Losing my grip

Being stuck home with kids for several weeks has loosened my grip on reality in very specific ways. My car battery has died, and instead of panicking and wondering how on earth I was going to get anywhere, I just shrugged my shoulders. The only place I’ve been these last few weeks is the letterbox. And I can walk there. Or send one of the kids to get the post.

Parenting-wise, I’ve been allowing things I never allowed before. I’ve let the kids have complete control over all the nice craft supplies. You want to use all the glitter paper and the metallic pens and the stickers that cost $3 a sheet and the sparkly glue? Go for it! You want to run through an entire roll of sticky tape trying to wrap yourself up like a mummy and attach yourself to the wall like a fly? Yep, have fun! They’re mixing paint colours together and hole-punching all my nice card stock. We are completely out of iceblock sticks and googly eyes. And I haven’t got a single finished craft item to show for it. I have no idea where all my good craft supplies are going. But they’re gone.

I’ve also let Miss Three play with play dough for the first time, like, ever. Because I am One of Those Parents who does not really like play dough, slime, goop, kinetic sand, etc. I just don’t. I hate when the colours get mixed up. I hate picking it out of the carpet. I hate finding it dried under my kids’ fingernails. But for some reason, I’ve been bringing out the play dough every day and letting Miss Three have at it. I even gave her a pile of biscuit cutters. I never make biscuits anyway!

Yesterday Master Eight wanted to make a dragon with an empty toilet roll, except he’d used all the empty toilet rolls up the week before making ninjas. “Can I just unroll a new roll of toilet paper and take the cardboard part out of the middle?” he asked. “Sure!” I replied. “Why not!” Now I’ve got a pile of unrolled toilet paper in my loo and somewhere in my house is a toilet-roll dragon. Like I said, I never get to see the crafty fruits of the kids’ labours. I just have to take their word for it.

I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to replenishing the craft supplies. I’m wondering what the kids will do when we eventually run out. Will they start thinking creatively, collecting leaves and shells and pebbles and twigs for their little projects? Oh, right, we’ve already got craploads of those scattered around the house. Somewhere.

Maybe I’ve just learned to care less about certain things, and loosen up. I’m telling myself that’s a good sign, and one that would probably be helpful to continue as my kids grow up, discover themselves, and test their boundaries. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Sequins and beads should be used, not left in pristine packets. Play dough can be fun. “Losing it” isn’t all bad.

Katherine Granich

Editor, Tots to Teens

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