Monday 22 January 2018

Success for me is ABC - Ability, Believe in yourself and Creativity

If there is one thing that I always try and install into the boys, its that effort is everything. I like to think that I do a great job of letting my family and close friends know exactly how much they mean to me and this has always been something I have taught the boys, especially when it comes to Mrs M. Back at the end of November I asked the boys to think of a thoughtful gift that they could create for Mrs M, I didn't specify what but said if they wanted any advice or help all they had to do was ask.

A few days later Opeie came to me with his idea. He has always loved the book I made for Mrs M when I asked her to marry me and he reads it a lot. I think it is because it is about how we met and with each page an insight into how we got to that magical moment in Orlando. His idea was to create his own book all about his beautiful mom which I was super excited about (part of me was worrying about the amount of time we had to complete though).

The thoughtfulness of this gift really touched me as he knew it was going to take a lot of time and effort but he wanted to show Mrs M just how much he appreciates being home-schooled. This was another huge bonus for me as from an educational view it was the perfect way to wind down our year of home-ed, combining literacy and huge amounts of creativity. 

We got to work quickly. Opeie wanted to make a 'Mommy ABC' in the style of one of his favourite Dr. Seuss books. An A-Z of everything to do with Mrs M with rhyming couplets on every page. Firstly he wrote all the words down that made him think of her, for the letters he struggled with we looked online for lists of words for that letter and combed them looking for relevant words. Trying to combine the words in rhyme was going to be tricky but luckily the first page was a breeze and it was all the motivation Opeie needed "Big A, little a, what begins with A? Auntie Lottie's Autumn Aeroplane A A A". As soon as the words were down that creative flair kicked in and he was drawing an aeroplane with a beautiful autumn print.

This was pretty much how the following few days of daddy school went, we would sit down and try and work out a rhyme for the page and then Opeie would grab his crayons and start creating. Then a couple of days before we had reached December I received an email from the company that I was going to use to create the book with a discount code for 40% off, perfect I thought, until I saw that the off was only valid for 8 days!!! Feeling a little deflated I mentioned it to Opeie in passing and he said "we can finish it by then dad", I loved his enthusiasm but I genuinely thought it would be pushing it for a 6-year-old. This is when I realised that when it comes to an amazing mom that you want to make smile at Christmas, anything is possible.

As soon as breakfast was out of the way on the mornings, Opeie pushed himself to complete his 26 drawings that he knew he needed to create, along with the 26 pages of writing to cover each of the letters of the alphabet. This had gone from an amazing creative and literacy based activity to an awesome lesson in working to a deadline and time management, not something that I would have ever purposely added into our homeschooling schedule but it all happened so organically.

One afternoon Opeie had written 9 pages for the book and drawn some of the pictures an he said his hand was really hurting. I had been telling him for about an hour to stop and we would do something else but he was so focused on getting the book finished, it was adorable to watch. With all the pages written and all the drawing complete Opeie started looking for backgrounds to mount all of his drawings on around the house to make his creations more colourful. He then used his pictures to create a cover and we sat together uploading it all online, he was so excited when he saw it all coming together.

On the day it arrived the excitement was too much for him, we still had 2 weeks until Christmas and he was desperate to give it to Mrs M. I couldn't get enough of that look of pride on his face when he took it out of the box. I saw that same look again as he handed it to his special lady on Christmas day.

It's lovely to buy nice gifts at Christmas but for me (and hopefully the boys now too) its all about the effort that we go to for the people we care about the most.

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