My skills used to include drinking vodka and chain-smoking. I suspect if we go far enough back, I’m of Russian descent. As a parent, I’ve had to hang up my shoes in these arenas and have attempted to better myself in the areas of baking, cooking, knitting, crafts… you know, all that crap that involves heavy levels of patience, mental strength and talent. These descriptions don’t bode well when stacked up against my God-given natural abilities.
To give you an example of my complete and utter lack of talent in certain areas, let me tell you the tale of my trip to a kindergarten classroom last year. Along with all the other parents, I was there with my son Jack to make Christmas tree ornaments with the kids. It was all going moderately well, however, having James slung across my chest was not entirely conducive to seeing what my hands were doing, as I attempted to sprinkle glitter and apply glue. Wrong order. Apply glue, then sprinkle the glitter. See, I have the capacity to learn.
At one point, I mercifully engaged my brain-to-mouth filter just in time, and avoided barking something to the effect of, “This *#$! kid-friendly glue is *#/&. That’s not appropriate chat when teachers are lurking about. But seriously, back in the day I recall being handed a vat of contact cement, along with the requisite pat on the head for good luck, and we were sent on our way. And what was so wrong with that? At least you had something to show for your efforts once the glue dried, which was like, immediately. The fact that you likely had some skin nicely layered in there along with a piece of your shirt was beside the point.
Needless to say, we made it home with a crafty ornament that looked similar to the Abominable Snowman. Jack was terribly pleased and went to hang it on the tree. This dreamy, holiday-fuelled moment lasted for about a minute, until my two-year-old daughter Isla (also known as Peanut) made a run for it and had that thing beheaded and delimbed inside of four seconds. Jack lost his marbles. Completely. “Bad, Peanut. BAD!!! MOMMY! You have to fix BOMBNIBLE!” To which I assured him I would do.
I went hunting for the real thing this time, and found it in the form of some heavy-duty crazy glue. As I was preparing Bombnible’s parts, I was having some fun reading the instructions on the glue. It went something like this: Do not let glue come into contact with eyelids. If eyelids are glued shut, call doctor immediately.
Well, I guess you wouldn’t be able to do that, would you? Not being able to see may put a damper on finding the phone. I hate stating the obvious but it should likely read: If eyelids are glued shut, immediately run into the streets screaming for help. That, or kindly ask your husband, who’s likely sitting in the adjoining room watching sports, to drive you to the hospital.
The label went on to say: Do not under any circumstance touch glue to skin. If this happens, contact your local Poison Control Centre immediately.
That my friends, was the final clue that this was exactly the kind of glue that I was looking for — no two-year-old is peeling parts off anything once this gets laid down.
Midway through reconstruction of Bombnible, I started giggling away, thinking: How big of a loser do you actually have to be to get this glue all over your ski… Roddy!! Come here quick! This fur ball is stuck to my finger! Aaaaaah… hurry! Rip it off!
See Exhibit A photo of what remained of Bombnible once I was done. Yes, I’m rather embarrassed to admit that in my ensuing rage, I chucked out the ball that was meant to be the left leg, carelessly tossing it into the trash along with a chunk of my skin. Which is likely a good thing. That would have been throwing down some serious smell in a day or two. I really have no idea what happened to the right leg and the nose. I suspect Peanut ate them.
My ill-fated attempt to repair Jack’s ornament got me thinking about a recent episode in church. My sister was holding Peanut, and they were drawing something in Peanut’s book. She brings this little sketch pad with her everywhere, and at some point, she’ll usually ask someone to draw her a bunny or a kitty. Which incidentally, is exactly what she asked my sister to do in church. So my sister drew a kitty, or some mutant version of such. Moments later, all souls in church heard the following declaration from the clear-as-a-bell ringing voice of a two-year-old: Kitty’s boobies, Auntie. Biiiiig ones.
See Exhibit B. I looked down at the drawing, then up at my sister and mouthed, “What the #@&* are you doing drawing boobs on a kitty? What’s the matter with you?”
She was laughing so hard, she could hardly sit up anymore. I ask you this — why do the laughs that require this level of intense suppression always seem to happen in church? All she could manage to whisper back was, “They’re paws. Those are paws.”
Yes people, apparently those pendulous abominations are paws; not an enormous set of nursing breasts. All told, suddenly my artistic ability wasn’t looking so bad. I guess it’s all relative to who you’re comparing yourself to.
So this Christmas season, please remember that it’s not about being perfect — in the end, your family won’t mind if your cake is lopsided, or the ornaments on the tree don’t look quite right. In fact, I’m willing to bet they won’t even notice. They just want to create memories with you. You are their gift.
Merry Christmas, friends. Be the gift. †