The Baby is a glue junky. It started with the innocent discovery of a single stick of purple tinted Elmer's Washable School Glue and ended with one last broken promise, "I will make somefin' this time, really! I promise!" I was an enabler. I knew she had a problem, yet I kept finding more glue for her. The evidence of her addiction was painted all over: rough shreds of construction paper covered her face like a mask in carnival season; ten plastic barrels, skillfully emptied of their entire contents and discreetly tucked into the corners of the couch- without proof of an actual art project anywhere in sight; smears of "washable" purple imprinted on the walls. I cut her off cold turkey and hid every last glue stick.
But, I had illustrating projects that I was working on and I needed her to be occupied. So, I bought a container of bulk foam snowmen with hats, sparkly carrot noses, stick arms, scarves and just enough tiny foam circles to form the eyes and mouths. The pieces came with sticky backs, so, there were no worries of igniting old vices.
She loved her little snowmen. But they didn't fulfill all of her needs. "More? Crabs, please!"
"Sure, we can go to the store tomorrow and look for a crab to make."
"Oh, do you mean crafts? It's not crabs. It's crafts."
"Yes!" Her eyes brightened. "Crabs."
"No, say it like this: C-r-a-f-t-s."
"No, no. C-r-a-f-t-s. Crafts."
"C-r-a-p-s. Craps. I want more Chriftsmas craps."
"Never mind. I'll get you something tomorrow."
The next day, I went to the store and found a host of holiday foam delights. I decided on a charming little Christmas cottage with Santa and reindeer on the roof. 122 interlocking and sticky backed foam pieces. I knew she was too young to assemble it on her own. It would be a nice chance to pause and get into the holiday spirit with my little one.
But it wasn't. She has inherited from her mother the displeasure of following directions. From the moment the pieces were dumped on the table, it became a lesson in futility. The interlocking pieces were cut irregularly so that nothing quite fit together and the little house kept collapsing in on itself. Before I could take an inventory of the stick-on pieces, she had begun to pull off the backs and adhere them to the sides of the house. Santa's jolly cheeks adorned a window, an amputated reindeer antler stuck out of the bushes and a random shard of white foam jutted out of a reindeer snout like a giant fang. This was supposed to be smooth; but, there I was swearing like a sailor at a stubborn Santa who would not stick. After 15 minutes, I gave up trying to construct the house so that it resembled the creation on the packaging.
Chriftsmas craps for sure.
The Baby continued to remove the sticky backs and smash them onto the little shack. She brought the dilapidated house to me, "Mommy do you know what we need?"
A wry smile washed across her face, "Glue."