I have been trying to be pretty strategic about the toys that enter our home. One on my list for awhile was wooden animals. Unfortunately the ones I really like are rather expensive, so I decided to make some. I started trying to carve with my pocket knife which was super slow going. Andrew came across a video for making a carving knife from a steak knife. For a date back in August we stopped by goodwill and spent 69 cents on a knife. We headed to the little shop on campus and Andrew cut it down, ground the blade, and sharpened it. Meanwhile I cut out my first pair of farm animals on the bandsaw as my starting place for carving by hand at the playground.
The first pig took me weeks to shape and the second one I finished in an afternoon. I was trying to hurry and finish all the animals for the kids birthdays. Then I realized I was stressing about a playground wood project that I want to enjoy. Plus the surprise was ruined from the beginning. I was sketching what the front of the pig should look like on paper and Emily came over and said, “What are you making? Are you going to make a wood pig?” Zero wood or carving supplies were in sight!
An unexpected surprise is seeing all the interest the kids have in wood carving. Each one comes over occasionally and plays with the little animals or checks out the progress. Other time a crowd gathers and they just stare. Sometimes Emily tries to carve animals or peg dolls out of chalk, which I thought was incredibly clever.
The first finished animal! The kids love it and the pig was quickly incorporated with the four peg dolls into their play. I think this little guy is incredibly cute, but I’m obviously biased. It will be fun to slowly add to their collection as I finish each one.
The real story behind the animal carving project is that I’m finally learning who I am and embracing me. I was really struggling at the beginning of the summer with how I could be a good mom if I wasn’t a fun, bubbly personality. I had the thought to read the Color Code book. The quiz put me squarely in blue. Reading the corresponding information was incredibly insightful. I was blown away at all the scripts of how a blue thinks that mirrored my brain/thoughts exactly that I thought were flaws or negative things. Nope – it’s just part of my personality.
One example is that I get really really antsy if I’m not doing something. I have a NEED to be productive. I have been fighting that innate part of myself in the name of being present. But I can’t be present if I’m wishing I was doing something else. Hence the animals. I’m totally fine spending hours outside with the kids and chatting with friends if my hands are busy and I’m creating. It is providing another way to interact and enrich my kids lives. As an added bonus, being creative is also essential for my mental health and happiness. Finding ways to fulfill that need while the kids are awake has been such a blessing.