Firstly I’d like to admit that I was the kid at school who just didn’t bother with projects. The only project I ever participated in was one about Halley’s comet and it was a group effort. I had beautiful handwriting so I was trusted with writing other people’s ideas and of course the class presentation because what some children had in creativity they seemed to lack in public speaking. Shocking now that I think about it perhaps I should see it as each pupil maximizing their potential. In my family my older sister would make our family virtually bankrupt in an attempt to have the best project. In my defence I always helped my brother and he always did well. What was wrong with me?
This summer holiday was always going to be clouded in memories of my serious lack of creativity. My seven-year old had to create a model from recycled material for her ‘saving the environment’ project. My heart just sank because unless she had some serious creative spark it was always going to be difficult. Art and crafts are a world away from having to assist with a piece of art work that has to be taken to school. Like my skills shortage when it comes to knitting and drawing, creating recognisable pieces of work was always going to be a challenge.
In true me form I’ve left the making of a recycled robot dog on hold with less than five days to go until the new school year starts. The pressure is immense because in some way if my child pitches up without her summer project or a less than impressive attempt that would be the first impression her new teacher has of her. I’ve spent most of the summer trying to convince her to make a recycled house because I’m really good at stacking boxes and wrapping them too. My children wonder why all of their friends get puzzles or books for their birthdays I tell them it’s educational. Fact is boxes just look so much more professional when wrapped as opposed to oblong or soft toys. When all else fails I turn to the trusted gift bag.
Fortunately for me (sigh of relief!) my daughter has a very clear idea what needs to be done and my job is to make sure she has all the components. So far it looks on track and I’ve had to do very little. It’s been said that it’s never too late to try something new but then again the same has been said about teaching an old dog new tricks. I’m up for the challenge!
After months of dragging my big feet I finally took that long-awaited trip to the market to get knitting needles and wool for my girls. After seeing one of their friends knitting they’ve been dying to try their hand at a new craft. I had finally run out of excuses and we brought the loot home.
It’s a fact that there are some things in life that will never come naturally to us. It may take a lifetime to learn a new craft. On my own admission I’m really good at some things which in the real world count for very little like doing puzzles, colouring pictures and my favourite rollerblading! Sadly knitting brings back memories of serious under achievement along with her ugly stepsister sewing!
Funny how a simple thing like wool and needles can make you feel inadequate. I remember so clearly being in the bottom of the needlework class and being one of those who was asked to knit a cat and sew a wrap around skirt both of which looked awful. Then just while trying to cope with being an absolute failure they introduce embroidery and some kind of candle-wicking. Talk about kicking a dog while it’s down.
Children are so amazing as I began to cast on to make who knows what they were like a well-trained choir each of them singing my praises. At that moment I couldn’t help but feel it would’ve been a whole lot better if I’d been given some positive reinforcement at school just for trying. I guess trying is not always worthy of applause especially when the top dogs keep delivering. Needless to say the minute I could drop it out of my subject choice…I did!
So a new day has dawned and I’ve had several orders for blankets for horses, scarves for dogs and shawls for bears hopefully this barnyard of toys will be warm this winter. Perhaps the time has come to add a little bit of excellence to my mediocre knitting after all there is no pressure now and it would seem I’m the top dog – for now anyway!
So I found myself complaining about the absolute chaos I was surrounded by in my lounge. I realise that getting fed up with the little things in life is often just a human response. I love my children and I want them to learn from playing together. So I have no idea why it annoys me so much when they leave what looks like the remains of a natural disaster.
I’m going to try a different approach from now. Quite simply all we will need is a clear exit in case of an emergency. After all I can’t possibly expect to live in a show house with three young children. Bring on the chaos because I’m sure there is more to life than sorting blocks, packing puzzle pieces and stacking countless books.