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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Camp Marshfield Craft Night

Thank goodness my meeting tonight ended early. I got home about 6:30, just in time to donate my spigot to the evening's water balloon fight up and down the sidewalk. After drying off, we went inside my air conditioned house and a spontaneous craft night emerged: pastel drawing, newspaper hats, origami stars. Here's how it all started.

I rode up to my house just in time to see some guys walking away with water balloons, Bradys following behind. "Can we use your hose?" asked Oldest Brady Boy.


"Can we get you wet?" begged Memory Girl, who rode up on her bike to join the action.

"Well, I have to put my bike away and change, but then you can get me wet," I told her.

"You won't get me wet, though, will you? My mom will be mad."

"No, I promise I won't get you wet."

So I put my bike away and got in my surfer gear (board shorts and a tankini top, great clothes to get wet in and modest enough to avoid too much comment from adult male passers-by, though there's a lot of that obnoxious behavior around here). Then we went out back and Memory Girl, Sarah, Jay-Z, Brady Bughunter and one of his girl cousins all took turns spraying me with the hose. Once I was cooled off, they watered my grass and those who wanted to get a little wet did.

Then I looked in my composter which isn't composting much because I don't turn it enough or wet it down. I found a can in there and the other kids thought Brady Bughunter had put it in. I don't blame him; it sure looks like a trash can. I called him over, explained that only plants and some food leftovers go in, cans don't, and asked him to take it to the alley dumpster. He did.

Meanwhile, everybody was looking at all the spiders that have spun webs inside the composter. One of the Brady Girls--who henceforth we'll call Ines--found a giant plastic cup in the yard and started using it as a spade to turn the compost. Thanks, Ines! Then we rehooked the hose to the spigot (we unhooked it for water balloons after the spraying was over), and Irma wet down the compost and dug around in it some more. I was relieved to see that the botton actually may have turned into dirt--though I added some dirt a while back and it was hard to judge whether there was actual new dirt in there or not.

They found a slug. They all called it a snail. I tried to explain that snails have shells and slugs don't, but I'm not sure that fine point stuck. It was a cool looking slug with pronounced tentacles and a fine slime trail on the lid of my composter, where we put it after we pulled it out of the compost. I meant to put it back and I forgot. I'll have to go look and see if it's there or if it slid down to the ground.

Anyway, we hung out on the front stoop for a while until I was dry. Then Ines and two of her cousins wanted to come inside, and I said OK. After Ines went to the bathroom, they found the construction paper I got from the dollar store and my fancy crayons (oil pastels) and got busy. Her brother, Middle Brady, came in and wanted to make a newspaper hat. I forgot how so I turned on the computer and put "how to make newspaper hat" in Google and sure enough, got instructions. Middle Brady figured it out pretty fast from the illustrations, and I made one, too.

Then Ines wanted to look up how to make paper flowers, so I put that in Google and we got another site. Ines went to town here--I left her on the computer to look up tons of different craft ideas while I went upstairs to change out of my still-damp shorts.

By now Sarah, her niece and most of the younger Bradys were all in the house, coloring and cutting away. "Can we have a craft club?" Sarah asked.

"Aren't we having one now?"

"Yeah, but can we have it not from seven to eight at night?"

"Yeah, more like four or five?" chimed in a Brady Girl.

"Well, when I have to work, this is the time I can do it." Later I promised to leave them some craft supplies in the mailbox tomorrow morning when I go to work.

They want to make decorations for the block party, and Ines says she can design the flyers and at least make some copies. I can probably get the rest of the copies made if she can't run off a lot.

We talked about stars--Ines wanted to make a three-dimensional star (you make two identical flat ones, then cut slits and slide them together). She drew a six-pointed star, acknowledging, "that means something bad."

"But five-pointed stars do, too," I said.

Sarah was making a four-pointed, diamond-like star. "Can we do those for the party, if they don't represent?" I asked.

"I think they mean something bad, too," Ines told me. They probably do.

"Maybe we'll have to just make so many different kinds of stars nobody could say we were representing," I suggested. Or maybe we'll have to avoid star designs altogether, I thought but didn't say right away. It makes me so mad that little kids can't just draw stars for fun without people reading the wrong things into it. I may have to get some expert advice on this one.

Anyway, they cleaned up--I set the oven timer and gave a 10-minute warning to finish what they were doing, then a two-minute cleanup period, then we all went outside. They didn't leave the place too messy and Middle Brady Boy took home the science comic books from the Museum of Science and Industry. He was having trouble pronoucing "Ecosystem," so I don't know exactly how much science he'll get out of them, but he liked them and he'll look at them and maybe he'll even get his big brother to take a look, too.

Even Littlest Brady Boy stopped in and drew something. I think one of his sisters or cousins took it home to show his mom.

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