Last month, I embarked on a project. I created The Alphabet for Ollie. I booted up my old design program and created the letters, two to a page, ready to print out, cut out and laminate. I even downloaded a super cool new font to use and bought colored construction paper to get the job done right.
But then my new font wasn’t loading properly, or maybe I’d forgotten how to install it properly, but I had to do some thinking outside the box to use it. Then the construction paper was too big to fit in the printer. Then I discovered the printer’s USB cable had been chewed by the cat and was unusable.
Maybe the universe was telling me I shouldn’t continue this.
After a week, seriously, of working on The Alphabet, I’d solved all the issues that cropped up. I bought new colored PRINTER, not construction paper, duh. I worked some design tricks on the font so I could use it, electrical taped the cable. Cutting out the laminated letters kind of sucked and the kitchen scissors are now a little sticky, but whatever. I was done, and proud of my mommy project, and the letters were nice letters.
I proudly showed them to him, making the sounds. We brought them into the living room and he threw them around. All 26 letters strewn about the room. He picked them up one-by-one and brought them to me. “B! Can you say B?” He’d look at me like I’d grown a third eye. So no, he wouldn’t say “B,” but he kept bringing them over and I kept asking.
He sat down with his letters, cut out and laminated. He pushed them around a little. Put them in his little pencil case.
And then started tearing them up.
First went the N (or the Z, with the super cool font, they both looked the same), tore directly in half.
He brought the pieces over to me, urgently signing “Help!” “Please!” “Help!”
Dude, I can’t fix it. You broke it.
He cried and sat down next to his pile of letters.
Next went the L.
Tore apart again. Same deal. Brings the pieces over, cries when I can’t help him fix it.
I was slightly irritated at him, honestly, and wanted to pout a little myself, when I saw that he tore through the laminating sheets, and how quickly he started destroying them.
Seriously? I thought. Don’t you know how long it took to make those just for you?
Hopefully someone’s learning something with this project. Maybe Ollie, if not learning the letters and the sounds they make, is learning to take it easy on things he likes. Doubtful, since he’s still tearing letters apart, weeks later, and still asking me occasionally to “help” fix them. It’s probably me, since I’m learning not to put a week of effort into something could possibly be destroyed by a toddler in a matter of minutes.
At least somebody learned something?