Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crafty Obsession

Besides math and science, my most dreaded subject in school was art. I have vivid memories of my 6th grade teacher making us create monthly calendars. Only the best were displayed on the wall each month. Out of a nine month school year, I got my calendar only displayed once, it was my Mother's day one. Every time my teacher would hand back our graded calendars mine would say, "Use a ruler." Letter grade, "C". Damn it I did use a ruler and the fucking lines never ever came out straight no matter how hard I tried! Of course, later in adult hood, I learned how to use a ruler properly. But seriously I hated art. Nothing ever came out as I envisioned, everything always looked horrible. My stick figures were even bad.

Later, as a teacher myself, I learned to embrace art. I became creative. I would make all kinds of wonderful wall displays...with the help of my super talented super artistic boyfriend (now hubby). One of the things that attracted me to Hubby was that he could draw, that he could create anything with his hands. In fact, inheriting his artistic talent was one of the things I hoped the kids would get the most. Embarrassingly using my artistic skills while teaching History to middle schoolers can be funny, when everything one draws looks like a penis. I even encouraged students to be creative, many times I would give them choices on how to show understanding, written or artistic. And I never graded on how well the art was done, but on comprehension.

Now, as a parent I am knee deep in crafting and I am slowly going mad. I hate art. I hate crafting, I hate everything about it, except the joy my kids get in creating it. Cookie asks to craft about 100 times a day. I have an entire cabinet devoted to crafting supplies, which she is bound and determined to go through in a month. I am constantly stepping on sticky crafting things. I have gems stuck to the bottom of my shoes, my feet, and on my couch, in our food. There have been tears over the fact that certain things are not going according to Cookie's vision. There are tears because I say no to crafting, there are tears when I tell her to clean up and stop. There are tears because we don't have any more purple sparkle paper.

I wince when Cookie asks to craft. There is much yelling over crafting...mostly by reluctant me. I want to pull my hair out every morning beginning at 6 a.m., when my little Cookie starts harping about crafting for the day. Here is how the most innocent conversation turns me into the World's Worst Mother.

Cookie: "Can we do crafting"
Me: "Not right now"
Cookie: "I want to do crafting"
Me: "Later, I am not ready to deal with the mess."
Cookie: "I want to do crafting."
Cookie, now in tears: " I just love it so much. Can't you do crafting with me? I want to do it now."

Yep, Every. Single. Day. And every single day, I dissolve into a screaming crazy mom because, frankly I suck at crafting, and we end up fighting. Cookie asks me to help her. I tell her what she wants to do is impossible, it just can not work out. That there is no way possible I can do what she wants me to do. She dissolves into tears and begs me. I end up screaming.

Crafting makes me dissolve into a tantrum throwing child. When I was about 11, my Mom, sister, neighbor, and I made Gingerbread houses. Well this uncrafty person ended up smashing her uncooperative house to bits in a fit of frustration with my frosting knife. Picture graham crackers, frosting, and candy flying everywhere with me yelling and screaming, huffing and puffing. We never made Gingerbread Houses again, and I think my Mom gave up trying to craft with me. Girl Scouts was pure torture for this untalented girl.

And to think I was actually happy that it seems my kids got the artist gene! Cause frankly, I am starting to resent my sweet little Cookie and even Jelly, who loves to sit and peel stickies off the backs of gems and stick them to construction paper. Both love to paint, and color and create, and I hate it all. And I am frustrated that Hubby does it so easily with them, when he finds the time. I hate those Moms who come up with cutesy crafting projects and like it. I hate Martha Stuart, too just for her..."let's see what we can make with these pine cones and ribbon." But, mostly I just hate crafting. And I hate that my dinning room table and floor are littered with glue, glitter, stickers, gems, sequins and bits and pieces of paper. As soon as I clean it, they want to start over again. Of course I buy it for them, I contribute to the madness, and I am ultimately the CRAZY ONE in this household.

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