I was inveigled into facilitating acts of aggravated craft today, which always leaves me feeling .. well. There are a range of responses, actually, and usually a single session can produce all of them.
1. Smugness - Look how creative my children are. Look how totally laid back I am about the mess they are making as they sweetly create googly eyed monsters! Look what a gigantic stash of craft materials I have! Look, I'll make my own because I'm SO damn relaxed!
2. Control freakery - "Darling, that cardboard tube slide is never going to work if you balance it on the sheet of felt at that angle. Just give it here I'LL do it. Now pass me the red beads. No, not those ones, the smaller ones. And another 3 pipe cleaners. Just put your finger here and don't move. DO NOT TOUCH THAT!"
3. Foreboding - Are they ever going to stop? Do Fimo stains come out of Ikea pine? This is all costing me more than a family trip to Disneyland, isn't it? Oh crap, is that a packet of Satan's dandruff (glitter) I see clasped in a claggy hand?
4. Irritation - Ok, there's really NO need for that many google eyes on one pompom. I don't CARE if it's a spider, can't you go and watch tv like normal children, godalmighty. I mean, pipe cleaners? The clue is in the name, kids, pipe cleaners have no place in 2011. We only played with them when I was little because Nintendo hadn't been invented, you utter clots.
5. Shame. I am in fact an uptight, killjoy, arse. Not only that, but my pom pom monster is shit, far worse than theirs.
6. Resignation - Fine, whatever, sure, stick eyes on all the cutlery and my phone and the dog's arse. Sprinkle glitter into my cup of tea, and use my Wolfords for monster sleeping bags. I am just going to put my head down here on this slightly sticky corner of the table. Wake me up when it's over. Or, if you are a dog, hide under a blanket and stay verry verry still until it's all over and the tuneless, soul-sapping bleeping of Mario lets you know the coast is clear.
(The dog is slightly less folorn than yesterday, weepette watchers, though he still has the pained expression of one who would be more at ease sitting on an inflatable rubber doughnut).
I am working on a patented Beddington formula to define the tipping point into parental meltdown on any given craft project, but it needs refining. I also need to work on The Immutable Rules of Craft (such as 'the lid is gone and it is never coming back. Do not even bother looking for it', 'whatever scrap of tat you throw away will be instantly needed and irreplaceable', and 'if it's wet or stainy, it's already all over your tax return'). If anyone has made a breakthrough with this, I would love to hear it.