As parents, we have to be clear about our expectations and limitations… this is especially true when it comes to that tricky activity called crafting. Of course we all want our children to express themselves creatively, but there are downsides. In case you also have misgivings in this area, I have composed the following Crafting Manifesto. Please feel free to revise this template to best fit your needs.
It has come to our attention that you would like to make some crafts. Since you have expressed interest in doing so under our roof, we would like to clarify our policies on these kinds of endeavors.
Firstly, we will undertake crafting projects composed almost exclusively of everyday objects. We are referring to items we already have in the home, such as: toilet paper rolls, cotton balls, tape, and paper clips. You are most welcome to rifle through the recycling bin in order to upcycle other treasures. We will not, however, drive 25 or even 15 miles to obtain obscure crafting materials. We believe this constraint will encourage MacGyver-like ingenuity and also mitigate our gasoline expenditures.
Secondly, glue will be limited to the stick variety. Yes, we are aware of the superior efficacy of glue that can be squeezed out of a bottle and also shot out of a hot glue gun, but our multi-pronged analysis has determined that the risks with these types of adhesives highly outweigh the benefits. Along these lines, when not in use, glue sticks will be stored in a safety deposit box along with the magic markers and paints. This box is located on top of the refrigerator. Since we have discovered that you can climb to any elevation you put your mind to, the passcode to this box will be changed on a weekly basis.
Third, scissors can be utilized for the purposes of crafting, but can only be handled by persons over the age of 18 (ID required). While we realize that this could be considered overly stringent, or in your words and volume level “NOT FAIR!!” we have learned (the hard way — take note of the scars!) that blades can have deleterious effects on fingers and even appendages and we want so much for yours to stay intact.
Furthermore, all crafts manufactured here, while they will certainly be stunning in their final form, will require no more than four seconds to complete, from start to finish. We have noticed that there is value in simplicity and that the more complex crafts are, well… too challenging for us. We admit this. This being said, you are invited to construct several thousands versions of each craft. In fact, you can focus on this for hours on end, while we take care of pressing business on Facebook and other forms of social media.
Note that glitter will not, under any circumstances, cross our threshold. In fact, though we acknowledge that we cannot completely control this, it is our preference that no glitter comes within five miles of our residence. The same applies for glitter’s equally messy cousin, confetti. Like germs that spread viruses, these items can wreak havoc with an already chaotic dwelling and also send your mother into an apoplectic state.
Finally, we admire your bold and energetic use of paint. We have, however, decided that, from here forward, painting will be done only as part of a field trip. By field trip, we mean literally in the middle of an open field, wearing clothes you outgrew last year or no clothes at all.
Lest you think you are being asked to work under overly restrictive circumstances, we would like to announce some great news! You will be provided with an unlimited lifetime supply of googly eyes. This is because we are proponents of personification and, despite all of the above, we have a healthy appreciation for things that are…cute. Like you, for example. Just don’t even think about affixing these to anything other than the craft at hand.
So, what do you say?! Want to make a craft?
Freelance writer and author Jocelyn Jane Cox reports on the Great State of Parenthood with advice you never knew you needed and the chuckles you know you really need every other week in the Chronicles of Parenting. Her 2012 humor book on life in the New York suburbs, The Homeowner’s Guide to Greatness: How to handle natural disasters, design dilemmas and various infestations, is available on Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JocelynJaneCox.