So, Katie and I have been so excited to select a gingerbread house this year, a house that we could build together, as we have every year since she was old enough to sit upright in her high chair.
We went on a special Mommy and Katie trip to Target to choose a house. We perused the offerings, a house, a village, a castle. I was getting so excited that it was bordering on ridiculous. I left the decision to Katie, who immediately chose a train. A train, people!
So, I accepted her decision and told myself that I could make it work. I would help her to make the best gingerbread train in the history of gingerbread trains.
Here’s the photo on the box…
We began our assembly last evening. I carefully broke apart the premade (yes, premade!) gingerbread pieces and snipped the tip off the premade (yes, premade!) icings.
Then, out of nowhere, Katie asserted herself. She looked at me and said, “I can do it.”
I was promptly and completely booted to the sidelines. I was but an observer in this gingerbread extravaganza.
So, I sat back, thinking that she would surely need my help if I just waited it out.
Yeah, not so much.
She figured out how to get the pieces together and we let it sit overnight to harden and planned to decorate it this morning. As I was falling asleep last night, I was thinking about the photo on the box that I had memorized. I thought about lining the colors up and ever-so-carefully placing the candies on the train, exactly as the box depicted.
When we returned to the train this morning, Katie turned to me and said, “I can do it.”
Seriously. She so didn’t need me to guide her.
So, I tried to control myself and gave her the space to figure it all out. I expected havoc, or at least some plea for help. I mean, she’s three, so how far could she really get on her own?
The only part she let me do was the icing application. She told me where she needed it and I squirted and smoothed. She chose and applied all of the candies and stopped what she was doing only long enough to tell me how much fun she was having and just how much she loved me. I got six kisses before we were done.
She kept referring to the box, and in an attempt to push her to be more creative, I told her to use her imagination and make her train unique to her, to truly make it her own. I could see myself in her and wanted her to feel more freedom to paint outside the lines than I do. There was an ache in my chest, a worry that I have somehow limited her. I lack creativity and I want so badly for her to be different from me in that way.
And here’s what her train looked like when she was finished with it…
And that, my friends, is a better job than I could have done.
And a bit OCD, just like me.
There was a part of me that was so proud that she had observed the train so closely. But, a bigger part of me was a bit sad that she wasn’t able to reach beyond that, to use her imagination to make the train unique.
Should I have thrown the box away before she could study it?
Should I just embrace that she has inherited my love of order and predictability?
Should I push her outside of her comfort zone?
Should I worry?