It’s Not What it Looks Like

This post is not what it looks like.  It’s not another cat-poop post.  Well, not completely.

Yesterday, I poured the last of  a plastic bag of organic sugar into mashed berries to make freezer jam.  As the bag emptied, my first thought involved the next use for the empty bag:  it’s just right for holding cat poop after it’s scooped and before it ends up in the outside can.  That’s my first thought about every plastic bag of a certain size.  The green onion bags are too narrow — I’m likely to miss when making the transfer.  Some produce bags have ventilation holes:  great for veggies but disastrous for litter box detail.  I’m not always this litter-box-product focused, but the six tiny kittens I took in three weeks ago are no longer so tiny.  They are prodigious eaters and excretors, and cleaning up after them is quite a project.

But this isn’t a cat-poop post.  My children have brought out my creative side.  Not the artsy-craftsy kind of creative, although my skills there certainly have increased with time.  Give me some fleece, a pair of sweats, scissors, and a hot-glue gun, and I’ll turn out a passable Halloween costume:  a downy-headed woodpecker, a killer bee, the neighbor’s cat, or a uranium atom.  Parenting itself brings out creativity, and I don’t think we give ourselves (or our parents) enough credit for that.

Creativity helps us out in difficult parenting situations.  My younger has a vivid imagination and a passion for cats.  I’ve talked him down many emotional cliff channeling that world, using the voices of the cats to humor him before he plunges into a tantrum.  Of course he’s tumbled into that abyss plenty of time, and creative self-calming techniques have preserved my sanity during those times.  Putting in some earplugs while he’s at top volume allows me some auditory buffering, but retreating to the bathroom, water and fan on, for a few minutes can also do the trick.  The worst thing to do is to fall into that abyss with him.  Two over-the-edge people makes for quite an emotional mess.

Homeschooling enhances my creativity, and the sheer time I spend with my kids increases my need for it.  Want to convince mom to let you get gerbils?  Make a well-researched power-point presentation outlining the needs of gerbils, how you can meet those needs, and what expected annual costs are.  Math, computer skills, writing, and research covered with minimal pain.  Not the way I planned to teach those subjects, but he still gained the skills.  (And he got the gerbils.)  Child unwilling to practice spelling words/time tables/spanish vocabulary?  Let him teach that boring stuff to the kittens.  It’s not what I had planned, but the words or math gets learned.

Creativity often flows when our expectations aren’t met.  When we’re forced out of our usual thought pattern, when the same old thing just won’t work, we can either sulk/pout/scream, or we can think differently.  We can surprise ourselves and maybe even bring some grace and peace to a tough situation.  Or perhaps, we can just clean up the cat box.

Let’s make this a conversation.  How has creativity brought grace or just some order to your life?

5 thoughts on “It’s Not What it Looks Like

  1. Creativity has brought chaos into my life. Exhibit A: the scrap box stuff. I’ve been finding it all over the house for a full year after our last visit. I can’t bring myself to completely throw it all out, so I just get rid of some here and there where I find it. Now we’re finally down to one paper grocery bag full (I think). Exhibit B: sculpy and its various supplies and final products (you know all about this so no further explanation is necessary I think). Exhibit C: This is going back a few years, but I think it’s a perfect example of creativity begetting chaos: Found Art! After Meredith took that class at CCS, she had literal JUNK stashed in her room for two years; it all had sentimental value, of course. And don’t even get me started on my creative husband with the music fetish, and his CDs scattered all over the house, with no labels on many of them, and of course never put back into their cases 😛

    But…creativity makes life more fun; that’s for sure 🙂 I wouldn’t know how to live any other way.

  2. Interesting question.

    Creativity is useful to me in many ways. It’s a great source of inspiration when our kids need to be punished for poor behavior or laziness. Why just yell at them when you can make them clean the basement? Or pick up a winter’s amount of dog poop in the yard in the Spring? Creativity can also be used in positive ways… making your kids laugh by making up songs, inventing new games, etc. Using creativity to have a laugh with your kids may not add any order to life (quite the opposite, mostly) but the laughter results in good memories and spontaneous fun.

  3. Yeah, the kids’ creativity has brought chaos (perhaps these two team together). Thus cardboard hoarding (“I need it for swords/marble runs/cat houses!”) and couch cushion mansion fort building. I miss my living room, but I do love to see them create.

  4. Creative consequence. Almost backfired on me a few days back when I asked my older (faciciously) if he’s rather complete the essay he was whining about or clean the scary shower. I’d take the essay in a heartbeat, but the shower sounded better to him. I recinded my offer — he wrote the essay. Next time, I’ll let him clean the shower (and it will still need it).

  5. Wow, my thoughts went in really different directions from everyone elses! Maybe i define creativity differently cuz i’m just not very artistic. In fact, my only attempt at encorporating art in to our home school feels like a total failure . . .

    But my food allergeis forced me to be really creative – i learned to sub things like crazy and create new recipes from scratch, something I hadnt done in a long time.

    And i try to use creative ways to educate my kids without putting more stress on me – like the free audiodownload of The Story of Us I found through my library’s website. I burn it on to CDs and we listen to it in the car . . . so I dont have to stress about history, we’re absorbing it passively when we’re in the car! Ok, except it snowed so much the past month, we mostly stayed home lol

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