She’s Crafty: I Hated Making Crafts With My Kid Until I Actually Tried

December 14, 2015  |  

“Mom-meeeeee,” screams your five-year-old daughter, “You promised you were gonna buy some toys to take to school!”

Tomorrow’s her birthday and you were supposed to stop by the 99 Cent store to grab some kid stuff to put in a bag. There’s nothing like the 99 Cent store when it comes to that. Just grab a bunch of stuff and go. They’ve got whistles and stickers and just about anything a five-year old would want. The only problem is, you forgot. And now it’s six o’clock in the evening, and frankly, the last thing you want to do is walk to the 99 Cent.

“What are we gonna dooooooooooo?!” she sobs, making you feel like the world’s worst mom.

“Okay,” you say, thinking fast, “We’ll just have to make something!”

“Make something?” she says, stopping the tears on a dime, and looking at you like she already knows there are holes in this story. When was the last time you made something? You hate arts and crafts. This idea that you would even have the time to sit down and do an art project with your kids is crazy. Since your daughter and her two-and-a-half year-old sister were born, you haven’t sat down for longer than two seconds. Cook dinner, wash dishes, run the bath. Who has time for anything else? Plus arts and crafts make you feel inadequate. The instructions alone send you running. Your worst nightmare is not knowing what to do with a glue stick and some construction paper.

“What can we make?”

“I don’t know. Let’s see what we have around.” You recall a conversation you had one time with your girlfriend Sandy, aka Queen Craft. She was telling you that being crafty isn’t complicated; just use whatever’s lying around the house. It’s a game she would play with her son Tristan when he was growing up. “You’d be amazed at what you can do with some bread twisties, glue, and a bottle top.”

Your eyes fixate on some buckeyes in a plastic container, sitting in the window. You got them the other day when you and your girls were walking to the park and found yourselves surrounded by them- all freshly fallen from the tree. It immediately transported you back to Ohio, where buckeyes grow aplenty. Hence the name, the Buckeye State. Each year, you and your brother would make necklaces out of them. All you needed was a buckeye, a screwdriver and some string.

“Grab the buckeyes!” you shout, like a captain about to run her ship. Your girls go scrambling. Next thing you know, you’re rocking out to some Bollywood hip-hop, screwing holes through the middle of the buckeyes, while your girls cut the string. The place looks like a war zone, and your daughters keep fighting over the scissors, but in all its pretty fun. Just like the old days in Toledo with your brother.

The next afternoon, you skip to your daughter’s school with the buckeyes burning a hole through your purse. “Did you bring them mommy?!” screams your daughter, as soon as you walk through the door. You don’t know who’s more excited.

After they sing her Happy Birthday it’s time for the big unveiling. With great care, she takes the necklaces out of your bag and goes around the room, giving each kid one. They are in awe. “Oooooh, did you make these?”

Even her teacher, Ms. P., comes over to ask where you got the buckeyes and the string. Suddenly, you find yourself explaining how you did it like one of those YouTube tutorials. “You’re crafty!” she exclaims, impressed. Then she invites you to come do arts and crafts once a month with the kids.

Is she joking? But then you look around at how the kids have already begun to put on their necklaces, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d think that they had just gotten a really big gift from Santa. You realize that you don’t hate arts and crafts and it’s not even about whether or not you’re good at it. Of course you could be good at it. Rocket science it is not. What you really hate is the fact that you can’t sit still. That most of the time you’re so worried about not having enough time that you don’t make time for anything fun. These necklaces slowed you down, and it wasn’t about whether they were done perfectly or not. It was about the sheer joy of making them–and now seeing the look of pride on your kid’s face is priceless.

Honestly, you could do this crafty mom thing again. Something tells you that you’d be good at it. But once a month though, sounds like torture. Sorry Ms. P. Baby steps.

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