I’ve Since Learned to Keep My Hands on My Own Turkey

By Megan


I may have mentioned before that I have mild control issues. Ahem.

Which is why about oh, the first 100 times or so that I attempted gettin’ crafty with my Bean, the whole shebang ended with her frantically sucking her fingers and begging for hotmilk (the magic elixir of tranquility) and me seething, gritting my teeth and vowing that neither of our hands will ever touch another object bearing the names Crayola®, Elmer’s®, Prang®, or, shudder, Fiskars®.

My daughter and I could not craft together. The two of us attempting to make art side by side was basically Expressionism and Realism duking it out at the kitchen table over a bathroom tissue roll and a purple glue stick. Or Felix and Oscar going head to head in a curmudgeon-off, each armed only with a couple ounces of glitter and a yogurt cup full of chartreuse tempera paint.

Because she WILL do things as she sees fit. And I WILL become frustrated that YOU’VE GOT THE TURKEY’S FEET COMING OUT OF ITS SOLAR PLEXUS, FOR PETE’S SAKE, CHILD! and attempt to wrestle the project from her eager, determined hands and MAKE IT RIGHT! And within minutes, she’s sniffling pitifully as she sits watching me self-righteously amputate and re-attach the turkey’s feet WHERE THEY GOOD AND GOSH DARN BELONG.

Oh there have been such good times for both of us at that crafting table. Such good times indeed.

The let’s do a fun kid craft gone let’s watch Mama’s perfectionist tendencies turn a pleasant afternoon activity into 10 years worth of therapy in your twentiessystem needed an overhaul. The child needs to be free to do things the way she wants to do them. She needs instructions, yes, and perhaps visual aids, but she doesn’t need my mother – ooops! – I mean her mother hanging over her, directing every glue blob and marker stroke.

And I needed to stop feeling like Sybil everytime we did a craft.

So NOW during naptime when it’s time for me to research and prepare for the afternoon’s project, I pull together all of the supplies to do the craft, TIMES TWO. That way I get to do the craft step by step EXACTLY THE WAY IT SHOULD BE DONE, and Bean gets to follow along behind me, step by step, watching and learning and STILL NOT DOING IT RIGHT but having a great time and loving spending relaxed, productive, fun learning time with Mama, not some crazy old anal-retentive bat dressed up in Mama’s clothes.

Have an amazingly happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

And please – Remember to keep your hands on your own turkey.

(Originally published at FriedOkra November 2007.)

6 Responses to I’ve Since Learned to Keep My Hands on My Own Turkey
  1. Laura
    November 24, 2008 | 6:58 am

    And I thought I was the only one that did this. 🙂

  2. AmyG
    November 24, 2008 | 7:34 am

    So glad I’m not the only one with this problem. I always find myself taking over & the kids just get up & wander off. I like the idea of making sure I have enough for ME & them. 😉

  3. Courtney
    November 24, 2008 | 9:15 am

    OMG this is so me! It is so hard for me to just let kids be kids. We have learned a lot of hard lessons through crafts (like Mommy is crazy and Mommy needs a nap lol). I havwe slowly learned to let go (allbeit not much) but it is hard and sometimes there are tears by the end.

  4. edj
    November 24, 2008 | 12:41 pm

    You would love teachers in France. The whole culture is perfectionist, so the teacher does all the crafts while yelling at the kids to be quiet. It’s surreal.

  5. midlife mommy
    November 25, 2008 | 11:58 pm

    I do this myself. And then I hate myself for doing it. Afterward, I always wonder why it is so important to me, and I promise that I will lighten the heck up the next time, but when next time comes, I have a hard time not doing it again. Ugh.

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