Sunday, March 11, 2012

She's Crafty

 I’ll admit it. I can be pretty half assed about my motherly duties. Mainly because most of the time I can’t believe 
I’m a mom to begin with and maybe this is just a long babysitting gig. And come on who really watched the kids the whole time when you were babysitting? So there it is. That is until I discovered craft time. 
 We’re watching Nick Jr. (Or Mick Jr. as my three year old calls it which makes me laugh every time. I immediately picture a channel devoted to small Irishman). Their slogan is “It’s preschool on T.V.” so that justifies hours of 
watching wonderfully. But today is different. We’re watching and I notice their suggestion for craft time and 
something in me changes. I sit up from my normal lounge position, put down my Twilight book (Team Edward!) 
and the inner virgo in me takes over. I must organize a craft time!
 I make a list: construction paper, paints, crayons, paint brushes, glue, bags of glittery crap that’s gonna get everywhere and egg cartons. I need egg cartons and toilet paper tubes. I know we can make shit with those. I’m making a frittata tonight and I scream to my three year old to “go to the potty so we can make some art,” which she makes complete sense to her.
 Complete euphoria fills me. I have found my thing! My purpose! I am a crafty mom! I fantasize about how my 
to show off to the neighbors and friends who come over. “Oh this? Yes, isn’t Love Monster amazing? I thought of it. No big deal.” Inside they will be thinking, she isn’t such a half assed mother after all. Yes! I don’t totally suck at 
daughter and I will bond over paper plate masks and popsicle stick houses. At the end of the day we’ll have a great 
piece to the neighbors and friends who come over.

 “Oh this? Yes, isn’t Love Monster amazing? I thought of it. No big deal.” Inside they will be thinking, she isn’t such a half assed mother after all. Yes! I don’t totally suck at this!

I get ready for craft time number one. I carefully spread out a plastic tablecloth. Line up all necessary supplies: toilet paper tube, white paint, paint brush, glue, white construction paper, scissors, black marker, and pink fuzzy balls. We are making octopuses. And I’m-I mean she’s going to make the best freaking Octopus ever.
 I throw an old tee-shirt of mine on Love Monster and it almost fits (Jeez I used to wear that in public? How did I 
ever find a decent husband?). 
 “It’s craft time!” I announce.
 “Yay!” She says matching my fervor. God bless her.
 “We are going to make an Octopus today!” I say.
 “Pussy!” She says. That’s my girl. Oy…
 “And how many legs (arms?) do Octopuses have?” I ask. I’m going to make this a learning activity too. Mom high!! I am good at this! 
 “Four” my daughter said confidently. 
 “No, eight. But you’re three so I’ll let that slide.” And I let her into my arts and crafts sanctuary.
 Now would be a good time to mention I have a very… enthusiastic toddler.
 She storms in and jumps up on the chair. “Paint sticks!” she screams grabbing the paint brush. Duh.
 “Freeze!” I yell. She freezes to my surprise.
 And we embark on the pussy making journey.
 Step one: paint the body (TP roll) white. 
 “Go ahead paint it.” She gets the paint everywhere but the freakin’ tube. Finally I take the brush and do it. 
 “No. Like this,” I say painting it perfectly. This is just to show her how to do it, I tell myself.
 Step two: Cut the tentacles.
 A toddler with scissors? I better do this too.
 Step three: glue on the pink balls (suckers) and attach them to the body
 “Go ahead, put just a tiny bit of glue there,” I tell my daughter who is going nuts in her seat to do something. 
Handing her the glue is absolute torture. 
 “Just squeeze it. There you go. Harder. Come on. No! Too hard. Dot, dot, not a lot!!! Dammit it’s everywhere! Give it to me. Don’t touch anything! Don’t frickin’ touch anything! Hands up!” 
 Yeah. This must be super fun for her.
 I glue this monstrosity together while Love Monster holds her gluey hands over her head.
 “Mama? I do eyes?’ she asks sweetly.
 I take a deep breath. It’s okay. Relinquish the control, Beth. You can do it. I hand her the black marker, my hands 
 “Make two dots,” I whisper. Breath in and out. She can do this.
 She grabs the not yet dry Octopus pushing a couple legs out of alignment. I bit my knuckles. It’s cool. I’m fine. You can do it, kid...
 And she makes lines. 
 Not even horizontal! Horizontal, and I could have made that work. The octopus could have been Asian. How hard it is to make dots?!? I mean come on!
  I look at my daughter and you should see the look on her face. She loves this octopus. Loves it. The pride in her 
eyes makes me melt. She stares at it for a good half hour then naps with it and names it Dale.
 I’ve gotten better at our craft time. I let her do the painting. Let her glue. I’ve let go of the fact that the fridge
paintings you see on T.V. shows will never be the art that hangs around my house. I am very serious about that by 
the way. The “kid’s” art you see hanging the background on T.V. sets are probably done by some art department 
intern. If my kid’s art looked like that I would send her to RISD now. But hell, I always end up loving the piece of 
crap Octopus, caterpillar or finger-painting. Because it’s my kid’s piece of crap and it looks lovely on my fridge.

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