In my pre-actually being a mom motherhood fantasy, I envisioned myself as some sort of craft maven, churning out seasonally appropriate projects and artwork with my children. I’d encourage them through experience to live a life of color and creativity all while crafting tangible memories of sorts. It is now obvious that I believed some sort of art fairy would jump out of my vagina along with a screaming baby.
This fantasy verus reality in regards to artistic skill has been a lifelong battle, really. At five, I balled up tissues, covered them with a paper towel which I secured with a twist tie and dotted on two eyes which bled into the fiber. I declared them ghosts and insisted on going door to door to hawk my wares. I’m not even sure it was October. I sold one to a neighbor friend of my grandmother who kept it for way longer than a non-relative is obligated to keep glorified trash. Soon after, there was my foray into paper clip bracelet making which in the world of “every day objects as jewelry” is only slightly more admirable than John Candy’s shower curtain ring earrings in Planes, Trains and Automobiles because it involves assembly.
Over time, I’ve come to terms with my sub par skills. I’m secure in the fact that the area in which I excel is basically “gluing shit to other shit”. In fact, I recently spent a cool $3.99 on a hot glue gun to really up my game. I peruse pinterest fully envisioning alongside the picture perfect examples of completed projects (CHILDREN’S PROJECTS, mind you) what they would look like under my tutelage.
I evaluate contenders based on the following criteria:
- how expensive are the materials? Can I use garbage? Like those 700 egg cartons I’ve hoarded in the basement “because maybe the kids could use them for something”? How about just crap that I already have? Like coffee filters? Last spring we painted them as butterflies and hung them by fishing line in the front window where they remained until the snow fell and I swapped them out for coffee filter snowflakes. Versatile little buggers.
- how long will this take? Chances are good if start to finish runs longer than approximately 8.5 minutes, I’m going to be sitting at the table looking like Billy Madison doing this bull by myself.
- how much of a mess is this going to make? If clean up is longer than the aforementioned 8.5 minutes, count me out. That’s like getting a root canal and following it up by yanking out the tooth.
- how difficult is it overall? I mean, if I do my own, is it guaranteed to look better than the 2 year olds? How about the 8 year olds? I know art is about the experience, it’s not a competition, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. If I can’t best a toddler, my creative self esteem can’t take it.
All that considered, it was never my intention to make posts about making art with children. However, it HAS been my intention to keep it real. Thus, a new series was born.
Each week this summer, I intend to post the nitty gritty of the shitshow that ensues when I take on a project (of minimal proportions) with my children. It won’t be pretty. People may suffer first degree burns, vacuum cleaner bags may be filled with glitter, fingers could be glued together. You know, if all goes well.