Thursday, November 14, 2013

Learning to Love an Interest You Hate

I don't know if I've mentioned it on here before, but I loathe Pokémon.  I understand that the game might be fun and the videos seem to present valuable lessons.  Still . . . blech.  My children morph into screeching, flailing wildlings after they watch an episode or play the Wii game.  If you haven't seen one of the videos, let me fill you in on something: Pikachu has the most annoying battle cry EVER.  Hands down.

So, there's my secret.  I hate Pokémon.
Unfortunately, my children love it.  The card game.  The characters.  The videos.

I'm sure you have some annoying interests running rampant in your house, too. Believe me, I understand the urge to draw the imaginary line and say, "No more!"  I know the feeling of ENOUGH.
Hang in there.  
Really, you can bear it just a little longer.  
And if you do . . . well, I can tell you firsthand that there's gold at the end of that rainbow.


Instead of banning what I feel is The Most Annoying Interest Ever, I gritted my teeth, plugged my ears, and let it ride.  Good thing.  If I had given in to my annoyance and instituted a household Pokémon ban, or even if I had placed severe limits on it, I would have missed out on some really amazing stuff.

First, the kids got binders and card sleeves and spent hours sorting, examining, organizing, and trading the playing cards with their friends.  That alone was incentive enough for me to stick with it a while and let them have their annoying interest.

Then, things got really interesting.  My oldest also had an interest in learning how to sew.  She had just learned a couple of basic stitches and liked sewing simple stuffies, mostly little muslin pillows with creatures drawn on them.  After my mother gave her a huge box of felt sheets, she decided she wanted to make a Pokémon stuffie out of felt.  She looked up a favorite character, and *poof* she made a replica.  No instructions, no pattern.  Just desire, time, and creativity.

There are tons of these little guys now.  I mean, this photo doesn't even scratch the surface.  My favorite is Wooper up there in the first photo.  Isn't he adorable?   I love seeing all of those stuffies and seeing how her skills have improved with no instruction.  She self-taught, through trial and error.  Adjusting based on her own mistakes and successes.  I love that.

Of course, it didn't stop there.  Next came the colorful interpretation of a Minecraft ghast.  In this one she figured out (again, on her own) how to make a pocket for the mouth.  She made it big enough to store her Pokémon stuffies in there.  Ingenuity, I tell you.

New Version of Minecraft Ghast

It was hard for me, but somehow I resisted pointing out sloppy stitches or explaining how she can make those seams line up better.  I do love that she barrels through these projects, but part of me worries that she rushes and doesn't care about getting things *right*.  Then, I remind myself that everything doesn't have to be final draft quality.  She can leave her projects in a sloppy first-draft state if she wants to.  They're her projects.  Of course, I would like her to have a little more attention to detail sometimes, right?

Enter the dragon.
Oh, this dragon is amazing, but for some reason I don't have a decent photograph of the completed project.  Just some of the pieces in progress.  It's huge.  It's amazing.  And, of course, detailed.  Because it was important to her.

Then, she broke out the D&D Monster Manual.  I walked into the room one day and found her working on a kobold.  This one actually required a pattern.  Normally she doesn't use patterns, but as her work gets more complex, she's learned to plan ahead a bit.  Again, not a lesson she was learning from me, try as I might to pound that into her brain.  No, she had to figure that out for herself.  Which, of course, she did.  Once I stepped out of her way and let her learn it on her own.

Don't forget the trickle-down effect.  If one kid's doing something, guess what the next kid's going to want to do eventually?

When I think about all the skills that Ella has learned and all the projects she's worked on since she first became enamored with Pokémon, I can't help but feel a little warm and fuzzy about all the inspiration my kids have gotten from it.  I certainly can't say I hate it anymore.  Am I going to sit down and watch an episode with my girls?  Heck, no!  But those weird little things are welcome here any day.


  1. This is fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  2. Beautiful from top to bottom! Thanks for sharing the story and the pictures - this is the good stuff.

  3. very cool! I love the stuffies.

  4. Good move there Michelle!
    Some of those creations are awesome, I especially like the Dragon.

    I didn't ban Pokemon either, although I did 'ban' my eldest from speaking like one..*shudder*
    Eventually my lot traded this obsession for an obsession with Dragonball Z.

  5. This is really wonderful, Michelle!
    Such a good reminder the hang in there with the things that I, on the surface, see as of little value.

  6. Ok, I'm back with a question. My 9yo HATES the trickle-down effect. If he is creating something and his 5yo sister wants to make her own version of it, he accuses her of copying and flips out. Does this happen in your house, or did it ever? If so, how did you handle it? I'm just getting frustrated.

    1. Surprisingly, we haven't had much of that here. But I do remember being in gifted classes and some kids would FREAK about that. I'm trying to remember how the teacher handled it. She called it piggybacking and tried to explain how people work that way in creative circles all the time. I know there are books for adults, steal like an artist?, but I can't think off the top of my head any resources for kids. Maybe encourage him to do the same? You guys kind of do that already, taking inspiration from famous artists/paintings.


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