The Messy Mess

by S.C. Torrington on November 22, 2007

glitter mess_xOne of my frustrations with some parents is their protestations over any proposed activity that even hints at the possibility of dirty hands, clothing stains or food spillage.

After much fanfare, when it came time to get a final head count for a Summer afternoon tie-dye party, several families took a last-minute pass. Not because of Baltimore’s oppressive, hair-curling humidity but because flashbacks of pouring RIT Powder Dye into a bucket of steaming-hot water while wearing Playtex Living Gloves popped into their heads. We used pre-mixed Dharma Dyes in squeeze bottles and wore surgical type latex gloves instead. Groovy, man.

For Halloween, my older kids’ craft was painting pumpkins. Again, there was some fuss. “The paint won’t dry and will get all over the kids’ costumes. It’ll be messy.” Don’t tell, but I was gonna use glitter glue on the gourds’ stalks. Beware! One of the few things in the world of Make-and-Take crafts scarier than paint is glitter, much less glitter mixed with glue.

They lucked out. After I had to tell Morgan he couldn’t wear his Leatherface mask or bring his matching chainsaw because they would be too scary for the little kids, my teen decided even the promise of trick-or-treat candy wasn’t worth it. I shoulda known. These are the same women who won’t attend a local theatre production of 101 Dalmatians for the same reason. Scary…

The last straw was the decision to serve only eggless cupcakes (with as little icing as possible) and cheap-ass Dixie Cups ice cream (that come with those flat wooden spoons) at our end-of-year fundraiser. In part to save funds and in part to avoid—you guessed it—mess. Obviously, my Sundae Station suggestion got nixed.

Tell me—how can you raise creative kids if one of your prime directives is to NOT create a mess?

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