May 24, 2012

Sad Realization (and cute School Project)

Yesterday, I realized something that made me rather sad.  It's not that my kids are growing up too fast (which they are), it's not that every time I look in the mirror I see more gray hairs (which I do), but the realization that I came to is that

 my oldest daughter is just like me.

Why is that such a bad thing?  Because, along with a love of reading, a love of creative projects, and the ability to plan out some fun get-togethers,

my daughter has also inherited 
my undesirable traits 
of forgetfulness and procrastination.  

I will readily admit that I'm not the most organized person.  I try, I really do, but I'm terrible at remembering to RSVP or bring back library books on time.   I always wait until the last minute to do things.  I think many times I come up with my most creative solutions at the 11th hour, but you can pretty much count on me to be a frazzled mess at 2 in the morning before any big event or deadline.

 Unfortunately, it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks and this old dog has just come to accept that she works well at the last minute and the chaos that sometimes results is just a fact of my life.   It was a little sad though, to see my puppy acting the same way.

Here was the situation yesterday...

My third grader had two projects due this week ~ an oral book report and a quilt that reflects our family values.  According to her, the book report was due on Thursday and the quilt project was due Friday.  I had been helping her to break it down into parts so both would be completed in time.  (See, I'm trying overcome my natural procrastination tendencies here!)

What follows is a brief timeline of the day...

11:30 am ~ I'm at her school ( I work there part-time) and after seeing her teacher in the hallway, I learn that we were mistaken, the quilt project is due first!  Instead of having two more evenings to get it done, it was due the next day.  (YIKES!)  I realize we're going to have to scrap our plans to do a glue batik project like we'd be planning and come up with Plan B. 

1:00 pm ~ I get off work and go right to JoAnn Fabrics to pick up the materials for Plan B ~ prequilted fabric and some Heat n' Bond. 

1:30 pm ~ I get home and outline some square shapes on some white cotton fabric and get out the colors of acrylic paints she'll need

4:30 pm ~ My daughter gets home on the bus.  ( A big downside to not starting school until 9am is the late dismissal time).  As she comes up to the door she has a slightly worried look on her face.  "Um, Mom, I made a mistake, my quilt and report are due tomorrow and my book commercial isn't due until Friday. " 

4:45 pm ~ I explain to my daughter my thoughts for Plan B ~ paint the pictures on squares of fabric like planned, but then cutting them out and  ironing them onto quilted fabric.  She agrees and gets to work sketching her pictures onto the quilt squares so she can get ready to paint them.  Meanwhile, I get my younger two kids set up with something so they'd stay out of our way so we can work.  (I'm not going to lie, I gave them each a bowl of dry cereal, turned on the TV downstairs and told them they could watch all the iCarly and Victorious that they wanted!)

5:15 pm ~ I quickly heat up some frozen kid dinners that I keep on hand for emergency situations like this and feed my younger two.

(At this point, I start taking a few pictures when I realize I can turn the madness into a blog post! ;) )

6:00 pm ~ My daughter is hard at work painting all the different animals and symbols on the squares.  (Each one represents a different family value that she researched and felt reflected our family).  I'm helping her paint the solid color backgrounds (Each color is also symbolic.)

Notice the apple core?  I told her she couldn't eat dinner until the painting was done.

6:30 pm ~ All the painting is done and she and I break for something to eat.

6:55 pm ~ The paintings are dry and I iron some Heat n' Bond Ultra hold onto the backs and cut out the squares.

7:15 pm ~ She helps arrange the quilt squares onto the prequilted fabric.

7:30 pm ~ She works on writing all her research notes into paragraph form, while I iron on the squares.  We wait for the paint to dry on the two squares we'd forgotten about and then put the Heat n' Bond on them.

7:40 pm ~ While she continues writing up her research, I iron the last squares on and trim the edges.  (We were going to sew on binding but nixed that idea and just left them unfinished ~ still looks fine!)

7:55 pm ~ She's finished writing up her report and hot glues some loops of ribbon on the top of the quilt.  I dig around the craft room and find a dowel rod that's the perfect size.

8:00 pm ~ Quilt is finished, report is written and we're all done by bedtime!  (Phew!!)

I'm proud to say that this mother/daughter procrastination team came through okay.  The quilt turned out adorable and she didn't cry once during the process (which if any of you have a sometimes emotional 9 year old, you know that's an accomplishment!).  I'm also proud to say that I only hollered a few times myself when she started to get sassy and whine that she was tired of working and wanted to watch TV with her brother and sister.  ( "Don't you start that with me!  You put a bee on your quilt to show that the value of perseverance and hard work is important in our family.  Now stop your whining and start working hard!")

How about you?  Have you noticed that any of your less desirable character traits are showing up in your own kids?


  1. That project turned out fantastic~!!! It sounds like it was a crazy time finishing it, but done it is :)

    And to answer your other question, yes...sometimes the sass that comes out of Audrey's mouth takes me right back to the way I talked to my Mom except I remember being like 17 and not 4.. oy!

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  2. What an adorable quilt! Great job! My six year old son definitely has my bull-headed stubborness....sometimes he'll plant his little foot down and I totally have flashbacks of myself :(

  3. The quilt turned out great! You two make a terrific team. I often wonder how kids, whose parents don't help them, complete projects like this quilt? It seems like homework projects are becoming more complex. I feel for the kids who are left to do it on their own.

  4. Oh yes, children are like a mirror into our souls and a magnifier of our short comings.
    Great post.

  5. My youngest son is the only child out of 7 of my kids that I am certain has my Asperger's. It's difficult enough for my husband to deal with my quirks after 4 decades of learning coping mechanisms and communication strategies - I shudder to think what all those poor first-time parents with no experience with Autism go through when their kids get diagnosed. It's sometimes hard for even me to remember that he's not actually throwing temper tantrums when he's frustrated with himself - if some of my other kids acted like he does at times, it would be a simple spanking and telling them to quit acting like brats. Regrettably, it's not that easy for it's always this complicated mess of teaching him how to express what the problem actually is, rather than just yelling and stomping. And at times, just sending him to his room to play by himself for a while when he's overstimulated.

    So, you know, when my 8-year-old daughter shows my procrastination tendencies? I don't worry so much. Yes, I'll spend time teaching her how to keep a schedule written down (because that's the only thing that keeps me to deadline - if it ain't written down, it ain't happening!) and help her learn to plan-to-deadline (it's easier to train yourself to take advantage of procrastination and work to your strengths than it is to learn not to procrastinate!) but I'm not going to be *worried* about it, because compared to how much her brother has to learn to cope with the real world, she'll be FINE. ^_^

    I like to look at it this way, though. Isn't it great that our kids tend to have the same problems we have, because we have years of experience with how *we* learned to deal with it! ^_^ Seriously - I can teach my kids how to work around communication troubles and procrastination tendencies, but if they pick up their dad's habit of worrying? I'll be clueless. :P

  6. That's a big project for a 3rd grader.


  7. What a fun project! We would have had a knock-down-drag-out at my house over that project. We could have made it through the quilt, but my third grader HATES to write, which is totally opposite of me. I am dreading fourth grade already! He has inherited my sarcastic sense of humor which I generally find amusing, until it's directed at me...

  8. Great job. I am so glad I have learned of blogging and finding great sites so that I can learn so many ideas. We have 2 daughters with an 11 year difference and there is no question which child acts like which parent. I am so glad I had our youngest when I was older,wiser, and more patient. Something I am known for is my overdramatic moments and you can best believe she is full fledged drama. My husband justs laughs when he sees me becoming frustrated with my little me.

  9. Great job, Laura! I think sometimes the kid we have the most "trouble" with is really the one most like us. Carrie and I clash all the time, and yes we have the nine year old girl emotional roller coaster here, too. Secretly glad Carrie's teacher did not assign this project!

  10. cute quilt... that is a very difficult project for a 3rd grader! i think the most difficult project i ever did in 3rd grade was just write a essay about wolves! man do they make higher expectations of these kids nowa days!!! i love your website! i made the crayon canvas and it turned out great! it is super easy and super cute! i tried to make that quilt but i gave up!!!!

  11. Laura, I sadly join you (and some others here!) with the realization that I am raising a mini-me. She is like me in all but looks. Sigh. Sass, attitude, and drama rolled up into a four year old who has no problem declaring a conversation "over". Thankfully, she also enjoys crafting, cooking and baking with me, which make those over the top moments so much easier to bear. :/

    And that's a great little quilt you both cranked out. I don't know if we would have made it through without one of us crying, though! I am NOT looking forward to "real" school with homework and projects!!! I will enjoy pre-K this year and won't complain about any of it....


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  22. Superb quilt! that was an awesome job. Homework has become more complex over the years and i always advocate for help from the parents especially the mother. Children who have to face Matlab homework help without the help from their parents always have a very difficult time.

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