Play Doh'nt

I'll say it before, and I'll say it again. Emphatically. With kind of crazy eyes.

I. Don't. Craft.

It isn't that I'm not inspired by those of you who do. It isn't that I don't have a ton of boards on Pinterest (are you following me?) devoted to cute little DIY-things that I dream of having the time, creativity, and inspiration oh yeah and skill to do. It isn't that, once in a while, I don't get a wild hair and actually try (remember the no-sew snuggle pillow debacle?).

It's just that a.) I'm not all that good at it, and b.) I despise things that make unnecessary messes. I mean ... I can barely keep up with the day-to-day messes my four little hooligans create. They generate crumbs like they were being paid for it. Like their lives depend on it. Like their very happiness is directly proportional to how much work they force me to do.

But you know how it is when your kids want something, really want something, and they look at you hopeful and smiley and stuff and you become, like, totally blind to why you didn't want them to have whatever-it-is in the first place?


In this case, it was homemade play dough. Colin has been straight-up begging me, relentlessly, ever since his class made something similar at school. And the other day I just happened to be looking at the back of my tub of cornstarch while I was standing in front of the open cabinet stuffing my face with chocolate chips straight from the bag and there was a recipe for "play clay."

I had cornstarch. I had baking soda. It looked like a relatively simple recipe. So that's how I found myself at the stove after breakfast Sunday morning, whipping up a batch, surrounded by ecstatic little boys.

Y'all? I went all out. I made them six different colors (staining my hands an unattractive shade of dirty-looking green-gray in the process, damn it). When it was done, I gave them tons of cookie cutters and the rolling pin and the meat-tenderizing mallet. And they were in heaven.

And yes. They were all naked. If you're surprised, you haven't been reading this blog long enough.

The boys were so completely occupied that I figured it was safe to go into the living room and put the baby down for a nap. They played peacefully for a quite a while, and then Colin and Coby left the table and went into Coby's bedroom.

"Did you clean up your play dough?" I hollered after them.

"Yes!" they shouted back in unison.

What I didn't realize was that by "cleaned up" they meant "put some of the crumbs in a bowl and carried them back to the bedroom even though they know better." So there I sat in blissful ignorance for at least a few more minutes ...

... until I heard Coby whining. Then coughing. Then crying. And Colin shrieking.

"Coby threw up!" he ran out to report breathlessly. "Right on the mattress!"

As if on cue, here came Coby, tears flowing. "Colin made me eat play dough," he bawled.

I went to check on the situation. Sure enough, Coby had barfed. Did I mention this was within an hour after eating breakfast? And that we'd had oatmeal? And that, of all the places he could have puked, he did it on the one mattress that was totally bare because I was washing the sheets?

Since Colin was the perpetrator, I made him clean it up. And when I went into the kitchen to get the paper towels, I glanced at the table for the first time since I'd left the kids playing happily - and neatly - with the play dough.

It looked like a rainbow had exploded. This photo of the table was just the tip of the iceberg; it was also scattered over the chairs and the floor, including the edge of the living room carpet. If you think about it - which I clearly didn't - anything made with baking soda and cornstarch is gonna be a little on the dry and crumbly side, especially once it's been sitting out for a half-hour or so.

And I? Am pretty sure I looked something like this:

... Only, you know, a little less like Don Knotts.*

*On second thought, who knows ... it was morning, after all.

I think I experienced a temporary blackout due to the assault on my nerves, because I don't remember much about the next few minutes. Except that there was a very clear promise that we would never, ever, EVER (with more never-evers than Taylor Swift) be making or probably even playing with store-bought play dough ever ever EVER again. Hmmmph.

I had the boys help me clean up the crumby fiasco, but it was more to teach them a lesson than to actually get it clean because their help is more like "help." You know what I mean. Like when Coby tried to empty the dustpan full of crumbs into the trash ... only he missed the trash and dumped them all over the floor instead.

Someone needs to invent play dough that doesn't crumble, stain, dry out, or cause a child to barf when his brother feeds it to him.

I'm pretty sure that's never gonna happen.


  1. I dislike playdough because of the mess too - usually just tell my preschool boy he can play with it at school ;)


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