Every year, each child is supposed to make a Valentine's Day box for their classroom's Valentine's Day party.
I just had a brilliant idea: What if I send the box to school and they do it there as an art project?
Look, I know some of you out there love this box making, but I'm not Martha Stewart and I don't give a toss. This year, with the exception of my oldest, who needed me to buy a couple cheap supplies, I handed each of them a box and was like, may the force be with you. I've been known to recycle from year to year, but somehow last year's boxes got thrown out in one of my cleaning binges.
I point them toward some art supplies and turn them loose.
Minor obstacles along the way:
Getting my oldest some supplies at the dollar store while fighting the younger ones picking every single item up and asking if they could have it. No! It's always NO! It was the longest 15 minutes of my life, most of which was spent yelling "Don't throw that!" and giving out The Look while simultaneously trying to distance myself and pretend not to know whose children these are.
We finally got what we "needed" and left with not much of a will to live let alone make a Valentine's box.
As the box-making commences and I watch them tape and paint things randomly, I'm not sure if it's just me but I can't help fight this feeling that I want to fix the box and bring it to an acceptable form of crappy rather than just accept the abomination that it is. I feel this may be life telling me that I need to lower my standards, learn to care less about the process and, as a parent, be way less critical, especially about the things that are going in the recycling next week.
Then there was a paint incident. In the chaos of box painting and lacking the ability to sit still and complete a task, paint was knocked across the table and fell to the floor. I came downstairs from having a shower to see the the hot pink Pollock-style nightmare.
What do you do in your spare time? Oh, well I do "extra" cleaning. Not just the everyday normal cleaning, but deep cleaning hot pink paint out of carpet, splatter off the back of chairs, and then cleaning all the supplies used to vandalize.
The real question is: Why do I still have paint?
Anyway, it's done and I'm accepting what it is.
My favorite box is the boy's with his fruit roll-up box. It's completely untouched with his signed Valentine's in it and the sheet with his checked off classroom list sticking out.
Jen Reekie was born and raised in Quincy and received a communications degree at the University of Kansas, which has come in quite handy as she communicates every day with four children who don't hear a word she says. This stay-at-home mom enjoys the challenge, though, and shares her experiences in this blog, "Mum's the Word." She welcomes your feedback, questions and stories about staying sane while raising kids.