I have taken my first child to a lot of activities in her 4.5 years. Sing-alongs, playgroups, toddler hikes, gymnastics, park meet-ups, ballet. She’s never voiced disinterest in these activities, but she’d spend most of the time … in her head. That is the best way to describe it. Sort of in a world of her own. Which was fine with me (
usually sometimes). At least I told myself that she was getting introductions to new activities and new people and that was the whole point! Right? Maybe? I don’t know!
But this past December, during my 4 year-old’s second semester of ballet, I decided we needed to step away from the activities. I remember the exact moment. It was like any other week of ballet that had come before… After a few bites of snack and a few turns with the waiting room toys, my 1.5 year-old got bored and wanted to join the ballet class her older sister was in. So there I was, wrestling my toddler who was DYING to be a part of the dance class — sweating, apologizing, shushing, cursing inwardly. All while my 4 year-old was pretending to nap while everyone else danced. Yes. I remember thinking, “This is insane. And we’re done with this.” It wasn’t just ballet. Everything we had signed up for was in the way of the the private activities my eldest was engaged in in her mind.
I thought, “What if we took a semester off and just let her find HER THING? Let her explore the world in her own way and on her own terms. Let her lead the activity and be the director of her own fun.”
The answer: Honeybees.
She has been researching honeybees for months. We’ve been reading books about honeybees. She watches videos on YouTube — beekeeping, how bees make honey, where beeswax comes from, why are honeybees dying, how do people harvest honey, how to care for bees.
She’s been asking about honeybees…
Do honeybees poop and pee like me? Does it come out of their bottom or their stinger or somewhere else? And what does it look like? Is it brown like my poopy? Or a beautiful color? And where do they poop? On a flower pillow or in the hive? I don’t know!
Then we look it up! We answer all her questions about bees and she’s *so* into it! She tells her dad about bees when he tucks her in at night. She has a running tally of all the equipment we’ll need for the honeybee colonies she is certain we are going to be keeping in our backyard. Um…
For the record, bees poo and pee at the same time-like birds. It comes out of a hole in their bottoms close to their stinger. It is mustard-like and they leave the hive to poo on flowers. In part to rid themselves of waste but also to let other bees know that they’ve visited that flower. So thoughtful!
Being a ballet school drop-out is working out for her. I’m so proud of my honeybee researcher! And I’ve loved being her research assistant!
PS. Do you have a little one with a big imagination too? Fuel that imagination with one of our fabric crowns. Our crowns are double-sided, so basically two crowns in one! And I find that the different patterns spark different play! With the crown on one side, my little one is a pirate princess. On the other, you guessed it, the queen honeybee! 🙂 Shop kids fabric crowns HERE!