"Boys are found everywhere—on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around or jumping to. Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older sisters and brothers tolerate them, adults ignore them and Heaven protects them. A boy is Truth with dirt on its face, Beauty with a cut on its finger, Wisdom with bubble gum in its hair
and the Hope of the future with a frog in its pocket."
Author: Alan Beck

Friday, January 27, 2012

Shrinking Talent

Remember Shrinky Dinks?  Those homemade, fun creations that magically shrink when baked in the oven?  Did you make them when you were little?  Do you make them with your kids now?

I've always thought of Shrinky Dinks to be tailored more towards little girls, thus the reason I had never done them with the boys.

Until last week.

I was browsing through Michael's, looking for rainy snowy-day activities to do with the boys.  I came across Shrinky Dinks, which, to my surprise, showed all kinds of boyish creations and ideas on the front.  Excited for my upcoming Shrinky Dink adventure, I headed towards the checkout, armed with my weekly coupon.

It didn't take long for the perfect Shrinky Dink moment to come.  The one where two boys are arguing, one is complaining of world record boredom, while another quietly does his best to convince his little brother to allow him to duct tape him to a chair...."just for a minute."

Enter Shrinky Dinks.

"Shrinky huh?" they replied. 

Truth is, I had them at "you put them in the oven and watch them morph."  They were sold.  An added bonus was the fact that sharpies were required.  My boys and permanent markers = true love, happiness and joy.

Four out of five boys participated.  Mr. 5th grader was not about to be caught making something called a Shrinky Dink.  As for the rest of 'em, just look at how enthused they are! (Can you spot the boy who preferred to color the counter instead?)

The boys surprised me by spending a long time coloring.  I don't think they moved for 25 minutes.  Talk about a world record.  They finished coloring and we carefully placed their dinky creations into the oven.

That's when the flow of tears began.  They sadly watched their masterpieces turn into this-

I was bound and determined to reverse the direction in which this project was heading.  I sprinted to the garage and came running back, needle nose pliers (and other tools) in hand.  I remember a post my friend, Angie, did on Shrinky Dinks.  She described what to do if your creations began to curl.

 (A note about Angie-We went to high school together, and though I haven't seen her since the early 90's, we stay cyberly connected.  Angie is an amazing woman who makes everything look perfect and easy.  Her kids are always dressed in coordinating outfits, some of which, were sewn by Angie.  My kids?  Frequently seen running naked through the cul-de-sac.  My sewing machine?  I've been searching for the 'on' button for over a year now.) 

Per Angie's directions, I quickly attempted to pry the little buggers open.  This was all I got -

Enter more tears. You'd cry, too, if your coffin was curled. 

I slaved for the next 45 minutes (or more) trying to salvage their art.  In the end, only a ladybug, a heart, and a coffin survived.  They're not flat, they're certainly not pretty, and they look nothing like the examples on the front of the package.

The only thing that visibly shrunk that day (in perfect form) was my ego.  My boys also lost faith in me.  I can see it in their eyes every time I call them to the table for another craft.  They look at me as if to say, "this won't turn out like the Shrinky Dink project, will it?" 

Today for craft time, I'm thinking about making myself a t-shirt -  
I plan on embroidering the letters.  Just as soon as I can find that damn on button.

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