Part of me has always thought it’s a shame I don’t want kids because I’d be so good at helping them with schoolwork. Not long division or algebraic functions, mind you, but artsy projects involving poster board, glue sticks, Magic Markers and shoe boxes. Ribbons, rubber stamps and Popsicle sticks. Pompoms and pipe cleaners.
Then my fiancé, Jeff, entered the picture with three kids and an opportunity to prove myself. I flunked. Creative I am. Crafty I am not.
While crafty people are by definition creative, creative people are not by definition crafty. For me, the act of creating is an entirely mental process, whereas making posters and shoebox dioramas requires a good deal of cooperation between the brain and hands. I can visualize a brilliant student council campaign poster in my head but I can’t stencil on letters evenly to save my life (or a 9-year-old’s candidacy).
This time last year, Jeff’s daughter was assigned to select a fictional character from a book, write a character sketch, and then decorate a pumpkin to look like him or her (or it). Literature! Writing! Pumpkin defacement! How fun is that?
The character Ali chose has golden hair and chicken pox. Just picture the possibilties!
Envisioning the project was fun indeed. Executing it was not. We bought yellow yarn for the hair and then had to figure out how to curl it and make it stick to a pumpkin head. We tried double-sided tape, thumbtacks and staples. Our poor Goldie looked like a Frankenstein creature undergoing chemo.
Let’s pause here. This is the moment of truth that separates the crafty from the clueless. If you’re in the former camp, you’re thinking…
Hot glue gun. Problem solved. Duh!
Which is what Ali’s mom probably thought when she replaced me as art director.
There were lessons learned all around. I discovered that there aren’t many craft projects that won’t benefit from the use of a hot glue gun, provided I am not the one using it.
And I hope the kids learned that stepmoms aren’t put on earth to mess up children’s lives. Just their art projects.