Please tell me it’s not just me and my genetic legacy that are terrible at craft. I see so many amazing blogs and ideas for craft and I just think ‘is this real? Are people actually doing this? Or is this an industry based on lies?’ I have seen pictures of happy children sitting down and decoupaging the equivalent of a Ming vase, and then apparently waiting for it to be ready. Personally, I have super-glued my own hand to my face. Twice. Due to my own ineptitude I had quite low expectations for craft and my children. This has come in handy.
Here are four easy craft activities that fought back.
Colouring: Or as I experience it, admiring my children’s dedication to artistic work for 23 seconds followed by saying things like ‘Not on the wall!’ and ‘If you stab the paper like that then the pencil will break.’ Which results in ‘Oh no the pencil broke! *under breath* like I TOLD you it would.’ They graduate to using pens, ‘Look Mummy!’ my boy exclaims, ‘You’ve used a lot of orange!’ I say. This is not good enough. ‘Do you know what it is?’ Crap. It’s an orange swirly thing with stabby orange bits. This, incidentally, is the wrong answer.
Nature Boxes: I thought this would be great. Really great. I was excited. Hubris. We all eagerly went into the garden with our cardboard box (thank you Bunnings) and I explained the parameters. ‘We’ll put bits of nature in our box, flowers and beautiful leaves, maybe create a secret garden?’ Dirt. This was interpreted as throwing in dirt. I was carrying a box filled with dirt. I explained again. Eventually, we had a box filled with interesting leaves, flowers and gum-nuts. My children were skipping around like pixies and I was thrilled. I had successfully crafted (kind of). We went inside to add dinosaurs (because we see them in nature all the time). That fucking box was tipped out in 3 seconds flat. There was nature everywhere.
Painting: Painting sucks, for me. They love painting. My husband loves it when they paint too, although I suspect this is because he gets to donate a ‘painting shirt’ which is really just a novelty t-shirt he hates from last Christmas. My children burn through painting, they swish their brushes across the page and shout ‘MORE PAPER!’ I am in a frenzy of trying to hang up bits of wet, dripping paper and supply the demons with more fodder. When I’m not quick enough they paint themselves, each other, and on one memorable occasion – the cat.
Making a Sparkly Crown: There was a slight obsession with royalty at one stage in my house. ‘I need a crown’ the small one insisted. The big one chimed in ‘I know how we make one, we get paper and a stapler’ (I was leaning against the wall doing deep breathing at this point). When things stopped being blurry I girded my loins (I’m not actually sure what this means but it is a fantastic sentence) and got paper and the stapler. After the third packet of glitter was flung around ‘I’m opening it! I’m opening it!’ and the fifth finger stapled (mine) we all agreed to use pretend crowns.
I know it’s not just me, there are others out there who too feel the cold chill of fear down their spine when craft is mentioned. I was at a library Rhyme Time watching my small people over dramatize ‘Old MacDonald’ when it was announced: ‘Craft Time!’ The suction created from myself and at least ten other parent’s horrified intake of breath meant a small child cycling past was pulled off his bike. The terror is real.
For those of you who can craft and craft well, and who have children who do the colouring in thing without the stabbing thing – I am in awe of you. You are a majestic crafting unicorn. But alas, I will never be you. I’ll be over here, watching my children massacre ripped up colourful bits of paper and a glue-stick, and thinking ‘hang on, they’re actually improving.’