Posted by: jinniver | April 19, 2008

Play Doh

I think part of the reason I enjoy blogging so much is because it suits the way I think.  I have a strange habit–developed in early childhood–of thinking in narration.  Thoughts have never just moved through my mind; I have to organize them as though I was writing a book.  I can’t just smile at a thought.  I have to think to myself, “I smiled ruefully.”  Or maybe sadly, or happily.  Or maybe I even smirked.  I’m not sure why I do this, although it might be due to the fact that I grew up with my nose in a book.

So, in true Jen fashion, I’ve spent this past week composing an upcoming blog post in my head.  I couldn’t settle on much beyond the first line, which was going to read, “This week sucked.”  As the week just continued to skid downhill, I kept revising and editing just how I was going to most effectively get how badly it sucked across to my readers.

Leave it to a three-year-old to completely change the course of my thoughts–and my week.

Jeffrey recently celebrated his third birthday, and one of his gifts was a set of Play Doh toys:  one was an octopus, and one was Diego (cousin to Dora the Explorer).  They’re those kits that come with objects to mold, cut, shape, and extrude Play Doh, and each came with their own Play Doh in appropriate colors.  My son, to say the least, was charmed by his new toys.  He played with them this morning from as soon as I got the chance to set them up until I finally cleared them away for lunch.

As I watched, I learned a little something about what’s important.

I remember playing with Play Doh when I was a kid, and one thing I remember most clearly (beside how much fun it was) was how…well, anal I was about mixing colors.  I hated it when the colors got mixed, and I could sit there for an hour picking tiny flecks of red out of the blue Play Doh.  I don’t know what it was, but seeing a streak of one color smooshed into another really bothered me.  Unless I was intentionally mixing two colors together to make a third, I tried to keep contamination to an absolute minimum.

Obviously, Jeffrey did not inherit my anal Play Doh gene.

At first, I had tried to keep the colors from mixing.  A toy couldn’t be used to mold the pink Play Doh until I had every miniscule piece of the green cleaned off.  If, despite my due diligence, I saw Jeffrey about to squeeze some Play Doh that involved more than one color, I’d take it and carefully, gently seperate as much of the colors as I could before handing it back to him.

But that was earlier in the week, when it was just him and I as his baby sister napped.  This morning, Lexie was awake and I was often otherwise occupied.  Jeffrey had the freedom to mix colors to his heart’s delight.  By the time I got back to the table, the blue was full of pink and green; the orange had a great pink stripe down the middle; the green was decidedly bluer; and the pink had developed a peachy tone.  I couldn’t have seperated the colors if I wanted to.

And to my surprise, I didn’t want to.  It really wasn’t important that, once I mixed the “new” blue Play Doh as well as I could, it ended up being the twice the size of the amount of “pink” we have left.  Or that all of the colors have marbling in them I haven’t had a chance to work out.  Or that none of the colors look like they did when I first opened the cans of fresh, brand-new Play Doh.

What was important was that Jeffrey was being creative.  That sea creature a little too tame in bright green?  Throw in a little pink and blue!  It was important that he was just going for it without worrying about the little things.  Can’t clean all of the orange Play Doh out of the octopus and you want to use it to extrude some blue?  Just shove it in there!  And of course, it was important that he was having fun.

I’m going to have to give that attitude a try.  So the collar of Lexie’s dress doesn’t look as neat as I would have liked, especially with that split stitch where I added the new yarn–no big deal.  So the hem is curling up more than i would have liked–doesn’t really matter.  So there’s a big blue spot smack dab in the middle of the front skirt thanks to pooling–it looks like what it is, which is handmade.

And my week?  It hasn’t really been that bad…



  1. I like that attitude, but I don’t often find it easy to think that way.

  2. Thanks for the memory, Jen. I love the way the stuff smells. Good attitude to acquire. Think, “How important is it?’


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