Wednesday, 6 November 2013

As Crafty as They Come

     Today was Reading Café at The Girl’s school. Reading Café? It’s a chance for parents to go into the school for the last hour of the day, do a bit of reading, then make something with their child. The idea is to improve communication between parent and child by getting them to work together on the project.

     So I turned up (damp and short-sighted, my glasses had misted up in the rain), collected The Girl from her classroom then made my way to the school hall. We read to each other, then a teacher read Funnybones to all of us. Every child loves Funnybones, don’t they? Well, every child in this household at least. I dreamily look back on those days when The Boy used to demand I read it over and over again when he was three. Over and over again. Over. And. Over. Again.  Every day. Every. Day. For months. I didn’t even need to look at the book by the end of it, it was like the mantra of a cult that had brainwashed me into the worship of bones. And The Girl! The Girl still loves Funnybones now that she’s five. I am doing everything I can to hasten her reading skills so she can curl up with a book, any book, any book at all, perhaps that one with the yellow border, all by herself.

     This particular teacher was obviously a frustrated performer, because she managed to spin out her rendition of the book to a good twenty-five minutes. Yes, twenty-five minutes. Twenty five minutes. Of. Funnybones. I was sitting in an especially exposed position, so I had no way of discreetly distracting myself from the inept assembly of a skeleton dog by arsing about on twitter. Instead, I let the words wash over me like a grey wave of torture.

     All resistance beaten out of me, it was time to move onto the Craft Project. No, sorry, that’s not quite right. It’s the ‘FUN Craft Project’. FUN. FUN Craft Project.

     I absolutely fucking hate craft.

     I’m crap at it, it takes forever to set up and do, the thing you’re trying to make always comes out wrong and not at all as you expected it to, and then after all that faff, you have to tidy everything away and clean up. Except that stuff involved in your crafting will have scattered itself to all four corners of the house, and for months afterwards you’ll still be finding sequins every time you sweep the kitchen floor, or weird little pools of glitter next to the bathroom sink. Every time I move a large piece of furniture in the house I find at least two beads, a piece of painted pasta and Prittstick lid behind them.

     Everything involved in craft is designed to aggravate and irk me. Every time I buy The Blondies a magazine (Moshi Monters for him, Sparkly Pink Tat for her) there is always a craft project involved in it somewhere, and despite knowing my very firm views on the subject, they pester me to help them assemble something. I start by saying no, then’ I’m not really very good at this sort of thing’, a feeble plea of ‘Wouldn’t it be better to do this kind of thing with Daddy?’, and before I know it, it’s two hours later, I have smears of glue on my forehead, glitter coating my hands and a very wobbly and precarious looking Princess carousel made from the glossy pages of the magazine. I take one step back, panting slightly, one corner sags, the front peels off, the whole fucking thing falls apart, and I get The Rage.

     I do everything possible to avoid craft. But it’s part of the Reading Café thing, and The Girl was excited about it. Also, I reasoned to myself, if it does go as spectacularly tits up as every previous attempt at craft, I can just say that The Girl did it ‘all by herself’ and absolve myself of any responsibility and involvement.
I ended up working on a table with another mum and her daughter whom I’d seen around, but never really spoken to. The little girl had the same name as me, so it sounded a bit like her mum was cheering me on the whole time 'That's great Lucy! Well done Lucy!'. The other mum mouthed at me, perfectly deadpan ‘I hate craft’.

     Ahh, a soulmate.

     Oh god, it was terrible. We had to make a Funnybones skeleton thingy by cutting out various drawings of bones, then put them together with little matchstick sized bits of wood and sellotape. I can’t even use scissors to cut along a straight line, so little detailed things like fingers are best avoided. The Girl was having a logic bypass and kept insisting on sticking sellotape on the bits that didn’t need it, and my namesake swapped the ribcage and pelvis of her skeleton around, so he either had a bowtie on or very pert breasts (depending on the purity of your thoughts). The other mum clearly had her alibi already established, and was constantly solicitously getting drinks for the other parents at the table, a drink for her daughter, offering her chair to others, so that when the monstrosity of the FUN craft project was unveiled, she could deflect blame and legal responsibility entirely on to her daughter. Of course, the other parent at the table had managed to make all three figures of the skeletons (the big skeleton, the little skeleton and the dog) and his daughter was happily colouring them in before we’d even worked out what all the bones were on the one single skeleton we were wrestling with.

     And finally, the end result.

     I fucking hate CRAFT.


Sam said...

I know what you mean about craft! I used to go to baby groups where various crafting stuff was available and there was always one super creative/competitive mum there who knocked up something ridiculously good looking and unique. I did manage to get JJ's handprint on a father's day card once mind you - that's about the extent of my crafting imagination (and it wasn't even my idea!) :-)

Lucy Benedict said...

There's always one person who can create the most amazing stuff from a teabag and a coathanger, whilst the rest of us can't even manage to join the dots on a child's puzzle.

I've just remembered the time I was stoney flat broke as a teenager, so I made my mum some candleholders for Mothering Sunday.

I filled various nice jars with funkily coloured fishbowl gravel, and shoved some candles in the top. It looked a bit cack, so I decided to add glitter and little stars to the candles.

Oh Jesus. My poor, poor mum. It must have taken all of her power not to burst into tears when she was presented with them.