making and doing

It was knitting club again today.  Well, knitting club is more of a codename for My Covert Operation To Lure Other People’s Children Over To The Dark Side of Crafting, as some of us have already branched out into sewing clothing for meerkats (I really wish I’d remembered to photograph that meerkat, but you’re going to have to wait until next week for that…)

I am charmed by their enthusiasm.  I appreciate it’s partly  the novelty, but how can you not be blown away when kids declare, “I just want to do this all afternoon!”  and, “Can I take my knitting home?  I get so bored watching TV…”

I was intrigued – surely if you are bored watching TV, you just go and do something else less boring instead (who else is old enough to remember that strange, and slightly ironic, Why Don’t You? show full of peculiar Scouse children?)  So I started asking a few questions, about whether they made things, or their parents made things, or just what they did at home.  Apparently everyone is so busy, they have no time to make things.

[Great big disclaimer here: I really do not think I have some perfect family life- I can do dysfunctional and neglectful as well as anyone, thank you- or that everyone should live surrounded by yarn, but people single us out as being different because we are making/doing, and I’ve decided I am never going to understand the people who say they would love to do x, y or z (knit/read/make jam/ run Scouts/ Guides), if only they had time, because what is it they are doing instead?  Presumably cleaning the bath…  MUST.  CLEAN.  THE.  BATH.  RIGHTNOWIMMEDIATELY.]

So after school, I watched to see what my children got up to.  We were having a fairly ‘busy’ day.  I picked up the boy from school.  We occupied ourselves on the way home by saying hello in different languages.   Luckily, it’s a very short journey, as we’d exhausted our linguistic talents by the time we got home.

As I am a lazy bad mother, I came up with the genius idea of making him cook the bolognese for tea, so I could get on with My Terribly Busy Life  some more of Small Girl’s quilt before she got in.  I was quietly proud of this cunning plan, let me tell you…

Then I went out again to collect Small Girl.  We sang Christmas carols on the way home, which developed into an urgent need to play the recorder extremely badly as soon as she got in the house.  I crocheted a quick square as distraction from a phone call which was threatening my mental equilibrium (Pack Holiday… meh…)  Then I went off to collect Big Girl and friends.  We got home, and as we walked in, That Boy and his dad left for Scouts (I said it was a busy day…)  I was hoping things might calm down after tea, but no, the girls were overwhelmed by the uncontrollable urge to make cakes and pipe icing everywhere…

Finally, once everybody was home and had stopped icing things, I read them a couple more chapters of  Arthur Ransome (apparently, there are also people who Do Not Have Time For Bedtime Stories- no, I don’t get it, either…)  As I read, there was one child knitting, one drawing, and one making a friendship bracelet out of a piece of string that she’d found in her pocket…

 I should state for posterity that I had fully intended to spend this evening being Very Busy Indeed with assessment files, but regrettably I got sidetracked by really important stuff like blogging about how busy I am, and crocheting more squares… and I still haven’t cleaned the bath, dammit.



Filed under crafting, insanity of the offspring

18 responses to “making and doing

  1. Jo

    Sounds like a perfectly ‘normal’ family existence with your kids to me! I remember a few times my kids friends saying how much they enjoyed coming to ours as we always ‘made’ something & I didn’t mind the mess they made painting/modelling/gluing/baking etc. “We’re never allowed to do that at home!” was frequently said. At the time I found this very odd & somewhat sad too.

    • Yes, I’ve heard the ‘not allowed’ comment many times too. And it’s precisely the fact that it’s so ordinary for my kids, and was for your kids, but so extraordinary for what seems to be a majority of children today that I find so sad and disturbing.

  2. Gem

    That sounds like an EXCELLENT evening to me. If I ever get around to producing some sproglets, I intend on making sure we have lots of evenings like that.

  3. I think I need to read this post again when I am feeling less crap about myself – I am indeed one of those parents who seems to have no time for bedtime stories. I know the situation sucks but I can promise you I’m not cleaning the bath instead!!

    • And it all depends on what you’re doing instead, doesn’t it? I know your children have plenty of cake and love and messy crafts in their lives (now I think about it, you inspired me to make toffee apples, how dare you do guilt?)

      (And if you want an insight into the farce which is my life, see following post…)

  4. Alison H

    I’ve got a horrible feeling that I’m going to have the Why Don’t You theme tune on the brain all day now.

  5. I cleaned my bath this morning whilst cleaning my teeth… this is the normal time to do it, non?

  6. katherinea

    It’s funny what we think of as ‘normal’ that you then realise isn’t what everyone else does. I find it most odd when people say they’ve never made a cake. My mum’s not a major baking type but we always made birthday cakes and things.

  7. katherinea

    Oh, and Scouse children? Didn’t it have them from all over? There was a girl from my school who went on it.

  8. Liz

    I frequently knit instead of cleaning the bath. Probably on a daily basis.

  9. Of course, if you knit a lovely cotton dishcloth, it makes cleaning the bath a pleasure…..

  10. I do most things instead of cleaning the bath, in fact the bath only really gets clean when I want a bath or if m-i-l is coming to stay (she has a bath every evening!)
    When I was a child I never just sat and watched tv, I was always making stuff or doing a puzzle or reading at the same time. I lost my way somehow until people forced me to learn to knit three years ago! (I am so glad of that!) I don’t know now, how people don’t have hobbies… it would be all bath cleaning if I didn’t have exciting things to play with!

  11. Heather

    Cleaning baths is overrated and usually makes eczema much worse. So reall just don’t do it – ever!

    I hardly do TV why would I when there is knitting, reading, baking, jam making, writing so many things.

    I feel so sorry for children who are not allowed to do anything that might make a mess. As for bedtime stories what could be more important. I normally end up reading Steph 3 or 4 or 5…

  12. Rosie

    Doesn’t the bath get clean when you use it? There’s water and soap involved, right?

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