When it’s crafty competitive.
You know I’m not crafty right? If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you’ll also know that doing homework with The Beast is more painful then watching The Chunky Monkey eat peas with a fork one.by.one.
For the past four years I’ve avoided crafts like the plague, the paints have only ever come out twice…both times in the garden which resulted in paper flying across the lawn and getting stuck to the kitchen window. As I hosed the brown splodge that was in direct line with my washing up view, I vowed never to paint again. After all, they both went to nursery, and that’s what grandparents are for right?
Before you worry about my OCD getting in the way of the children enjoying life blah blah blah, I must confirm, just because crafts bring me out in a cold sweat, dirt doesn’t. Being a country girl I love walks in the woods, collecting frog spawn, holding lizards. I don’t mind my children being dirty (that’s what the hosepipe is for after all), I just like it outside, where my wallpaper isn’t in danger and my furniture at risk.
However, The Beast being in school has changed things somewhat. Not only do they get homework every week, which every now and then they throw in a craft related project (usually during a holiday where we have no excuse), they also have fancy dress days.
I approached it all cautiously to begin with…filling in the sheets with The Beast, offering up bribes, and when he was in bed attempting to rub out/wipe off the dried Cheerios and Nutella from the back of the page, in hope that it was presented better. But as time went on, I found myself getting competitive. I’d listen to mums in the playground talking about the homework, I’d see paper mache sculptures being brought to the door and I felt the adrenaline surge through my veins, so very slowly, I started to make small changes. Perhaps instinctively attempting to change the perspective that nursery had of me (useless), maybe people at school might think I was a competent parent if I had things such as a craft box in my house. If The Beast came in a homemade Ace of Hearts costume for their Alice in Wonderland book day (actually I was totally incompetent, I left it until two days before then realised no internet could deliver in time, and all local fancy dress shops had sold out of costumes).
I continued on, beginning to mount his school work and sticking it into his homework book the night before
I have he has to give it in (WHAT? his writing isn’t the best, in desperate times PRESENTATION IS EVERYTHING). Three nights a week, I have to sit down with the boy to help him complete his homework, I bribe, I cajole, I think of new and exciting ways to make things happen and present stuff, all in hope to get my next gold sticker stuck in the book on Friday at pick up help him find learning fun, encourage him to get involved and to help him absorb everything he needs to.
Then the most recent school holidays we were set a BUG IN A BOX task. The children had to create a bug in a box, make the box similar to the habitat of the bug. I asked The Beast what he wanted to do for his homework project “DUNNO” was the immediate answer. I offered up a suggestion “Ladybird?” “No Daddy is scared of them” (do NOT get me started on this), “Caterpillar?” “No they pooh” then in a burst of inspiration I got excited “SPIDER!” “YES SPIDER-MAN!” “No…a spider…a big fluffy spider” “Oh. whatever…can I dress up as Spider-Man please?” NO YOU’RE IN THE BATH.
Anyway. I clapped my hands with glee, and the next day while The Chunky Monkey was at nursery we got cracking (what, do you really think I’m going to craft with TWO children? Especially with one that’s likely to stick the pipe cleaners up his nose). I decided it was time to show off everything I knew. After all, I had done A-Level Art dontcha know?
We pom-pomed a spider. We painted the box my wedding shoes had been kept in for nearly ten years at the kitchen table. Admittedly he was stripped down to his pants and I hovered nervously with a cloth. We stuck leaves and stickers in the box, and we made webs out of PVA glue. As I type this I’m looking smug. I was on CRAFTING FIRE.
The night before he wrote his little piece about the box, we stuck it (mounted) on the top, and
totally didn’t slap his hand away as he tried to help me put it in a bag ready to take in. I quizzed him “HOW did we make the spider?” “HOW did we make the web?”
I met the other mums at the door, each of us carrying a box. The children were excited, they wanted to show each other their projects they’d been working so hard on, Mum’s had never been so involved. Nervous instructions fired “no..don’t tip…no no er stand back, no STEP AWAY FROM THAT PUDDLE”. The classroom door opened…the children took the boxes in, it was out of our hands. The competition was over. The winner will be determined silently as we observe the pictures on the website, or if we get the opportunity to go to the corridor where they are displayed.
The text came out thanking us for the homework, informing us the pictures are on the website.
I’m not ashamed to say I ended a conversation on the phone swiftly and logged on to look. The competition was fierce, but surely my techniques would have got me through?
No. Because the quote from my child began with “We used plastic for the webs….” NO WE DIDN’T!
I may or may not have shouted at the screen “WE USED GLUE! GLUE! I KNOW WE USED GLUE BECAUSE YOU DID IT ON MY KNEE AND GOT IT ON MY FAVOURITE JEANS!” (I’d stupidly got complacent towards the end).
Next project now has to be even better…Pass The Gin…I need to hire a professional I think.