Friday, August 25, 2017

paper flower

(Story of a craft)

Five-minute crafts. That’s Lu’s favourite Youtube channel. It features an endless procession of crafts and life hacks: “25 Life-saving hacks you must learn right now”, “11 cool life tips that will save you a fortune”, “19 coolest kids toys you can make yourself”, “18 easiest and cutest crafts for your loved ones”.

The other day she secrets herself in her room, turning her back toward me whenever I enter and she yells at me to go away. She is busy churning out some craft which she saw on the channel, for me. My phone is also with her as she is referring to the video tutorial, but of course her craft comes first, and I can’t check my phone the entire time.

As I am sitting at my computer, I hear shouts and screams coming from outside. The door cracks open and Lu sidles in, clutching a piece of paper, tears streaming from her eyes. “Whenever I make crafts, I always fail, Mama, I’m a failure! It always looks very easy in the video but it isn’t, it isn’t! And Jae Jae won’t lend me her glue and I have no more glue and I can’t find the double-sided tape and it’s going to fail!”

She tearfully hands over something blue, a bunch of paper flowers stuck together. At this point, Jo is very indignantly clarifying, “She said she didn’t need my glue so I’m not going to lend it to her!” (These days, Lu doesn’t always say what she means. Pride and temper comes first. And to Jo, if you say it, even if its in anger, it's final)

From Lu, I manage to understand that the flowers are to be stuck on a piece of paper, to be opened like a card.

“We’ll use masking tape, OK?” I help her, to carefully stick the flower down to the paper. We open the paper. The flowers don’t bloom open the way they are supposed to. She seems to have over-stuck too many corners and they’re all clustered together. The card won't open fully.


The tears spring forth anew. “You see? It's a failure, Mama, it’s never going to work!”

I tell her, “It’s late now. We’ll try again tomorrow OK? Mama will help you, I promise.”

Next day, first thing she wakes up, she works on a new bunch of paper flowers. I don’t help her with the cutting and colouring, because I get busy and I have a headache. Yes, I do get them. She mutters and spews: “You promised you were going to help me, Mama. You broke your promise.”

I ignore her. She works at it alone. Finally, when she reaches the point when she has to stick the flowers together, I throw away what I’m supposed to work on, because that’s the point she really needs me.

“OK I’ll help you now. Come here, Lulu.” Together, we watch the video. I make sure she follows exactly what the video is showing. We stick the flowers together, one by one, and then stick it on the paper. Ta dah!

* Pix, just in case my gif (my first gif!) becomes obsolete and disappears in future...

We scream in ecstasy. Day and Jo wonder what’s going on.

Lu takes a pen and scrawls, messily, To Mama, From Lulu.

I ask, “Aren’t you going to write anything inside, Lulu?”

She does. “Dear Mama, I love you. But you were very mean to me today.”

(the mean part isn’t just about not helping with the flowers. It’s also because she refused to eat her lunch and when I subsequently took Day and Jo out for ice-cream, I left her at home alone because I ain’t going to feed her dessert if she doesn’t eat her lunch)

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