One of my first writing projects was “100 Days with 2 Toddlers and No TV.” I started the manuscript after realizing that my hatred of cold temperatures would force me and my two cherubs to stay in the house through four months of winter every year for as long as we lived in the Northeast. Turns out there are literally hundreds of books inspiring parents to spend creative quality time with their kids, so my book never made it to print. In fact, I never got past a detailed chapter outline. Maybe someday. In the meantime, you, my precious blog readers, will be subject to all my splendid parental epiphanies. Here’s my most recent: Finger Puppet Theatre.
The kids found some finger puppets at the bookstore. They were only forty-nine cents a piece, so for less than $5, I bought a mini Noah’s Ark: two lions, two tigers, two giraffes and two zebras.
That same day we received a lovely package from Grandma. No one really cared about the contents (Sorry, Mom!), but we all loved the box. And that was when I had my apostrophe, when lightning struck my brain! (I’ll give you 100 points if you can name that quote.) In short order we turned a boring cardboard box into this:
Just markers, scissors, some packaging tape (to stabilize), scraps of fabric and hot glue (to adhere the fabric — keep away from the kids!!) … My two have been playing with this for four days straight! They even pulled out a flashlight to serve as a spotlight during shows. It’s fantastic. The kids have had so much fun.
Once the theater was finished, the shows began!
Ellie’s shows, for some bazaar reason, always involve death. This has been a fascination of hers since Easter. I told Spaghettipie the other day how Ellie used to think everyone who died did so on a cross: Great-Grandma D., Great-Granny, my old dog … But finger puppets, seemingly, always die from eating snails in the grass. My favorite story of hers was performed on Saturday night:
“Once upon a time there was wee little tiger who was a little bit dead. The end.”
LOL! It still cracks me up!
Zach, always one to be unique, chose to hold all of his shows behind the curtains. We couldn’t see anything! This shot shows me peeking through to disturb the backstage drama. He promptly shut the curtain in my face before continuing his play. I told you before about how Zach Stories always have aggressive crocodiles. Interestingly, when he has puppets on his fingers, all the stories are about loving mommies and their babies. I think I should get more puppets.
The other day a friend and I were talking about how much time we actually spend playing with our kids. Our experiences were very different. Her kids don’t really expect her to do that while mine never get enough of it! Her next comment stuck with me: “They must think you’re one of them.” Now, my kids know I’m their mom. They know their daddy and I are the authorities; we’re the ones in charge. But they also see us get down on the floor with them. They see me put on silly costumes and funny voices and run around like one of them.
It makes me think of 1 Corinthians 9. Paul talked about became like those whom he wanted to reach with the Gospel. I don’t want my kids to see me as their peer, but more than anything I want to show them Christ’s love. If spending a day making a simple puppet theater will do that, I’ll do it every day. If my being child-like helps them to become Christ-like, then I gladly accept the challenge. May God be glorified through our play.
“To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. And I do all things for the sake of the gospel, that I may become a fellow partaker of it.”
— I Corinthians 9:22-23 (NASB)