The Glue that Binds

One of the reasons that I signed my children up for art class at our local recreation center, is to alleviate the guilt I was feeling over not conducting any messy art experiments on my own kitchen table.  And the subsequent clean up which inevitably follows.

I would rather pay a nominal fee, and let someone else do it.

Last week the art teacher had the children make “goo” and I thought he was being rather ambitious.

This week I’ve changed my mind, and I’m quite certain that the man is certifiably insane.

With a class loaded with 15 homeschooled children, ranging in age from 5 to 8, the art teacher thought that paper mache was the way to go.  At first, I applauded his gumption, as I helped my son blow up his balloon and tie it.  Then, because of space constraints, I limped out of the room on my crutch, and found a folding chair outside the door.  My plan was to sit and leisurely put together next weeks curriculum assignments.

At some point, I turned around to peer in the window of the art classroom, and panic gripped my heart.  Fifteen homeschool children, ages 5 to 8, were covered head to toe in the flour/water paste mixture.  As were a couple of my homeschooling girlfriends, who were brave enough to stay in the room to help.

I limped back into the room to find my son, which was not an easy task, because when you have 15 homeschooled children, ages 5 to 8, covered head to toe in paste, it becomes more difficult to recognize their distinctive features.

I found Jensen only because he was wearing the requisite “Mario” red baseball cap.  I then located his balloon, which my friend was trying to help him with.  But Jensen had enough of the whole glue experiment, and abandoned his balloon, and walked around wringing his hands, trying to rid them of paste.

So, I gathered my courage and attempted to slap goopy newspaper strips onto his balloon. I had to eject another little boy from the bowl, because he was using it to soak in.  I thought I was doing a decent job and was finished, until the art instructor informed us that the balloon needed FIVE layers of newspaper strips.  

By this time, strips of coated newspaper were flying everywhere, and paste was dripping down the chairs and onto the floor.

I looked up and located the red baseball cap, and the little boy beneath it, who was madly scratching at his arms.

Jensen, who suffers from Atopic Dermatitis, was having a reaction to the paste.

I abandoned my crutch, which was now partially paper mache’d, and herded my son down the long hall to the bathroom.  Both of my hands were covered with paste, so I tried to open the bathroom door with my elbow.  The one that still bends.

I got both of us cleaned up, then I washed up the bathroom door handle, and we headed back toward hell the art room.  I stripped Jensen down to his pants and applied his lotion, which thankfully I had the good sense to pack.  And gave him a Benadryl bullet, which is the smartest invention next to the ear thermometer.

I retrieved my crutch, and then all I could do was watch in horror, as my two friends remained in the room, attempting to help their young offspring.  I must have been in shock, or else I would have gone back in to help them.

Because that’s what friends do.

When they’re not in shock.

When we mercifully got back home, I ordered everyone to deposit their clothing into the laundry room.  And while I made my way through the bathroom, I found that I did not escape unscathed.

Because for the last couple of hours I had been wandering around in public with a Jensen shaped paper mache handprint on my bottom.  And the way to get a paper mache handprint to show up REALLY WELL, is to wear black.

I cannot wait to see what the art teacher has in store for the children next week.  I’m thinking that I might contract a headache and may be forced to send Fiddledaddy in my place.

What is the messiest art project you’ve ever attempted with your kids? Not that I’m going to try it, mind you, I just want to know.

October 15, 2010

13 Responses to The Glue that Binds

  • When my youngest daughter was 7 years old, she and her friend wanted to paint with balloons. Blow the balloon up, smear paint all over it, and pop the balloon while holding it near the paper. (I did not come up with this idea.) There is still paint on the ceiling, the front door, the carpet, the bookcases (and books), and some even made its way to the bathroom door. I don’t recommend this project.

  • The messiest art project- The Paper Mache incident of 2010.

  • I am a classroom teacher. I have outlawed glitter from my classroom for lo these 20 years. A project two decades ago still results in shiny specks showing up on my face and my carpet at home. The person who invented glitter is no my friend.

  • HA! To pick only one….its a toss up between “goo” made in my kitchen and normal ordinary water based painting at the table (when they were 5 and 3 ish). Oh and then there was the time when my two and a friends two went all over the house with GLITTER sprinkling it everywhere just to decorate, yup, I agree with K and C’s mom, no glitter around here unless it’s encased in those handy glue tubes.

  • Hey, what about drawing with charcoal? Then your nose starts to itch and you smear black all over your nose. Or you wipe your face and realize that you’ve streaked yourself with more black smudges…..next thing you know, everyone looks like characters out of a Charles Dickens novel. “Please sir, can you spare a dime?”

  • another ‘Depends’ post 🙂

  • Fingerpainting with a 1-yr-old. ‘Nuff said!

  • I don’t do art projects with my kids. I’m a bad mom. They can do that kind of junk at school. 🙂 (Though I did help a class full of third graders paper mache’ a balloon to make Wilbur in their Charlotte’s Web unit. Yikes.

  • I agree with the teacher (I’m one too.) Glitter and drippy glue are of the devil.

  • How about grating crayons with a cheese grater ( no longer to be used for cheese), which causes the crayon specks to
    Jump all over and then melting those we can find between wax paper with a hot iron. Do I get credit for messy and dangerous?!

  • This is funny b/c we’re studying Mexico in MFW ECC right now. And we’re doing a paper mache pinata. I couldn’t find a balloon so we used a gallon size Ziploc! 🙂 But the only child I’m really letting make it is the oldest, age 9. The second one, age7, was supposed to but she doesn’t want to touch anything icky or gooey. The second layer worked better when I added flour to the liquid starch. But somehow I knew it wasn’t going to be ready when we got done with the Mexico week so we’ll have our fiesta next week! 🙂

    I feel like a bad mom too b/c we hardly ever ever do crafts at home. I think that’s what church and co-op are for! I have banned glitter from my home and keep tape and glue at high altitudes!

  • My daughter takes art at Friday school so we don’t have to do that anymore. Both of my kids liked to watercolor when they were little but I don’t remember any major disasters. I do still have the paper mache egg I did in kindergarten for Easter. I don’t remember it being as messy as your class sounds. My former teacher might have a different perspective tho!

  • Play Doh was my undoing. The girls were probably 3 and 5 and wanted to play with the Play Doh. I couldn’t think of a good reason to say no and I did buy it……so, I spread a sheet out on the dining room floor and moved their little table and chairs to the sheet. The proceeded to play happily for about an hour. I’m so happy! Then they’re done and it’s time to clean up. They want to help clean up! I know, every mother’s dream.

    So we put away all the Play Doh accessories and I disappear into the next room to put the table away. I come back around the corner and want to SOB! My carefully placed sheet (you remember, placed UNDER the table to catch the mess and which I planned to carefully pick up from the corners and take it outside and shake it) is being pulled up from the floor by two eager hands dumping all that crusty Doh all over the rug. I refrain from crying in front of them and thank them for being such great helpers. I will admit to muttering things in my head for the next few months as I cleaned Play Doh out of the carpet that would warrant deposits in your cuss jar!

    Play Doh does NOT make another appearance in our house until the Daddy builds a screen porch and the mess can be out there!!!!

    My, my how my heart soared when Crayola introduced Model Magic!!! 🙂