Adventures In Crafting with Your Toddler
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Lanie Towsley is a wife, mother to her two boys, and has a huge passion for maternal health, nutrition, and fitness.
I used to love rainy days. Especially if I wasn’t at work. Curl up on the couch, good book in hand, Norah Jones in the background, throw in a snooze perhaps. However, rainy days have looked a lot different lately. They still include books, music and couches, though now those books are scattered on the floor and instead of Norah it’s Raffi, and instead of laying on the couch it’s now JUMPING on the couch. And that snooze? Yeah, that’s definitely a thing of the past. Yes, you guessed correctly, I DO have a toddler boy now.
One of my friends said to me recently, “You know, I figured out what superpower women gain when they become moms: The Power of Prediction.” I asked her what she meant and she said, “Well, you plan for everything, as if you can predict what’s going to happen.” I thought about that and when she said it, I thought, “Sure, I guess in some ways I do.” But today, after noticing the gathering storm clouds, I proved her theory. I predicted that Fischer would be a wild, little beast and I planned ways to ensure we wouldn’t both lose our minds while stuck inside.
With Father’s Day right around the corner, and a lot of things going on between now and then, I decided that today would be a perfect day to create some amazing pieces of original Fischer artwork. Now, really, these crafts are more for the moms than the dads, in my opinion.. But, to his defense, every time Fischer “makes” something for his daddy, Doug does his best to be really excited, while I stand by with a goofy, beaming smile and proudly place it in our time capsule (which is really just a random bucket of stuff in the kitchen). However, I digress: knowing it was going to storm and eager to get messy with my kid, we set out for Michael’s to collect supplies.
After a successful trip (which meant no screaming or crying or grabbing for everything on the shelves) and dropping by our local haunt (coffee shop), we headed back to the house for some play time. Splish. Splash. And wouldn’t you know it- it started to rain. Once home, Fischer started to whine about going “ousiiiide..ousiiiiide,” more so probably because it was raining. I knew I only had a short window of time to divert his attention away from the window and the gathering puddles, so I called one of my best friends who has a daughter a few months younger than Fischer and convinced her to join in on our rainy-day fun (maintaining sanity on a rainy day often requires the company of another adult, I’ve found).
M and J arrived, we spent a few minutes letting the kids work on “sharing” while we caught up on life and then set to work preparing: Kiddos in diapers, floor covered in plastic and paper bags (I ask for paper bags sometimes for this EXACT reason, not kidding) and materials laid out. We.Were.Ready.
What I love about craft time is that things don’t always seem to go to plan and the “pinterest-fails” are a-plenty. I wanted the kids to make paper ties for our husbands to, obviously, wear proudly on Father’s day. J sat down to get to work and like I said, not everything goes to plan. We quickly realized as M smashed her hand into the paint and began smearing it on her “tie” that we needed a different system. What I did love was that instead of starting over, J said, “Well, it’s really just a representation of where she is at this point!” So, while M’s tie may not have been the picture-of-perfection that had been pinned on ________’s board, it was hers and that’s darn well enough. And then she started walking through the paint…and eating it. Oops.
While I may have taken a different approach with Fischer, who being a bit older takes direction somewhat better, both kids ended up with paint all over themselves. Again, J, being the super cool, laid-back momma that she is, spouted words of wisdom. “Let’s take them in the rain!” As soon as those words left her mouth, the thunder started. Okay, so maybe we wouldn’t take them into the rain, but thank goodness for a covered porch and an old watering can! The kids had a blast getting “sprinkled!” If only pictures could capture squeals.
To our surprise, neither kiddo appeared to have grown tired of our attempts to exemplify their natural artistic ability. So, we decided to go ahead with the other crafts for which I had purchased supplies. Since we already have footprint molds of Fischer, J went ahead with that project. M didn’t exactly LOVE the cold, sticky cement so it took us a few tries to get it perfect but it turned out really well! And I found that wipes aren’t just perfect for wiping bottoms or sticky faces, they also work remarkably well for mishaps on canvas.
While the ties, foot molds, and photo canvas were all fun to make, my favorite gift was the baseball we made. As a teacher, students sometimes think you’re the coolest person on Earth (while simultaneously being a monster) and want to know EVERYTHING about you. So, when I was pregnant I shared a lot with my kids about what we hoped for Fischer’s future..one of those things being that we hoped he would love baseball as much as we do. On one of the last days of school, a boy in my 8th period handed me a baseball and told me he wanted Fischer to have it and that I should put it in his room. My heart just about melted, and then became complete mush when the rest of the class told me they all wanted to sign it so that Fischer would “always remember them” (seriously. How cute were they?!). That ball never made it home; instead I kept it on my desk as a reminder of those kids, how Fischer was already so loved even before he was born, and to get me through the days when I wanted to give up on the profession. Since this is my last year teaching, having made the choice to spend time with my son and go back to school myself, I figured I’d just take that ball home and maybe it’d get lost, maybe it wouldn’t, once I gave it to Fischer. Then I found the most perfect craft, a little handprint on a baseball and I knew just what to do. The ball, while it represents OUR hopes for Fischer, also represents the wishes my amazing students made for him the day they gave it to me and that makes it absolutely invaluable. So, all that being said, Fischer’s face LIT UP when he saw the baseball since he LOVES to throw anything round (I happen to think the kid was born to pitch a baseball) and it was much easier than I thought to get the most perfect little hand print. I just know this craft will get more than the obligatory excitement from daddy. 🙂
While I may have started the day with some anxiety and apprehension it turned out way better than I could have imagined. Sure, the house looked like a pair of spunky toddlers (a tornado) had been through it, but we made some awesome memories and the kids had a blast. AND Fischer slept for 3 hours. Turns out that good book and Norah Jones aren’t so much things of the past. Boom.
p.s. Though I know any daddy would, in fact, love to receive a home-made gift, there may be some other things they want to! (including my own husband!) So, here are some gifts I’ve thought about for this Father’s Day!