By Lucy: Frida in a Can

How come no one talks about how much more fun kids get as they get older and older??   What I mostly hear is “enjoy them while they’re little”!   And don’t get me wrong, I totally have.  I’ve burned special baby and toddler moments into my head that I never want to forget.   And every time I look at old pics, part of me wishes they were tiny again.

But man….watching them grow and learn and develop their own talents and passions??
It’s so cool!
They have these giant, exciting lives ahead of them!
And so much to learn and discover.
And they say the funniest, cutest things.
And we have conversations about history, and how the universe works, and how people create cartoons, and why blue cheese is blue.

Just this morning while getting ready for school Owen told me he needs to keep practicing his drawings because he’s going to be an animator for a big film one day.  “So I think I’ll start with Frosty the snowman….I’ll keep drawing him and get him just right.”
Oh Owen.

Isn’t parenting great?!
These are the payoffs for the rough patches we all go through.  These are the moments you could never get anywhere else in life.
So I thought I’d start documenting some of the things my kids make and do, mostly for myself so I can always remember them.  Because they just make me smile.  Maybe they’ll make you smile too.

Lucy (9 years old, 3rd grade) loves art, just like Owen.    She’s really loves reading, and she spends hours making her own books, researching topics online, and illustrating her pages.  This month she’s been bringing home “bobble head books” (as she calls them) from school, which are a cute series of biographies on different historical figures.  She’s read about Abigail Adams, Maurice Sendak, Harriet Tubman, Michelle Obama, and Frida Kahlo.

Last week her teacher gave them the cutest assignment based on the books called Biographies in a Can.  Each student was assigned a different book from the series and had to create that person’s face on an oatmeal or coffee can, write a report, and then include 3 items inside the can that represent that person.

Lucy, of course, was thrilled to get Frida Khalo the famous Mexican artist.  So we pulled out some supplies and got started on her Frida head.

First she had to brainstorm ideas and take notes from the book.
Then she drew a sketch of what she wanted the face to look like…..and seriously, could an oatmeal can have been more perfect for the project??  It was the perfect color of her skin and hair!

I helped her with the hair, and—as I’m learning with most school projects—it’s an experience for me as well, trying to balance how much input I should I give to help pull ideas out of her, and how hands-off I should be so she discovers on her own.  I try to ask her what ideas she has and see what direction she wants it to go.  Then I throw out a few suggestions or ideas and she plays off of that.

And when it comes to a hot glue gun….I tend to take charge.  So she helped me wind the yarn into very long bunches and I glued the pieces on the top of the oatmeal can (sorry no photos of the process—we worked on this late one night).  We basically made long straight strands hanging off each side of the can.  Then Lucy pulled the hairs to each side, made two braids, and I glued them around to the front of her head just like Frida always wore.  And of course Lucy wanted bright pink flowers and some leaves right in the middle.

Then she drew the face on the front, colored in the lips.
I love her face! And the eyebrows of course.
I gave her the idea about the ears….saying it was kind of like carving a pumpkin and she thought that was perfect.

Then she picked out a bright floral fabric from my stash, and we tied it around her neck.

She was done!
Friday Kahlo, in a can.

For the three items inside the can, Lucy drew a Mexican flag since Frida was very proud of her home country and often missed living there.  We printed a photo of Frida and one of her self portraits, which she is most well-known for.
And we threw in some more flowers.  Cause who can resist bright gorgeous hot pink?

We placed everything in the can and the next day each child presented their person to the class.
It was a blast to see the other cans and creations.
School is so great!
I think back on all the fantastic teachers who inspired and motivated me over the years.  And I’m thankful my kids have wonderful teachers inspiring them as well.

Good job Lucy girl.
Maybe one day some one we’ll make you in a can.

  1. Great project Lucy! (Very well written essay too!). This reminds me of my little brothers, who always get so creative with their school projects.

  2. 2) Sarah Heat

    I love those “Who was” books and my two third graders do too. Lucy did a great job on this project! I’m finding 3rd grade (and school in general) to be so much more academic than when I was in school- or how I remember it anyway- but kids are just able to expand their minds and fill them with all sorts of awesome stuff. I love that they’re reading lots of non-fiction and learning a ton. Wish you lived in Santa Monica- I think our kids would get along great!

  3. 3) k

    What a WONDERFUL project!! I love it!

  4. 4) Jen

    So cool! I teach preschool in an Elementary School I’m going to pass this idea on to my 3rd grade teaching friends they might like this 🙂 Stanley who is 8 and in 2nd grade just read the “Bobble Head” book about Babe Ruth he said it was really good 🙂

  5. 5) Molly

    That turned out great! Also, glad to hear kids get more fun as they get older. I know I’ll miss the baby/toddler stages a lot, but my oldest is 3 right now, and he woke up at 4 AM and wouldn’t go back to sleep. Or stay in his room. So I’m a little anxious for those days to be over!

  6. Bravo for the teacher’s idea. Your daughter is very creative, like you…

  7. That is the cutest project ever. I love it when my kids bring home assignments with room for creativity. And that Lucy is so beautiful.

  8. 8) Nicole

    I LOVE the uni-brow! Great job Lucy!! It is super cute!

  9. 9) Sharon

    That is definitely a project to cherish. What stellar work…!

  10. That’s one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.
    I’m loving my kids getting older too. When they say stuff THEY thought of or learned that was not from ME, it’s fantastic. Sometimes funny, sometimes awesome with their imagination…
    Lucy did extremely good on that face. I love it. And the end result is obviously Frida Kahlo. You can’t say that about most projects made by kids her age (that it resembles the correct person).

  11. I totally agree, I have loved my kids since before they were born, but they become more interesting as a person with time. I love to get to know them.

  12. 14) Terri Miller

    What a great job!! Well done Lucy! Super cute!

  13. 15) Connie

    Great project! As a retired 3rd grade teacher and administrator, I really love how teachers can bring history to life with their creativity an in turn inspire students AND parents.

  14. 16) Mikea

    Great job lucy!

  15. 17) Carol

    A very wise acquaintance, whose children were older than mine, once told me to enjoy every minute of parenting, that there are wonderful things about each and every age and stage of our children’s lives. It is so true! Ours are all adults now, with families of their own and to now be their friends and watch them parent their children makes me very proud.

    I do miss the days of projects, as you’ve described in this post, but I take great comfort in seeing the wonderful adults that my children have become.

    Thank you for this post! Very thought-provoking!

  16. Maybe they mean “Enjoy them before they become teenagers.” 🙂

  17. 19) Nancy

    What a great project and how clever to carve out her ears, I don’t think I would have thought of doing that. Well done Lucy. I look forward to my son’s school days too. I know what you mean about it being fun as they grow up, it’s the best 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

  18. wow! you both had great ideas and Frida is really good looking!!! bravissime, sia la mamma sia la figlia!

  19. 21) Stacey

    Love the assignment and Lucy did such a wonderful job with it!!

  20. ack, it’s so cute!! i wholeheartedly agree – while squishy babies are fun, having real conversations with a bigger kid and doing things TOGETHER (rather than just being facilitator/parent) are exciting. i love it. 🙂

  21. That is so adorable! And it looks just like Frida! 🙂 Lisa

  22. THIS IS SO FABULOUS!!!!! I am in love with everything about it!!!

  23. That daughter of yours…

    She’s incredible!!!

  24. My son did this in third grade, too. But that was before the book series! He just had to find a biography and since we were currently watching all of The Cosby Show on netflix, he chose Bill Cosby. They used 2 liter bottles and the results were fantastic. 2 liter Bill even had a Hillman sweatshirt!

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