Can you call it bad art if a kid helps?

A collaborative effort?

A collaborative effort?

The beginning of anything is always awkward. Like this. Right now. I don’t know you. You don’t know me. Honestly, this is something new for me because the internet has always made me bananas. Like some kind of sitting-down-in-front-of-the-computer-for-five-minutes-and-getting-up-five-hours-later-like-you-blacked-out-bananas. But I refuse to let bananas run my life. I will not be held hostage to a goddamn banana!

Hey, this got awkward faster than I thought.

I have had some decent luck making art with words in my life. But I never really understood I had decent luck until someone else told me I did. Usually it was later, the moment was gone and I was at a bar or in my car with my guts stewing in a heap of disappointment. So, I am writing this in hopes that I can finally begin to bear the thought of being vulnerable and creative without living in terror of being called a hack. Because honestly, sometimes fart jokes are funny.

My most recent art project was a spider made in 4 minutes from a shoe box top, acrylic paint and 8 black piper cleaners. My partner was a three year-old. I should have known better than to start a project at 5:15 with a hungry child in a ballet outfit, but the holidays clouded my judgement. So, I forced her to pull on a short sleeve pink Green Bay Packers tshirt that was a gift with sleeves that are too tight. Then I proceeded to stuff the entire ballet outfit into the T-shirt in order to “avoid a mess.”

Avoid a mess. That statement is ridiculous. Did you hear the circumstances? No dinner, expensive ballet recital outfit, black acrylic paint and three years old. Here’s how you avoid the mess… The grown up does the entire thing while the kid begs to be allowed to do a project that was promised to her. And all the while the adult is talking in a fast, high, sing-songy way hoping to distract the child and desperately trying to think of some way that the child can actually help. Eventually she was allowed to draw some eyes, but she lost interest when it came to gluing them on. So, a win-win all around. I got my spider (is that what I wanted?) and she got the lesson that art is fun, except if you might make a mess and throw off your anxiety-prone mother’s plan.

Is it enough to even try as a parent? The whole thing is very three steps forward, two steps back, if you ask me. Sometimes I can take that ratio and sometimes it just eats me up. Like a banana. An angry, complaining banana that refuses to brush its teeth or close the bathroom door despite repeated requests.

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