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Friday, March 6, 2009

So The Doodle Pro

My sweet six year old, So is my Michelangelo, my Degas, my Picasso. She is not nearly as good as any of the aforementioned artists, but her spirit is definitely haunted by at least one of them.

So is responsible for systematically killing most of the trees that have been logged for paper. She does not stop coloring, painting and sketching. Although she is no child prodigy, when it comes to her artistic talent, she is damn good for a six year old. I mean, I seriously could not manage a picture of an orange at her age, much less a fairy sitting on top of a daisy with the finest features I have ever seen.

Of course, right about now, some people reading this are thinking,
...every mother would say that about her own child,
...just biases,
...just a mother who thinks her kid is superb, great, above all else.


The thing is, I am not that sort of mother. I came from a very critical mother and I am sure that some of that constructive criticism is ingrained in me. Although I dish out "I love you's" like they are headed for extinction, I have to make a conscious effort to give my kids the praise they deserve. I do though, every time I see their efforts in anything, but it just doesn't seem as authentic for me as it may be for others. I have no idea why this is. I have just as much a hard time accepting compliments, as I do shelling them out. I am sure a licensed professional can help me figure out why I have an aversion to praise and compliments.

Anyway, So's latest artistic adventure, included entering a contest called "Doodle 4 Google" through her school. She has to take the "Google" template and apply to it, artistically, a wish she has for the world. She spoke about this contest for weeks. And mostly spoke about her understanding of the prizes for winners,

"I can win a laptop, or a t- shirt, or a laptop, maybe some money (scholarship for college), or a laptop. If I win, I hope it is the laptop..."

She continued to talk about the laptop for days. Did I also mention, she has no understanding of the fact that out of everyone in her own school who enters, only six are sent to the actual National Contest. Then it is compared to, who knows, thousands , tens of thousands of other artistic renditions.

But, although I want her to understand reality, to spare her from disappointment, I also want to encourage her passion and praise her for her work. How do I find the balance?

I can't possibly say,
"Oh, So, that is exceptional. It will surely win something. It is probably the best one out there..."

I also don't want to relay over and over again,
"You know So, there are a lot, I mean, A LOT of people who enter, and so many are good, but only one will win a laptop, and it may not be you."

I tell her I think she did a great job on her artistic entry, and I encourage her to enter it. I tell her, whatever happens - you did a great job...

But remember - this is my extremely precocious child. She is not content, with JUST "Good Job". And if (a very likely if) she finds out, she did not win for her masterpiece, she will be terribly sad, and I will have to console her.

I curse the day "Doodle 4 Google" came into my life.

Of all the things I need to worry about, I certainly do not need to use up valuable energy worrying about a silly contest -

a silly contest, that just happens to mean the WORLD (and a laptop) to So.

How do we, as loving, praising, proud, but realistic parents find the balance?

HOW?????

4 have shown Orah a little love:

blueviolet said...

I hope she wins but I actually think that if she doesn't, it will end up being a valuable lesson to her. We all experience many disappointments in life and learning to deal with them is part of life, a painful part.

Anonymous said...

HA, this is funny that you are writing bout this, cuz Z(oldest) is also my Monet. She loves to draw and color and her classmates have acknowleged that she is the best artist in her class. Granted, her class is a bunch of 8 year olds, but still. She too told me of this google contest and how excited she would be if she won the laptop or the scholarship for college. ( as she put it, college is sooo much money, mommy) I too, was thinking , boy my kid is so disillusioned. However, what I told her was that "yes, u should for sure enter it, but there are a lot of other kids entering from a lot of other schools, so you never know who is gonna win." She seemed okay w/ this answer, but she is a few years older than So, so her expectations are a tad bit more realtistic. But like Blueviolet said, losing (although would be tough for u, cuz of the consoling thing) would be a good lesson for SO to learn and she might suprise you, and take the disappointment in stride.
- Miss S.

wife.mom.nurse said...

Oh I can totally relate!

Contests, they are the joy of my son, but often a thorn in my side.

I don't want to burst their bubble and I don't.

Not and easy one!

Carey-Life in the Carpool Lane said...

My kids are so much younger so I'm not sure what I'd say to a kid So's age. For my boys I always praise the work they put into it...like "it looks like you really worked hard on that painting...you should feel proud of yourself." Or "Do you like what you accomplished? Well, then that's all that really matters."

Oh and stop by my blog when you've got a sec...I've got a little somethin' for you...