to start all over again.

How about the time when we made paper cup telephones and DS did not want to go use it?  What did I say to him to make him do what I wanted?  Something about buying a new toy from Target?  I really don't remember (and if you can see my face now I have a very convincing I-am-innocent look).  Or the time when DD was hurt pretty badly from a sewing needle I neglected to put away?  Or whenever I ask DS to dictate a story using The Important Book model or Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo model, he just sits there and moans and groans and takes FOREVER to think of what to say?  Or when after we made the popovers, DS refused to try it so I can take a picture of him taking a bite, and I had to settle with him eating a tiny piece for a meh picture?  Or the time when we made play putty, that because I had a brain fart, I forgot (gasp!) an entire step, and I kept wondering why the putty texture felt completely different than the way I remembered it from when I did it in my classroom?  We had to do the entire project all over again in the afternoon the right way.  Or how about the time we made homemade popsicles a second time, and because we added blueberries and changed the juice, DD did not like it and didn't eat a single one after taking only one bite?  And so the list goes on...

But in all honesty, the kids really have been great with most of the projects.  This was the first real mess I've had to clean up (I sure hope I've paid my cleaning dues for a while).  And they do follow direction pretty well so that I am usually able to snap away while they are hands-on.  We don't do second or third takes.  If I've missed the moment, we just move on.  I don't see the point of altering the sequence of a project just to make my blog look better.  Except when I have to clean up milk, butter, and eggs on the floor, of course.

So like well-edited movies that have scenes that did not make the cut, these are the many parts that didn't make it on my blog.  Not to say these parts are not important, memorable, or necessary, I just think they would take away from the point of the blog.  But I do feel that they must be shared for the sake of emphasizing that our activities are not perfect, nor do they have to be.  We learn from our mistakes to avoid future mishaps.  And you had better believe that I WILL sacrifice a perfect picture for not having to clean up a mess like that the next time around! 



  1. ha ha i knew that this letter would come up sometimes =) but without these behind the scenes, these projects would not be as fun right? No? ha ha ha

    As always, such a joy to read your letters cuz I feel like I am there behind-the-scenes in person.

  2. I can picture you behind the scenes every time I read your other blog:)