A recent study from the University of Illinois suggests that drinking alcohol does in fact make you more creative. This may explain why doing craft activities with my children makes me want to lay down on the kitchen floor and drink gin from the bottle.
I do not have a creative bone in my body. I have friends who are able to take toilet rolls, cereal boxes and tissue paper and construct scale models of the Tower of London. I am able to take the same materials and turn them into life size models of . . . toilet rolls stuck onto cereal boxes.
I do try. I have a big plastic box full of sparkly pipe cleaners, tissue paper and stickers. Unfortunately, it appears that just buying the stuff is not enough; you then need to work out what to do with it.
Mr Maker is my freakin’ nemesis. I try my best to turn my children away from the TV before he makes an appearance. Both my children worship him, watching his creations with hushed reverence. Unfortunately, as soon as he is finished they look at me with eyes full of eternal hope and (misplaced) parental belief: “Can you help us make that, mummy?”
If, by chance, we happen to have all the resources needed, I reluctantly agree to try. (Any attempts to get out of it by telling them that I’m not very good at making things only prompts the boy to hoist me with my own petard, “You won’t get any better if you don’t practice, mummy.”)
Despite following the instructions meticulously, it never ends up looking as it should. Anyone who saw our dinosaur with legs made of rolled up newspaper would no longer question why they became extinct: the poor creature could only stay upright for about 3 seconds.
At least my children have obligingly low expectations. Although sometimes there is something more than a little patronising when a four year old tells you that you are “getting very good at cutting out.”
My other sticking point, if you’ll pardon the pun, is Mister Maker’s obsession with ‘googly eyes’. I’m pretty sure you’ll find his brother is the UK distributor for the damn things. How the hell do you get them to stick to anything? Pritt stick (my non-spillable glue of choice) just doesn’t cut it. If you use PVA they slide slowly downwards until the imaginary creature is looking out of its imaginary stomach. There is double-sided sticky tape, but if anyone out there has found a way to cut that small enough to fit a googly eye and still be able to peel the back off of the bugger, I will shake that person by the paint-covered hand. (Actually, they do stick to something. I was in the middle of admonishing a Year 8 for their lack of effort in class when the confused looking child said ‘Miss, why have you got eyes stuck to your buttons?’ It’s quite difficult to maintain your authority after that.)
Also, what the heck do you do with all these projects after you have made them? I used to get away with filing them in the recycling bin pretty soon after they were made (don’t gasp in horror, supermothers, this blog is not for you) but lately they have taken to want to display them for indefinite periods of time. Sometimes I can get away with persuading them that that particular collection of painted pebble monsters would look lovely at Nana’s house, but most of the time they are adamant that they want to litter my lounge with them. My latest plan is to implement a genius idea shared by a friend who takes a photo of the current masterpiece and then ‘loses” the original. Now, that’s the kind of creativity I can run with.
Back to that study from the University of Illinois: the researchers believe that ‘intoxication may lower one’s ability to control one’s thoughts, thus freeing the mind for more creativity.’ On reading further, however, they note that ‘higher doses of alcohol were not tested, nor was the study done with female volunteers.’
Never let it be said that I would stand in the way of scientific progress. Or that I am unwilling to offer my services to further the advancement of the human race. Anyone else fancy joining me in a bit of research?