Pouring Station, as seen on Pinterest. Original source: Busytoddler.com
It’s been said that Pinterest is a conspiracy to get women to care about cooking, cleaning and working out. I can’t dispute this. As a mom, my pins include “15 Homemade Baby Food Recipes,” “22 Pretty Ways to Organize Your Pantry,” and a “7-Day Abs Workout Chart”. I grimace at the stereotype I’ve become. Yet, I find myself returning to Pinterest again and again, because it’s such a good source of activities for my kids (three and one years old), who are always in danger of losing it if they’re bored for more than two minutes.
However, I’ve come to think that Pinterest is a mug’s game – the kind of thing that leaves you feeling like a chump, because so few of the projects work out. Can you relate? Or do I just suck at Pinterest? I present a sample of my most epic Pinterest fails. You be the judge.
(Original source: busytoddler.com)
Pinterest Activity: Pouring Station: A No Cost, High Fun Toddler Activity
AKA: Flooding Station: A High Stress, Floor-Warping Activity
My children love playing with water, so we did this pouring station one wintry, cooped-up day. They adored it and now beg to do it all the time. This might seem like a win, except we don’t have a backyard so we have to do it inside. We started out doing it in the bathroom upstairs until I realized that I would never get anything done again (eg. dinner) unless I could supervise them downstairs. So now they do it on the hardwood floor of our rented apartment, sloshing water everywhere and leaving sopping towels and a big cleanup job when they’re done. High fun! And the only cost is my frayed nerves - plus any water damage done to the floors.
Pinterest Activity: Edible Fingerpaints
AKA: It’s all fun and games until someone slips in their own pee
Yogurt mixed with food colouring to produce a non-toxic finger paint. Brilliant! Perfect for that stage when your baby loves to get into everything but is putting EVERYTHING in their mouth, right? Finally, I (naively) thought, an activity that my baby and toddler will both love, that’s safe and healthy.
It started out so great.
What could possibly go wrong?
Oh, wait. Yeah. There’s so much that’s going to go wrong. They’re a baby and a toddler. They’re going to step in the paint, get up and track coloured yogurt all over the house. And then touch everything in the house with coloured yogurt hands.
This activity, again, ended up with a massive cleanup effort by me, which included stripping the kids of their diapers, whereupon the older one peed on the floor and slipped in it, screeching and writhing around in a puddle of pee-infused, curdled green yogurt.
Pinterest Activity: Whimsical, Painted Story Stones
AKA Toddler-Maiming Missiles
My older daughter was super excited about this one and so was I. I’m all about free, environmentally friendly crafts. And visually, at least, these rocks turned out pretty nice.
They turned out nice because I got way too into painting them. Gripped by Pinterest fever, long after my kid had lost interest, I sat on the floor for an entire Saturday morning doggedly working on them, offloading all childcare duties to my husband, who looked askance as the woman he’d married…obsessively painted rocks. But, I told myself, it would be worth it. They would look so cute nestled in a basket, and they would provide hours of story telling!
But how - HOW? – did I not account for the ultimate certainty? The certainty that young children will CARRY, DROP and THROW everything.
These rocks, in the hands of my kids, turned into toe-crushing missiles from which we have all narrowly escaped – so far. One of the rocks even broke. I wasn’t aware rocks could be broken except by old timey prisoners wielding sledgehammers, but somehow my one-year-old managed it.
Pinterest Project: Pixelated Heart Quilt
AKA: Pixelated Heartbreak Quilt
This may be the mother of all Pinterest fails, in terms of how much effort it took, and how little payoff it produced. My then-two-year-old daughter, like many kids, loved pink hearts. I’m a novice sewer, so when I saw the heart quilt pattern, I thought it would be a fun challenge. In my sappy heart of hearts (excuse the pun) I also imagined it would be an heirloom she would bring to university, wrap her own baby daughter in, and ultimately, cry into after I died. (I generally accept that motherhood is a thankless job, but you could say I secretly harbour high hopes.)
It was a true labour of love. Every night, I worked: cutting, sewing and quilting over 100 individual squares. Weeks later, it was done.
I presented it to my daughter, heart aflutter.
Me: “I made you a cozy blanket with a heart, because I love you so much.”
Her: “I don’t like that thing.”
Me (on the verge of tears but hiding it): “But it’s a heart. You love hearts.”
Her, with the jaded coldness of Anna Wintour: “I don’t see it.”
Okay, fair enough. Toddlers aren’t fans of shabby chic quilted hearts. My better sense should have prevailed. I can only blame myself. And Pinterest.
You would think, having sustained these failures, that I would have quit Pinterest, but I haven’t. My “Toddler Activities” board grows every day. Next project is “Snow-dipped Pinecones” for our seasonal table centerpiece. First we need to bake the pinecones we’ve collected, which should kill any parasites that could infest our home. What could possibly go wrong?