In order to diversify mommy/daughter time (and to be honest, it was another tactic meant to bring on joint nap time), I instituted craft time.
The problem with that brainstorm is that I'm about the least creative person I know.
Here I'm thinking we should have a project, but I've got no idea where to start.
So, we went in search of kits. I was only going to feel comfortable about leading this team if we had with a box that included all the supplies, instructions and (I wasn't holding my breath) someone to clean up afterwards.
I found one sand painting kit, but that wasn't enough for the hours of family fun that I'd envisioned, so I struck out on my own.
Forty-five minutes later, and $30 poorer, I was stocked with felt, pipe cleaners, colored balls of fluff and about 1,000 jiggly eyeballs.
We started with the sand painting. It's a great concept -- you peel of one portion of a pre-cut, pre-designed picture, and pour the matching color of sand over it.
Even I can supervise a project under those conditions.
Of course, that was before the full impact of working with a 3-year-old hit me.
She's got the enthusiasm, but not quite the attention to detail a person like her anal mother looks for. She's also in this "ignore mom" phase, which didn't help.
I'd peel off the sticker, give Katie the sand and tell her "pour it RIGHT HERE," pointing repeatedly.
Inevitably, Nikki would distract me by eating glue or stealing the scissors -- something fun like that.
When I looked back, Katie had dumped the entire pot of sand on an area that was not the one I'd indicated.
That happened a lot, but we managed to complete the rainbow-surrounded butterfly, and Katie was granted the privilege of hanging it on the refrigerator. She was very proud and decided her 5X7 masterpiece needed about six large magnets.
Then she had to take it back down, admire it, and reattach it using the same six magnets in the exact same order.
We moved on to our next project, which I wasn't so sure about.
That one didn't come with directions.
I made a mat, cut grass out of green felt and applied glue. For this project, the girls basically got to put things where I put the glue.
That's when my analness (yes, I'm aware that's not a word) got in the way. The girls put the grass sideways, butterflies upside down and made crooked flowers.
I cringed every time. I actually had to envision myself looking at these creations in 20 years and remembering that they did them all by themselves in order to not straighten things out or press them down tighter.
Yes, I've got control issues.
When we finished, the girls took off -- cleaning up the mess didn't seem to be considered a family activity.
I packed all the leftover supplies in a shoe box. It's pretty neat that such a non-crafty person has her own craft kit, despite the fact that she's not really sure what to do with it.
The girls will help me figure something out. We're teaching each other. I'm teaching them to color in the lines, and they're teaching me that sometimes its OK to color outside them.
Both are valuable lessons.