Not the Kind of Mama (Vol. 1): The Crafty Kind

There are a lot of things that I am not as a mom, which is why this is titled Vol 1. I bet there are more volumes to come.

So…Pinterest. I was early to the party, so I have been a member for awhile. But like a really good party, it isn't any fun until your people start showing up. And over the past month or so, my people are arriving in droves. So I've been pinning, and it's more than a little bit addicting.

(For those of you who don't "pin", Pinterest functions like a virtual pinboard that your followers can view and "repin." And because of this Pinterest algorithm, pins that get repinned "go viral" rather quickly.)

It is also a helpful planning tool for my SIL's upcoming baby shower, the kids' upcoming birthday party and Valentine's Day. So today, more than a little tired of hearing the sound of my own voice I enlisted the tiny humans for a little Valentine's craft-time-slash-dance-party, inspired by Pinterest. (My small people and I – we like to dance. It lessens the yelling.)

So, it turns out that this craft has been described (via Pinterest and also on my Facebook news feed) as a "great way to upcycle broken crayons." But I am not the kind of mama who keeps broken crayons lying around waiting for an upcycling craft project. Let's be honest, I am not the kind of mama who keeps anything lying around waiting for a potential craft project. Which meant that to complete this project, I had to purchase a box of new, perfectly good crayons to break and peel.

This may not sound like a lot of work, but I assure you, it is a giant pain in the ass. Especially as T & A are much better dancers than they are crafters (I mean, they are mine, so I am not shocked). But I soldiered through, and I am pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Here are a couple of tips I learned along the way:

1. Know your fellow "pinners." That way, when they tell you about a "quick and easy craft" you can adjust your expectations accordingly. That smiley girl you went to high school with who was a member of about a gagillion clubs and currently has 1224 Facebook friends? She's not a good candidate for repinning. Neither is the "stay-at-home mom" who also employs a full time nanny or daycare provider. Just saying.

2. Crayons are easier to peel if you break them first.

3. Multicolored mixed media crafts are great for hiding things – flaws, dog hair, and blood from paper cuts, in this case. (Just kidding about the last part.)

4. Pay attention to instructions for things like sizes. I ended up using about 2x as many crayons as necessary because I bought large-sized heart baking sheets. If I had bought the ones with a dozen instead of a half-dozen hearts per sheet I wouldn't have needed to break the new crayons up – I had enough slightly-used-but-definitely-not-broken ones. The silver lining? These heart shaped crayons are like the everlasting gobstobber of crayons.

 5. Preschool Valentines are not about the children. They are about the parents, trying to define what kind of mamas and dadas we are – or are not. And this year, T's mama is sending him with homemade – and pretty freaking awesome – valentines, wondering if it is one of those situations where you "fake it until you make it". Because I might not be the kind of mom who "crafts" yet, but if Pinterest has anything to say about it, maybe I will be someday.


An Open Letter to T’s Preschool

Earlier in the week I received an email from T's preschool. It said:

"Hi All,

Parents have asked for a family class list for play dates and birthday parties. Attached is a copy of the family class list."

Perhaps it should have bothered me that said list included my home address and cell phone number, but I am pretty sure that most of Jack's classmates are internet (iPhone) savvy enough to Google us and find basically the same information, so… who cares. What alarmed me about this particular electronic communication was the thought process that followed:

1. Birthday parties? Wait, so if T doesn't get invited to any birthday parties after the distribution of this list, does that mean he is the smelly kid in class? Or the kid who picks his nose? Shoot, he does that annoying throat-clearing thing now, which we keep joking about is like that kid on The Middle that whispers to himself all the time…

2. Again – birthday parties? T is turning 4 next week, does that mean I am supposed to invite other kids to his birthday party? (The birthday party that is still more of an abstract concept than an actual plan at this point, but still…)

3. Play Dates?! Substitute the words "play dates" for "birthday parties" in thought #1. Repeat with thought #2.

Am tempted to reply all with this:

"Hi all,

I am T's mom. In spite of my asking (bordering on nagging) T to tell me about his day every day upon pickup, he prefers to spend his post-preschool ride home alternately hounding me to listen to "Country Girl" on the radio or demanding to play Angry Birds on my cell phone. Therefore, I have no idea whether he has formed friendships with any of your children and if so what their names might be. We might like to invite some – or all – of you to his upcoming birthday party. Unless your kid mentioned that T is the smelly kid in class, or the nose picker, or the kid who incessantly clears his throat, in which case you can disregard this entire message.

I look forward to hearing from (at least one of) you soon. Even if you want to email me anonymously and confirm that yes, T is any of the above 'that kid'."