I love arts and crafts … sewing, coloring, fairy house making, painting, you name it, I LOVE it. I’m not very good at any of it (don’t tell my daughter), but it feels so great to let your creativity run wild and free.
After having kids, It seemed obvious this would transfer seamlessly into my parental duties. I imagined afternoons spent creating together; I mean after all, kids LOVE paint [the walls were looking a little plain], play dough [it is so salty and delicious]and crayons [green grout is much prettier]. How can it go wrong!? And there is nothing more magical than that moment in time when inspirations strikes–you could be pinning away on Pinterest, or walking the aisles of your local craft or thrift store, or swimming at the beach and BOOM! Project Idea!
Let’s pause here and try to hold on to this blissful but fleeting moment… the two of us are so pumped to collaborate on what will surely be a masterpiece, each of our minds racing with ideas of what materials to gather and how to assemble it and what the finished product will look like! I’m excited about what a great mom I’m being for giving her this opportunity and not worrying about the extra mess I will have to clean up and the possibility of sneaking in some kind of math or spelling lesson; she is pumped on using scissors, glue and possibly getting a nibble of play dough. And the best part? At the end of this magical journey, we will have something to put on display to remember this quality time we shared. It’s a win-win.
Our most recent manifestation came in the form of an adorable rainbow needlepoint set. It was only $5 and my five year old had some tooth fairy money burning a hole in her pocket, I of course fell victim to the illusion (delusion) of what could be so we tossed it in the basket and headed home. Full of inspiration from the rainbow printed plastic grid, we waited a couple of weeks before we actually broke it out of the box. But on that glorious day when her baby sister went down for a nap we pulled out yarn, a real needle and got to work!
It was actually great at first, she sat on my lap, I showed her how and where to thread the needle through the grid. She was doing great and was really into it! I let my mind wander through my hopes for what this project could teach: Math Skills (counting how many squares are in each row, how many we have done, how many are left). Perseverance (I know you want it to be finished right now, but this project will take time, be patient it will be worth it). Motor Skills (it’s kind of hard working that needle in and out).
Things started to get a little crazy when I realized the blue yarn was really long (they are all precut in accordance to how much you will need for each color).
I assumed you needed to leave them their predetermined length so we had to pull all of blue yarn through EACH hole (I’m going to pause here and say that after rereading the instructions, maaaaybe I could have cut it and prevented the emotional roller coaster ride that ensued, maybe next time). There is a lot of “sky” in this picture and therefore a lot of blue yarn. “Okay, go up through this one and then diagonal down through that one. DI-AG-NAL. Yep, great. And then pull. Pull. Keep pulling. Wait it’s getting tangled. Okay, go across the room. No don’t just fling it all around it’s going to get… Hold on, let me get out this knot.” “Mom, can we be done yet?” “Done? We have only made three stitches!” Ohhhh math opportunity! “Here, let’s count; 1-2-3… there are 37 squares in each row (THIRTY-SEVEN!), we have done THREE!, now how many more do we need to do?” Too many. TOO many, and I ask myself, can we please be DONE? No, we are DOING this!
We continue on this way, taking turns, pulling and pulling and pulling the yarn, and then after we complete one or two she counts either how many we have done or how many we have left. This actually should have been good, built-in math practice just as I had imagined! But the clock was ticking, the baby’s nap was almost over, I still had hopes of folding at least a t-shirt before she woke up. And at this point, my oldest daughter had spent more time playing other games while I untied knots and pulled yarn. Time to abort math lesson, let’s just get this over with. “Okay, if we stop counting after every one we do, it will go faster.” More stitching, more pulling, more counting. “Can we please be done now?” “No. This kind of project takes perseverance, it doesn’t happen quickly, and you will appreciate it when we finish it. Now pull. Don’t sit on it! IT’S GOING TO GET TANGLED!! Let me get this knot out.” I’m yelling, she is OVER it, but I am determined that we are going to get through this line. We ride the waves of accomplishment, frustration, perseverance, boredom and we finally, FINALLY make it to the end of the row. We both breathed a sigh of relief, put the kit back in the box and haven’t mentioned it since. I picked up the crying baby out of the crib and put the box away… that was more than a month ago.
I still believe we will finish it one day, which means I’m either an optimist or a glutton for punishment. It’s kind of like child birth, the more time that passes the easier it is to say, “was it really that bad? (yes it was) Maybe I could do it again.” And just like that, the moment of inspiration will strike and you will find yourself in that blissful bubble of hope and start the process all over again. Perhaps, this time, I will read the instructions more carefully and we will be able to make it through with everyone’s ego in tact.