Every single creative gene in my and my husband’s bloodlines has smashed together and thrown itself into one of our kids. Calling her “artistic” doesn’t do it justice. If it can be dreamed up and made, that girl is ON IT. She doesn’t have a favorite medium, which one could look at as a good thing — she’s willing to try anything — until you realize that means I need one of every possible art and craft supply that has ever been invented in my home.
Painting, drawing, sculpting, sewing, writing, coloring, building…she wants to do it all, and usually when I have JUST cleaned the house or about an hour before I planned to wake up, so she does the honor of prying my eyelid open to inquire as to whether we have enough felt to make an owl pillow for her stuffed dinosaur. Not one to stifle another’s creative outlet, I support this side of her 100 percent (the artsy side, not the waking-me-up-obscenely-early side). I just have no idea where the hell I’m supposed to store its output.
About three years ago, she made a new bestie she named Boxy. Boxy was a cardboard box (I never said her creativity involved naming things) that she put a sticker face on and drew a body for. SHE LOVED BOXY. Boxy had a very detailed backstory, apparently binding their friendship forever. However. Boxy terrified me and she was also a very big box. That my daughter made and loved. So, I had to explain to my husband that Boxy was here to stay, this is a normal thing artistic people do, and try not to look at Boxy’s eyes directly because they are terrifying. So we did. She’s still kicking around here, somewhere, but there’s only space for her because we’ve “recycled” approximately one million other creations over the years.
Can you relate to this? Are you drowning in paintings, Play-doh sculptures, hand-made books, and a distinct lack of storage space? Then you will nod your head to these truths about having an artistic kid (who hopefully will never make a Boxy 2.0 for your home):
1. To never leave home without a stash of crayons, stickers, and a notebook. EVER.
2. How your kid can unintentionally make pretty much anything into what looks like a penis.
3. How not to laugh when you see the unintentional penis your kid just presented you with.
4. To keep plain wooden bird feeders and paint kits handy at all times for when you need to distract them for about 20 minutes. And no, it doesn’t matter that you have no trees or birds near you. Just do it, MOM.
5. Sticker backing scraps are the confetti of crafty kids.
6. Where to shove the many things your kid put googly eyes on so you don’t feel like you’re constantly being watched by itty bitty misshapen, colorful spies.
7. How painfully difficult it is to not tackle your kid and bite her adorable face as she tilts her head to the side, paint brush in hand, trying to decide what to add to her canvas…
8. …even if you have run out of walls on which to hang any more of her paintings.
9. To keep large squares of flat cardboard at the ready to protect your furnishings from paint, chalk, charcoal, markers, glue, and stickers whenever your kid is feeling artistically inspired.
10. How to find beauty in…(wait — what the heck is this blob supposed to be, again?)
11. To enforce a solid three days off from all markers and paint before school picture day.
12. How much they love to sew crazy outfits for themselves.
13. How much they love to sew crazy outfits for the dog.
14. How easy it is to find their drawing and story hanging amidst their classmates’ on the wall outside the classroom at school. Hint: It’s the one that’s four times longer than the others and illustrated with all 96 colors from the crayon box.
15. How telling your kid that you once had a pet rock can escalate quickly into your family “adopting” a new pet rock every time your kid ever passes a rock for the rest of her life.
16. Her creation with the face that haunts your dreams will be her favorite piece that MUST be displayed prominently in your home pretty much forever.
17. If it weren’t for the dollar bin at the craft store, you’d be living in a cardboard box down by the river after all the supplies you’ve bought her.
18. She’d kind of love living in a cardboard box down by the river because they are really fun to decorate with markers and stuff.
19. That one temporary tattoo is never enough, and Why can’t I put it on my face, Mom?
20. It doesn’t matter how well-organized, spacious, and cool the craft table area you made for them in the basement or playroom or garage is: They will always end up doing crafts at the kitchen table.
21. That the only way to get rid of glitter is — HA HA HA JUST KIDDING! THERE IS NO WAY.
Graphic by Kim Bongiorno