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Monday, December 20, 2010

crafting with children

So, I am a crafty person. I love doing nifty little projects to spruce up my house, or dress my kids, or make someone a present.

However. And it’s a big however. Crafting with my children is another matter. It’s so bah humbug of me but oh my gosh crafting with young children is like the ultimate test of patience and endurance for a mama.

When little man was around 2 and started showing an interest in scissors and glue and such I started in on the crafty attempts with him. Then we got one of those kit things with all of the pieces needed to make a ladybug out of a paper plate for his birthday. This is when I first discovered the horrors of crafting with children. He wanted to put the feelers on the stomach, the dots on the head instead of the wings, and cover the whole thing with the glitter meant for the butterfly. And I am all “NO YOU CANT DO IT LIKE THAT, YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS.” Which is ridiculous to say to a 2 year old, obviously.

Since that delightful experience I have tried to do mainly free form projects (once a bunch of loops of colored paper turned into a city, another time we made jumping frogs and birds, then of course coloring and playdoh and such etc.) if there are no directions mama can’t get all perfectionist-y on her poor kids, you know?

But then the other day two things got me to feeling guilty and attempt projects again. One was a cute little snowman made out of tube socks (like this one) that my children admired at a friend’s house the other day. I was like, cute! She said, oh my son made that in preschool years ago. (My, not-sending-my-kid-to-preschool guilt rears its head so I am like oh. I could totally do that. And I will. Dammit.) Second, I was reading a lovely blog where the non-TV watching, all wood toy playing, crafty family took apple slices and popcorn and dried fruit and made popcorn strings to take outside and decorate trees as a Christmas treat for the forest animals. Amazingly cute, right?

So first, I pop some popcorn, butter some for the kids, and leave the rest for our strings. I pull out the dried blueberries from the dried fruit mix we get at Costco (NO ONE eats the blueberries), get a needle and thread, pop on a DVD for the kids. Christmas fun in the making, right?


First off, little man’s interest waned after approximately 4 popcorn pieces. Little miss was only interested in eating the popcorn. Then she dumped it on the floor. The mama stabbed her finger. And got pissed off. Three strands of popcorn later I unceremoniously throw some on the bushes outside while the children watch from the window. (Did I mention it was like 2 degrees outside? So, no frolicking in the forest for my babes. I was also wearing only yoga pants and a sweater when I went out, stepped into a 3 foot drift and got snow all down my boot. My calves were cold for two hours after. The kids thought it was hilarious.) One strand now adorns the kitchen window. Tied up with bits of fabric it’s actually really cute and sweet as a Christmas decoration.

Okay. So after this I am like. NO DARNIT. My children WILL craft. They WILL ENGAGE. And so, a mere hour later I gather tube socks, glue, yarn, bits of fabric and buttons to the table. Oh and children too. (HA HA) Come ON! ITS GONNA BE SO DARN FUN!

Now as a set up to this, it was Friday, after a long tiring week, I was home alone with the kids for the night as dada was working late and I was tired, and grumpy, and it was dinner time but as the kids had been eating popcorn all afternoon so I figured we do the craft then some hot dogs or something then whisk them off to bed.

So I take the sock, dump in some rice as the base, then some stuffing (totally pulled from a throw pillow with a hole in it) and tie it into three sections. Next an old red sock gets cut up, into a hat shape, and sewn onto the head to cover the end of the sock.

This is about when the kids start falling apart.

MY HUG SNOWMAN! Says baby girl.

I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF. Says little man.



So. I give up.

Baby girl hugs the sock with the half sewn on hat (SNOWMAN, nice! MY HUG!)

Little man glues buttons on (Why does it look like a pig? he asks.)

Mama goes and pours herself a glass of wine. Have fun kids!

Upon collecting myself, prying the half sewn snowman from baby girl’s hands, sewing the gluey buttons in place, and shooing the children away in order to put in pipe cleaners for arms and make a really fetching little snow baby out of a tiny baby tube sock, I relinquish the creations to the children.

They promptly hug them and/or throw them across the room (SUPER SNOWMAN!) as bits fall off. (MAMA FIX IT!)

And then mama sits and stares at facebook for a good 20 minutes (with glass of wine in hand.)

Grueling experience, however, the resulting snow family is really cute. And the kids play with them daily.

The whole experience made me resolve two things. 1) to never again attempt a project at dinner time and 2) to try again, with the utmost patience, to do fun Christmas crafts this week. We aren’t going anywhere. We are expecting more snow. So. FIVE DAYS OF CRAFTS. Let’s call it penance for my bad attitude with the snowmen.

Wish me luck.


  1. we are all laughing here! As a side note, last night I made frosting for sugar cookies and decorated them all by myself, since everyone else was busy with grown-up teen things. Enjoy your week with your babies and keep us posted on your and Merry Christmas!


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