About February of this year I began telling Deirdre a bedtime story. Our usual bedtime rhythm before was bath, lotion, pj's, a short TV show on Momma's bed (while I nursed and put Jonas down), then a craft, snuggles, 3 books, prayers, and then bed- commencing at about eight o'clock.
Soon however Jonas weaned himself and I no longer needed to put on a show for her. Also let me just put it out there that I do dinnertime and bedtime alone without any help usually every night of the week since my husband works nights. So to keep my (at the time 2 year old) safely occupied, a 20 minute show of Maurice Sendak's Little Bear seemed justified. But now there was no more breastfeeding and Deirdre was older so she now plays quietly in her room while I put the baby down.
All of a sudden however, she and I now had a longer span of time between Jonas' bedtime and hers. I did not want to fill this with a TV show anymore because it was unnecessary, so I decided to try something new to help wind her down. Then viola while I was reading about Waldorf education this February it came to me. I can tell her a story! It seemed simple enough but let me just say that coming up with an original story each night was not so easy or relaxing for me at least.
At first I told her my rehashed versions of fairy tales- Jack and the Beanstalk is a big hit at my house- but conversely I also felt a desire to tell a her contiguous story. A story in which each night I could add to yet have the same characters. A story that could evolve to include trials and issues she faced during her day. A fun teachings story. So after thinking some more and revisiting my childhood I remembered one of my favorite characters- David the Gnome.
The funny thing is that I do not remember much about the show. It was on Nickelodeon in the late 80s, but not for very long. However I do remember that David wore a red pointy hat, that his wife's name was Lisa, that he ate a hard boiled egg for breakfast (weird, right!), and he helped animals as well as hated trolls.
So I took a shot in the dark and told her a story about David. And each night since February she has gotten a new David story from me (unless she is with Omi overnight). That's almost five months of stories, woo-hoo! It is pretty miraculous to me how much she loves and looks forward to these stories. I do not fancy myself a famous bard, but in the eyes of my daughter I am. Each night I repeat the same introduction as follows:
Once upon a time there was a little gnome named David,whom lived at the base of the old oak tree.
Every morning when he wakes up, he puts on his red pointy hat and goes downstairs to eat his breakfast.
Every morning for breakfast he has a hard boiled egg in a little blue egg cup.
When he is finished, he gives his wife Lisa a kiss good-bye and puts on his shoes and walks out his door into the forest.
You see, David is a forest helper gnome.
His job is to help and protect the animals of the forest.
When I am done with the introduction, I recap what David did in the story from last night and then he continues on his adventure. Deirdre now has the introduction memorized and she likes to say it instead of me. It really is quite a treat and a sweet unique mommy-daughter time.
Now you might be wondering what this has to do with crafting! Well I will tell you. Have you ever seen a gnome toy, clothing, books, or quilt at the store? No, you say? Well me either!
As a result of the David stories, Deirdre has taken a keen interest, nay obsession with gnomes. The hard part is that I cannot buy gnome things at most stores. So this Momma buckled down and decided to make some gnome toys and a quilt for her gnome obsessed daughter. (An obsession I whole heartily support).
My latest gnome crafting addition has been her rainbow of toadstools. I am not sure why gnomes and mushrooms are linked to one another, but she asked and I obliged.
These were very simple. I just wood burned a line between the stem and dome as well as dots. Then I did a watercolor wood stain and sealed with beeswax polish. Its very similar to the wood gnomes I made. You can get the wood blanks from this site, and soon *hopefully* my tutorial will be published. Until then feel free to email if you want to make a pair of your own and need help!
|Their new gnome treehouse. I traded her all her old Little People sets for this. It was a good trade.|
|Their new barn and animals. I also traded her for it. She and Jonas love this. The only Little People sets we kept were our nativity and Christmas Town, both special gifts form relatives.|
|Her new set-up, or so she calls it!|