Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kate Woodworking

I think it's very interesting how watching adults craft makes kids want to do that same thing. I also find it interesting that, while reading other people's blogs on that exact topic, their mom-and-kid craft adventures are relaxing, bonding, wonderful experiences in which the adult in question sits nurturingly beside the kid in question, being all wise and mentor-like, projecting the perfect balance of hand-holding and independent challenging. I find it especially interesting that there are, often, no other children around, so that the adult-child ratio is a charming 1:1 or, if there are other siblings, they all magically require assistance only in turns and it's so lovely and parenting-magazine-photoshoot worthy.

Just so you know, it doesn't look like that in our home, okay?
And if you believed otherwise, you should go take a second look at the manic photos in my old posts of whenever the kids get together to make something.
I won't provide details because it's exhausting just to think about, let alone recount in words here. I will say that, ironically, everything was actually more feasible when at least one of my children was a baby or a toddler, whose motor skill level and/or creative interests were in a totally different universe than her siblings. So all ye mothers of nursing infants who can't wait for the day when everyone can craft as a family: guess what? Get crafting now, while you can. You might actually get more done now than later.

Or maybe it's just my family that regularly fails the parenting-magazine-photoshoot audition. Regardless, I'm laughing as I write this. At the irony. At my own fallible Overwhelmed Craftmotherness. At how, everyone (except maybe other moms) forgets that saying yes to crafting usually means the house falls to ruin and there is no food on the table when everyone suddenly realizes they're famished enough to eat a horse. And at how, sometimes, when the kids ask me if we can "do a craft", I inwardly cringe and want to run away screaming. It's - twistedly - funny. 

Sometimes, however, I cave.
Like last week, while making those stools.
The older girls were in school but Kate was home with me, watching me saw and sand in the garage.

"I want to make Bunny a table." She told me. 

Not "Can I make Bunny a table?"
"I wonder if it might be too much to ask to, sometime when you are free, make Bunny a simple, whip-up sort of table?"

That's Kate, after all. 
Knows what she wants.
And because it's so un-self-serving (it's for Bunny, not her), it's hard to say no.

So I detoured in the middle of drilling and measuring and whatnot, dug in our tub of scrap lumber, sawed what we wanted, and clamped pieces in the workbench for her to sand. 

Then she glued and nailed and screwed together a table and a chair for Bunny, and provided the following feedback, "I like the nailing and gluing more than the sanding. Sanding is boring."

She found a lemon beanbag (from our old Tea party) for a seat cushion,

and made some clay silverware for her favorite sidekick.

I rather liked the natural wood look, but Kate wanted color.

So she painted them.

And guess what? Jenna saw them later and said, tentatively, "Mom, Bearaby needs a table and chair, too. She can't use Bunny's chair because she's so much bigger and Bunny's chair is too thin. Can we make a bigger one for her?"

Does this count as taking turns? I think it counts as taking turns. Plus, a mom has to play fair, right? So I think I said yes. Now I must go to the hardware store for some hinges so we can make Jenna's table a folding one to save space. Or maybe we can nest Kate's in Jenna's. Because at the rate at which the craft requests are coming in, we may be overrun with wooden toy furniture before long. And then where would we find room for cardboard? 


  1. hahaha that is so exactly my life right now. My oldest was helping me make Easter suits just now, only because the other two were sleeping. Usually a sewing session with three children in the office ends in me screaming, "GET OUT OF HERE ALL OF YOU OR I WILL TAKE YOUR EASTER VESTS AND CUT THEM UP FOR QUILTS, DON'T THINK I WON'T DO IT!"

    1. Craft sometimes ends in screaming in our house too - often me losing my cool when the kids won't take turns, or they're both whining constantly. I thought craft was supposed to be fun.

  2. I laughed so much reading this. I have this idea in my head about how lovely a craft activity will be with the girls, but the reality often involves them arguing over who gets to do something first, where the supplies should sit on the table, who took the best decoration. We've been sewing dresses this week, and I ended up having to sew with each girl on a different day (while the other one was on a playdate). That said, we do have so much fun creating things, and I love to see how proud they are. They're both ready to go on a picnic tomorrow in their new dresses that they sewed themselves. They also are taking it in turns to sleep under the quilt that they sewed. It makes it all worthwhile.

  3. lol... yes. I cringe because if one kid wants to make something, I have to not only figure out that impossibly perfect balance of help and independance (and try to avoid as much mess as possible, which turns out IS impossible) but I then have to repeat the process for all the other siblings. I too cringe when they want to craft something that involves my extended help.

  4. :^) I feel just... like we're the same person. No photoshoots here either, please, especially while one of the twins would like to do an experiment, the other would like to cook some cookies and their older brother would rather read "The hobbit" aloud and ask all kind of weird questions about hobbits, dragons and dwarfs. I feel so blessed when they all decide to go out and play with their friends and I can just sew, browse the internet or eat Nutella out of the half kilo jar. With a spoon, of course.

    Beautiful set of chair and table. I am not planning to show it to my kids as they might ask for it too.

  5. Love it! And I totally agree that the littler and less mobile they are the more you can do.

  6. Your post cracked me up. Or maybe I was already a bit over the edge because of that 2+ inches of white stuff that covers the ground yet AGAIN and is still coming down. A photo from another friend up there showed me that you got it, too. UGH!!!

    Anyway... I think Bunny's new dining set is sooooo PRETTY!!!!

  7. Oh, I hate sanding. Totally agree with her.

  8. I love this. I love my own artsy craftsy stuff, but I have an incredibly hard time helping my kids with it.

  9. You are such a great mom!


  10. I just have HAVE to comment because its like you wrote that post about me and my 3 beans. As a crafter of course nothing gives me greater joy than to craft with my kids and the end result can be the cutest simple little craft. What no one knows is the chaotic revolution it was to get the ordeal started, executed and finally finished with the remains of my counter and floor begging for mercy. And is paint is involved, which it does...I need to quarantine said beans hence furniture/walls (along the way to hand washing station) be subjected to stains. Funny how all 3 kids want my undivided attention at the same time...
    ((((sigh))) yup, its still worth it.

  11. This reminds me of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie"! We don't do crafts nearly as fancy as yours, but yes, last night my kids all wanted to decorate headbands and I let them do it was found it a little stressful - even though they did it mostly on their own and were pretty good listeners about cleanup.

    I have resigned myself to always having a far-from-perfect house. Dinner is definitely a challenge, though - but I find that with EVERYTHING fun - going swimming, playing outside, crafting - they are ALL counterproductive when it comes to getting dinner on the table. How I would adore a live-in chef (who also did the grocery shopping and only cooked healthy but oh-so-delicious meals).


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