Nail Polish: Pretty AND Educational

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I never realized just how different raising girls vs. boys was.  Our Little Miss is almost a complete opposite as Mr. Man in so many ways and yet they are so similar too.  She has definitely given us a run for our money in child safety with her climbing on top of the kitchen counters to rearrange the cabinets and sippy cups, unrolling toilet paper more times than I can count, or climbing out of her crib five times in a row at 1:30am and creeping by your bedside.  She can be the sweetest, most loving little girl one minute then the cause of major frustration the next.

This morning as the hubs left to take his dad out for a cup of coffee at his favorite coffee shop (shameless plug to Great Lakes Coffee) I was enjoying a few moments of silence until I heard the pitter patter of little foot steps.  It was my girl.  Awake for the day and ready to conquer.  Last night daddy suggested that I paint her nails green and yellow for our nephew’s John Deere party this afternoon.  I decided that the quiet, rainy morning we had upon us was the perfect time to do so.

We sat on the floor in the bathroom and I got out my {very} old purple “STUFFers” box that my nail polish has been stored in for years.  Seriously, like almost 20 years I assume.  That’s crazy.  When did I get this old?  I’m also seriously wondering how much of it is good anymore or if I need to research “expiration dates” or “harmful chemicals” in them now!  YIKES.

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Anywho, I found a light green nail polish and a yellow nail polish.  Perfect!  I wasn’t sure how the green would look so I decided to use yellow on three of her nails and green on two.  Patterned of course.  The yellow was a bit older and gloppier to put on.  The green looked amazing.  She’s had her nails painted enough in her lifetime that she knows the next step: BLOW.  When I was little my Aunt Sandy would paint my nails for me and then I would turn to Uncle Randy and say “blow”.  Now my girl is doing the same thing!  It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about the generational legacy that little moment brings.  Little Miss isn’t the most patient one yet so it doesn’t last long but a few blows on each hand and she’s done and on to the next thing.  Then the perfectionist in me cringes in the fact that her nails will soon be smudged or missing polish.

Then, just like her momma who enjoys order she uttered, “Toes.”  So onto the toes I went.  This time I did the opposite pattern and she has three green toes and two yellow toes.  As I was painting them I noticed her admiring her nails and she said, “Pretty.”  A girl who appreciates taking care of herself!  Ahh!  After we blew on her toes {and her fingernails some more} she picked up the polishes and said, “Momma, pretty.”  So guess who has John Deere nails today too!

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Since brother was still asleep at this point I decided to let her continue what she was doing at this point–playing with the nail polishes.  It was during this time that I realized that there was no need to rush anything because I could turn this into a teaching moment.  For the next 20 minutes or so we learned color names, sorted by color, {tried to} stack polishes on top of each other, counted, etc.

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Who knew that raising girls would be different than boys?  I never thought that I could teach colors and counting and sorting by using nail polish.  In college when we learned about manipulatives I’m pretty sure that nail polish bottles were not an option.  Never stop finding new ways to teach children whether in a classroom or at home.  You don’t always have to go by the basics of flashcards, buttons or counting bears.  Look around and see what you have right at your hands.  I’m pretty sure that Mr. Man actually learned all of his alphabet and numbers from Super Why! back in the day.  Little Miss is different and needs my help.  Any day that I get to spend painting our nails and learning colors or numbers is a great day in my book!

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I think I’ll paint my nails more often now that I have a mani/pedi buddy!

{And for those of you wondering how momma handled the smudges and missing paint a few minutes later, know this: When momma was helping pick up and put the polishes back in the box my nails smudged like crazy too.  Darn that old yellow polish!  You win some, you lose some.  I’m pretty sure God is trying to teach me to see the beauty in disaster!}

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