Warning: Pinterest May Make Your Child Turn Blue

Posted by on Feb 28, 2013 in Parenthood, Play | 2 comments

I’m addicted to Pinterest. I drool over blogs filled with kid-friendly activities, showing preschoolers proudly displaying their handmade creations, images of glass jars lined up on shelves filled with googly eyes and bits of scrap tissue paper, and perfectly just-out-of-focus closeups of chubby little fingers up to their elbows in sensory materials like dried lentils and puddles of glitter.

My 3-year-old has also been blue for 2 days, and I have hot glue in my half-melted hair.

A recent project that entailed painting with jet-black acrylic (permanent) paint turned into a nightmare handprint-stamping activity. Ok, I don’t even know why I put a strikethrough through “nightmare.” The exact phrase that were going through my head as both kids were painting their hands to look like tar pits was, “This is a f*#!ing nightmare.”


Our geodesic dome built with nothing but newspaper required the addition of 1,000,000,000,000,000 staples, 5,000 twisty ties (good thing we save just about everything), and about 70 “I told you so’s” from the hubs when the whole thing was crushed by two maniacal preschoolers who thought it would be pretty sweet to systematically destroy every smidgen of my sanity pole sustaining the structure.

Natural Parents Network recently posted photographs of kids engaging in messy play. There were lots of sweet comments made about the messy play. I wonder how many of those comments were made behind clenched teeth. I also wonder what the post would have looked like if it had included pictures of the parents’ faces while they were taking the photos.

Here is a photo of my kids playing with rainbow rice. You do NOT want to see the rest of the house.

Water balloons in the bathtub… you can see where this is going, can’t you?

So how did my child turn blue? Well, I’ll tell you. I mixed up a batch of this beautiful, lightweight, frothy bathtub paint, ready for my kids to create their masterpieces on the bathtub walls for some good, clean fun. They painted on the wall for .000000001 seconds and then painted their faces, bellies, and other parts that I will not name. And then the water turned a vibrant Caribbean blue. And so did my kids.

It’s not the messes that I mind so much. In fact, I’ve been known to make a mess or two myself here and there. No, it’s the fact that NOWHERE on ANY BLOG or ANY PINTEREST page have I found a reference to anyone else’s kid turning blue from shaving cream paint. And I know for a fact that if all of these fun-loving, creative moms are giving their kids bowls full of the bathtub’s equivalent of a Sharpie, there must be other little blue kids running around this world.

So why are we all smiling, sharing these beautiful activities that take 5 hours to set up, 5 minutes to complete, and 5 days to clean up, without being honest? From here on out, I vow to share the truth about the creative activities I do with my kids. Here are a few to get you started:

  • My kids refuse to draw with these amazing-looking marbleized crayon eggs.
  • I poured the glitter on this white snow dough and quickly snapped a magical picture before my kids’ dingy hands turned the mass of dough a repulsive grey color.
  • I have never seen a child drive a toy car along these masking tape roads that I so painstakingly created:


I know what you’re thinking: All this coming from the person who makes it her life’s goal to help parents connect creatively with their kids? I’m not saying that it’s not a good idea to try these things, I just think it would be nice to know what you’re getting into. You know I’m all about being real and sharing what motherhood is honestly like. I think we all just deserve a little warning, that’s all.

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  1. Crystal

    You are too funny! I love getting messy with my kids but I do have my limits. And somehow I keep seeing more and more Pinterest fails. Maybe people are not being honest about how the project really went for them?

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