I kind of wish I could say I was one of those artsy crafty mamas that I so admire, but I’m not. In fact I’m pretty sure there is not one crafty bone in my body and if it were a prerequisite to becoming a mother well let’s just say I wouldn’t be a mother. The other day I noticed how enthralled my son Leo was with the paints and paint brushes when they were brought out on a recent play date. Now crayons have been the rage in our apartment as of late and much to my chagrin his favorite surface just happens to be the walls so I decided to get him a few art supplies in my attempt to keep him and his masterpieces contained (I’ll keep you posted on that one). So, on my way out of Whole Foods I happened to notice one of those arts and craft stores right next door. Never have I thought of such a concept, me venturing into an arts and craft store, but I found myself standing outside staring at those emerald green colored double doors. I sized them up, took in a big deep inhalation and for the love of my child walked straight through them.
Feeling the anxiety rise within my already contracted body, I stepped onto the escalator straining my neck as far as it would go to peer down into the unknown abyss. My eyes moved rapidly, taking in as much as I could mentally register. When I reached the bottom I finally was able to exhale. I stepped off the escalator and quickly assessed where I needed to go, I told myself to stay focused, no meandering up and down isles, eyes forward the entire time. My game plan was to get in and get out lest I be swallowed up somehow. Of course I got out of the store unscathed and really not too overwhelmed or traumatized by the whole experience and I have come to see that possibly doing arts and crafts has a Zen quality to it (I’ll be sure to let you know if I experience that).
I never cared much for creating art, but I’m pretty sure it was how it was presented to me. In kindergarten I remember being called out in front of all my peers on ‘how not to hold scissors’. I sat there crying unable to move and feeling that I was somehow bad and in sixth grade my teacher gave the art assignment to draw what came to us. I ended up turning in a blank white crisp clean piece of paper. After she questioned why I did nothing, my reply of, “Nothing came to me.” seemed to have baffled her for a second before she quickly became indignant with me. Now thinking this was totally unfair treatment as I was just being honest with her I let her know that the piece of paper she was looking at was completely open to interpretation. One could not possibly put a time frame around creating works of art and who was she to say what art is and is not? Where were her creations hanging? That sealed my fate. Needles to say I spent the next week in detention. My refusal to do any art projects after that landed me with an F in art, did nothing to help my grade point average and just pissed off my parents.
I wanted to love doing art and after I got to high school I remember seeing what seemed to be all the intriguing kids going in and out of the art room. It seemed to be this inner sanctum where these minds went to create and release. I couldn’t bring myself to ever sign up though. I would just admire from afar.
Realizing this is only the beginning to years of art projects with my son, I am going to be forced to look at this inner demon. Maybe gluing cotton balls, Popsicle sticks and glitter together won’t be so frightening to me once I see Leo dive in without any inhibitions, but I still think making anything into a gingerbread house is creepy.
Where have you ventured into for your child?