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Surviving Disappointment -Crochet Puppet

My second crochet puppet was a fail, and twice a success. It was a fail because my 2nd grader was disappointed with it. It was a success because the other kids loved it and wanted it. It was a success again because I changed it so the 2nd grader liked after all.

So I gave my 2nd grader the puppet. I finished it as much as I was going to finish it. I didn’t give him legs, even though my student wanted him to have legs. I have to admit that with the attitude he was displaying towards my efforts, I wasn’t as inspired to comply with his requests (demands). I did add arms, ears and a nose and I thought he came out pretty cute.

crochet puppet max_2

What’s wrong with my eyes?

When I handed him over, the look of disappointment was palpable. And now I was disappointed. So this was a fail. But it was also a success because there were about 10 other kids circling him like sharks hoping they could have it. They smelled the scent of his disappointment and moved in to snatch the puppet up.

Some were begging me to let them have it since he didn’t like it and some were appealing directly to him to give it to them. I saw right away that he just might give it away (no way buddy) so I put a stop to that real quick. I told them all that it would go in the Ultimate Prize Box if he didn’t end up keeping it (either by his choice or mine).

I asked my 2nd grader if he wanted to trade him for something else since it didn’t seem like he liked the puppet. He actually thought about it! Oh, help me survive the fickleness of kids! I told him that he probably should trade it since he obviously didn’t like it. He hesitatingly said  he would keep it, although I think this had more to do with him not wanting anyone else to have it. He walked away but he kept griping about how the puppet didn’t have eyeballs! He was obsessed with eyeballs!

I finally had enough and was about to make an executive decision and take back the puppet, but instead, I asked him if the eyes were the only reason he didn’t like the puppet. He said yes, so I had him hand the puppet over and I sent the kids out to recess. When they came back, the puppet had new eyes.

crochet puppet max_3

Now he has eyeballs!

My 2nd grader had a big smile on his face and he happily scampered off. Now, at least, I had a better feeling that the puppet was going to be liked. Maybe love would come later. 🙂 Still, I think my 2nd grader’s mom was more grateful for the puppet than my student. She loved it.

Any art is an extension of ourselves and it can be hard to put ourselves out there. And when our work is rejected (even by a 2nd grader), it can be tough not to take the rejection personally.

My hubby is an artist. He makes a living from his art. He tells me he doesn’t take it personally when a client asks for changes or just doesn’t like something.  He just makes the changes until the client is happy.

So that’s what I did. I  made the change and the client (student) was happy.

And knowing that the other students loved the puppet as it was saved my ego. One of the reasons I get nervous when someone asks me to make them something is because I know that meeting an expectation can be hard. They have something in their mind that they want and it might not be the same as what I produce. I’d rather just make things and if it’s liked, that’s great, if it’s not, that’s no biggie.

But I don’t let that stop me with the kids. Most of the time, they’re extremely happy and appreciative of what I make for them. I’m grateful for that.

Forget the Top Hat

I basked in the glow of student adulation over the Jeffy puppet for about one whole day. Then it was back to business as usual. Back to reality and the typical way my students act when it comes to my crochet.

So, coming off my Jeffy high, came the low of being taken for granted. I finished off the emoji purse for my third grade girl and she happily accepted it and was on her way. No problem there. Seeing her happy with her purse was thanks enough (really😁).

Then, it was time for the top hat for my 2nd grade boy…but he changed his mind. He didn’t want the top hat anymore, he wanted a puppet. Well, of course he did. After hearing how much the 5th graders loved the Jeffy, he wanted his own puppet, one that looked like him, no less.

I explained that time was running out and there was no way I could finish a complicated puppet like Jeffy. It would have to be something much simpler. He said that was fine. And typical, it didn’t take him long to start asking if I was finished. I mean, he immediately started asking if I was done! By the end of the same day that he made the request, he asked if I was done. I know they think I have a magic crochet wand (hook) that I can just wave around and abracadabra, there’s a completed item. I chuckled and let him know that I hadn’t had time to even start it yet.

The next few days were like going on a trip with a child in the back seat who keeps asking if we’re there yet. I kept hearing, “Are you finished yet, are you finished yet, are you finished yet?” Continue reading

Crochet can make you cry…

Crochet Jeffy puppet

I think I just had the sweetest moment in my teaching career this last Friday. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had many sweet moments with the kids at work, but never from such an unexpected source, in such an unexpected way. Those two 5th grade boys (the advocate and the recipient of Jeffy the Puppet) made me cry today. Not the kind of crying where I want to beat my head in frustration, but the kind brought on by a sweet surprise.

In our program, we have Friday movie day with popcorn and a treat. Since we have no homework on Friday, I allow the kids to share anything they like before the movie. This particular Friday was no different. Continue reading

Crochet Fires

Was it me that foolishly uttered I didn’t have any more crochet fires to put out? Yep, yep, that was me. What a farce! I spoke too soon. Luckily, they’re just little fires, easily put out.

I failed to notice (or conveniently forgot) that a bunch of kids were close to our Ultimate Prizebox. Lucky for me, I had a few crochet emojis and a Pokeball already in there.

emojis

These were all in the Ultimate Prize Box plus another heart and small crochet purse. There are only two left.

But one little boy wanted a Popular MMO figure. Those aren’t that hard and I said I’d try but I had to concede defeat.

IMG_0975

This is one I gave to another student last year. H e was already played with by the time  took the picture so he was a little beat up.

He wasn’t technically at the ultimate prize box, he was past it. So technically, he missed his chance to get a custom made crochet piece. He chose something else at the time. So I didn’t feel so bad about directing him to something else. He chose the Pokeball.

red-pokeball

Then, two more kids made it that wanted something custom. I stressed it had to be easy (and small!). One girl picked an emoji purse. As long as she’s not expecting something big, that’s doable.

The other student asked for a hat or a beanie. Phew! That sounded easy. I asked what kind he wanted. He said a top hat. I laughed. A top hat? I asked him to draw it because I wanted to make sure I was thinking the same thing he was. Uh huh, I was. He’s a second grader so he could be thinking anything. Lol I guess I’m making a top hat 🎩 for a second grade boy. 😁

We’ve got two weeks left of school. I’m going to be busy! Again! LOL

Crochet Jeffy The Puppet

Jeffy is done and my student said something that made me glow all pink and rosy today. I don’t think he was necessarily giving me a complement (I’m not sure a 5th grade boy is capable of that, even if he’s thinking it) but it was a complement just the same.

jeffy the puppet

I’ve been letting him play with the puppet in all its levels of completeness (or incompleteness as was the case) and it’s been great watching his genuine joy at seeing the puppet develop. Today, I finished it and he and his buddy were having an absolute blast with it.

Crochet Jeffy the puppet

I got a couple of candid shots of them playing with him.

I took a group of kids to the restroom and while we were waiting on some of the kids to come out, he said to me that he thinks this is the only homemade puppet that actually looked like the real thing. That it was the best one.

Well now.

Queue the glowy glow happening. You might be thinking that I directed this conversation and was fishing for complements but I wasn’t even talking about the puppet or even talking to the student. It was unsolicited! It was just true happiness on his part that he had the best puppet! Of course, there’s no way to prove his theory on that, but the fact that he believed that only showed how much he loved it. Believing he had the only existing homemade Jeffy the Puppet that looked like the real thing, well, that made my whole year.

jeffy the puppet_1

jeffy the puppet_2

Do I think it’s the best and most accurate homemade representation of Jeffy the Puppet? Uhm, no. He could have been better. The eyes are too poppy and I never gave him hands. No shoes either. But I will say this, when  I looked him up to do my research, there were only a handful of images of the actual puppet. I didn’t see any homemade representations out there, period, never mind crochet. Mine might be the first crochet version out there, at least that I could find. So my student might be right. That means I’m ahead of the curve!

Was he a success? For my student, absolutely! For me personally, maybe. I know he could have been better. I definitely learned I like making puppets, almost as much as making dolls. I might just make more puppets (not Jeffy though) of all varieties.

And just a reminder of the real thing.

 

Super Power: Crochet!

I saw the superhero illustration below in an email newsletter I receive from Lion Brand. I loved it instantly. It would have been even better if they were crocheting instead of knitting but I’ll take what I can get. It reminded me of a funny moment I had with one of my Kindergarten boys.

Super Heroes knitting

When I saw this illustration, it was love at first sight! But where is Superman?

One of my co-workers was having a conversation with one of my Kinders. They were talking about superheroes and my co-worker said to the student, “We have a superhero right here.”

The little boy said, “No we don’t. Where is he?”

My co-worker pointed to me and said, “Mrs. Sherman is a superhero.”

“Nuh uh, what’s her superpower then?” he smugly asked, sure in his conviction that I was not a real superhero.

Without missing a beat, I said, “Crochet is my superpower.” He giggled.

“That’s not a super-power,” he countered.

I wasn’t bitter about this. Not many people know crochet is a superpower. I had my counter argument ready.

Well, I said it was a super-power because I could make anything with crochet. You can imagine the silly conversation that ensued about what I could and could not make. Days later, he was mumbling and giggling at the same time about whether crochet could be considered a superpower. This is why I love working with kids. Where else can you have such ridiculous arguments?

Speaking of superheroes, I’ve made some of my own. There’s Superman!

Crochet Jeffy the Puppet Progrss

He’s coming out ugly. That’s ok though, he’s supposed to be ugly. I would be doing it wrong if he weren’t coming out ugly.

Jeffy the puppet

I’m ugly and I like it!

I’m not so sure he looks exactly right but my student seems to be really excited about the progress. He hasn’t seen the inside of the mouth or the face yet, but if the way he was playing with just the body is any indication, he’ll be thrilled to see it now. As I slowly build the puppet, his reaction gets better and better. I can see his joy as the puppet is coming alive. It makes all the thought and work (and struggles with eyes!) I put into a project so worth it when I see that kind of a reaction.

The eyes were a bit tricky. I tried a few different things before I settled on the ones he has now. I’m still not totally sold on them but I had a mom who actually knows what Jeffy is and what he looks like. She told me he looked great so far. Henceforth, I didn’t rip out the eyes. He gets to keep them.

Now, he just needs his ears and his helmet. Oh yeah, his hands too. I was hoping my student wouldn’t notice he has no hands or shoes. He hasn’t said anything about the shoes but he casually asked me if I knew how to make fingers, apropos of nothing. He can’t trick me. Even though he didn’t come out an ask, I know he was thinking about the handless puppet! I guess I’ll have to make him some fingers since I do in fact know how to make fingers. 🙂

Hopefully, the puppet will only get better and better too.