It’s been a long winter, and between New York’s unfairly Arctic snowdrifts and me being all big and pregnant for what seems like the past nine years or so, for us it’s been a season of inter-apartment adventures. Which really is okay. I tend to get sort of excited about projects. Maybe too excited. Harper’s winter refrain has become “Mama made a big mess.” And it’s true. Apparently my idea of a good time is engaging in complex craft projects that are entertaining for about 5-7 minutes and then involve lengthy clean-up on my part. Smart!
The above photo features “clean play slime,” which looked like a total housebound-afternoon godsend when I saw the recipe online. Harper found the finished product somewhat distressing, played with it for a few minutes after much coaxing, and then watched me wipe cornstarch off every surface in the kitchen. “Mama made a big mess.” Indeed.
Then there was the noble attempt at homemade finger paint. I don’t know what happened here, but I ended up with what looked like a big old pan of something I don’t want to type here for fear of all the googling creepos it might attract.
That’s right. Mama made a big mess.
Now this is a great project. Easy set-up, easy clean-up. A little wasteful, I realized guiltily when Harper started painting her ninth piece of bread. Maybe in the spring we will bring some painted bread bits to the ducks in the park and cutely poison them all with food dye. Anyway Harper loves this project and asks to do it often, and swears the finished product tastes like a rainbow.
Then there were the smiley pizzas. Man, was this one a hit. Part of its success was pure pedagogy: the whole thing was Harper’s idea. She’d been eying the recipe in her High Five magazine for weeks before she finally asked, “Maybe try it?” So we did, during one of those “existing on air” weeks, in the hopes that maybe if she was involved in making some food this child might actually eat something.
I made whole-wheat dough, which is super easy, even for me. Harper and I relieved our cabin fever stress by kneading it. The dough had to bake for a few minutes first, which added to the anticipatory drama.
Then Harper applied tomato sauce, shredded cheese, a red-pepper smile, broccoli nose, and olive eyes.
Then, a bit more baking, and voila: dinner.
I really hope Harper has enjoyed the ambition of these projects, no matter how misguided they sometimes are, because for the next few months the main project I have planned for her is called The Super Awesome Fun Change the Diaper Pail for Mama Game.