Monday, 4 August 2008

The worst craft project in the world ever

Sunday afternoon. Overcast. My family are minding their own business. The CFO is killing people on the Wii. Lashes is dismantling his bedroom. Fingers is secretly and silently stashing his treasures in ever more elaborate hiding places.

"I know!" I trill brightly. "Let's do that papier maché dinosaur!"

We get out the box and study the instructions.

(Note the peeling leprous glue on my thumb in this picture )

The cheerful dinosaur smiles its encouragement at us from the packet. Not suitable for under 3s, I note. Choking hazard. Requires adult supervision. These do not seem to pose insuperable obstacles, since we are all over three, not tremendously inclined to put uninflated balloons in our mouths and one of us is supposedly an adult. With many injunctions not to run away with small pieces, move, offer suggestions or do anything remotely fun, I open the packet.

The first part involves assembling 8 million small cardboard limbs and spikes and stuff and sticking them together with double sided sticky tape. 'Beware any endeavour requiring double sided sticky tape' shall be tattooed to my eyelids henceforth. The double sided sticky tape comes in unfeasibly small pieces with paper on them that is impossible to peel off. I am already sweating by the time I have assembled the first spike. Fingers, with great prescience, loses interest completely at this point. Lashes and I plough on. I think he is mainly humouring me.

After about three quarters of an hour I have assembled a collection of spikes and limbs. We inflate the balloons for head and body and attempt to stick them together. They keep coming unstuck. With extra double sided sticky I eventually manage to cobble them together. We try to put the spikes on the body balloon. I realise they are not remotely in the right place and try to move them. Body balloon bursts.

"Don't worry darlings!" I say with barely suppressed tension "There's a spare!"

We recommence steps 1-8 million with the new balloon. At precisely the same point, the spare balloon also bursts. Bad, bad words come out of my mouth. Fingers, despite his total lack of involvement starts wailing uncontrollably.

"I don't know why you're crying" I snap, my halo slipping quite considerably "you haven't done a bloody thing!"

He wails louder. I stomp upstairs to get another balloon. By the time I get back everyone has gone outside to hide from me.

I eventually cobble the beast together with gaffer tape.

"Time for the papier maché!" I screech hysterically. There is a brief resumption of interest. We tear paper into strips and add glue to water. The enterprise momentarily takes on a fleeting appearance of fun, but this soon ends when we start trying to apply the glue sodden strips to the beast. Within seconds its head is listing alarmingly to the side. Fingers once again loses all semblance of interest and starts wandering around far too close to the scene of the crime with a wheelbarrow filled with water; Lashes continues for a while more out of sympathy than anything else, but even he eventually wanders off. I drop glue all over my patent Miu Miu ballerinas. There is glue on all my clothes and coating my arms right up to my shoulders. One of the legs drops off. Then the tail. The head is hanging on by a precarious thread of sodden gaffer tape.

I hear myself saying repeatedly "This is the worst idea I have ever had. This is the worst thing I have EVER done. Why didn't I learn my lesson with the knitted monkey? In the name of sweet Jesus why am I doomed eternally to repeat my craft mistakes?? ". Everyone goes off and plays football. Things must be bad for them to do this, as all three of them hate football.

Several aeons pass as I try to stem the multiple limb failure with larger and larger strips of paper and more and more glue with no success. At one point the CFO comes over and crouches down next to me.

"Why don't you just throw it in the bin?" he whispers seductively "Go on. Just hand it over and I'll put it in this bin bag. It's never going to work. Go on, go on".

"Nothing would give me greater pleasure" I hiss through gritted teeth "But that would mean all these hours, all this pain and all these new profanities our children have learnt would be in vain. Is that what you want? IS IT??"

"It's doomed" he says and retreats hastily.

Several millenia later I stand back to survey the fruits of my labour. I hate it. I hate myself. Peeling glue residue all over my hands gives me the appearance of a leprous octogenarian. I need gin.

I leave it outside and try to forget this day ever happened.

Sitting on the sofa with a large and inhabitual vodka tonic several hours later a rhythmic drumming noise vaguely registers somewhere in my consciousness. It's raining.

"The fucking dinosaur!" I screech and run outside into the tropical storm which is battering the south of Brussels. The dinosaur has lost head and tail. I bring it in and try to stick them back on with superglue.

"You do know that won't work?" says the CFO, heedlessly ignoring the mortal danger he is once more putting himself in.

"Fuck off".

To be continued....

(= I'll upload a pic of the creature when/if we finish it and I achieve the right cocktail of meds)


zoe said...

Blimey, you do stuff with your kids? I did. Twice.

There is a reason why these activities should be left to their school teachers and why they should have loads of friends to play with during the holidays.

Z said...

Dear God, my children grew up too long ago and I am a victim of false memory syndrome. I kept thinking 'that looks fun'.

I deserve to be taken out and strung up with double-sided sticky tape.

Marianne said...

Oh wow - this truly is craft hell. Is Blue Peter not any help on this type of thing?

Léonie said...

I would have given up as soon as I saw that there were bits involved and it wasn't just all about sticking glue places.

As soon as the dinosaur dries paint him. Then get some velcro tabs and fix them on so that you can attach and detatch the head/tail/legs as you wish, and in many different places. Then take pictures.

Jaywalker said...

Right, so the best thing to do clearly would be to delegate this whole thing to Léonie and Z who between them are brimming with ideas and enthusiasm. The velcro idea is genius.

Z - I'd happily smite you with double sided tape, but unfortunately i need it what with another unfortunate tail incident.

Zoe - Yes, once again your approach to parenting is vindicated. Craft clearly a no no.

Marianne - argh. Who knows? I can get myself into these messes but not out of them.

blogthatmama said...

I prefer simple things, like watching TV and reading novels, it's much less stressful than complicated craft activities.

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