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.