I'm pretty loose when it comes to restrictions on the kids and their creativity. Finger paint, watercolors, we have about four billion crayons and colored pencils at any given point. We have a child's size easel in our dining room and rolls upon rolls of white paper ready to go at any moment.
I even will go the point of saving milk and egg cartons for them to craft from, we have a whole craft area dedicated to just that one activity, and I will break out the special waterproof tablecloth for those particularly messy projects. But there is one particular childhood craft that I have since banned from my house which I hope never will return.
Play-doh. I HATE PLAY-DOH. I can't stand the smell of it and the texture, and I can't stand that no matter what I will not be able to get the remains of it out of the cracks in our floorboards or the pieces that have become as one with my carpet. Within mere minutes, no, seconds even, of opening brand spanking new Play-Doh containers they are combined into brownish, purplish globs never to be separated into the proper colors again. And don't get me started on the cleaning of the Play-Doh making toys. EVERY parent has been in the position of wondering how to clean one of those Play-Doh machine thingies which is now encrusted with a multi-colored but mostly brown hued crust of Play-Doh. Should I just throw it out? Should I just give it to them blocked off with the remnants of last month's Play Doh playing binge and see if they can figure it out?
But the true hatred of Play-Doh came this past summer, which was enough to solidify a lifelong ban on it from ever entering my house again. I had decided that fine, they could play with the stockpile we had somehow accumulated through birthdays and little goodie bag giveaways. BUT, they had to do it outside. I thought I was so smart. Clean up will be so easy! This will solve all the craft clean up issues with Play-Doh, and I'll just sweep the little leftover crumbs onto the lawn never to think about them again! So I set up the patio table with all the tools their little sculpter hearts could desire, opened up about seven containers of Play-Doh and let them go nuts. I popped my head out to check on them every few minutes, and got the usual Play-Doh snakes and pretend food presents, and things seemed to be going well.
That is, until I realized that Play-Doh and mesh patio chairs DO NOT MIX. Every. Single. Chair was embedded with a rainbow of colors, smeared into them permanently in a way that no cleaning agent could eradicate. Google searches were embarked on to find a solution, countless Magic Erasers were utilized to no effect, and when we put the patio furniture away for the season this year I realized I would either have to live with each black mesh patio chair being smeared with Play-Doh or get a new set altogether. I mean, I get it. I have baby number five on the way, personal belongings of mine will always be smeared with paint or glitter glue, it's par for the course. But this situation? I just can't.
So I decided that my kids would just have to endure a Play-Doh-less childhood. I will not be buying it, will not be making my own seasonally scented versions of it, will not be allowing any little mini pots of it to be smuggled into this household inside goodie bags or Valentines. Should I just grin and bare it with the Play-Doh? Probably. Might do me good to loosen up a bit, who knows. Will I? Absolutely not. Do I think my kids will blame me in the future for depriving them of this time honored child's toy? Probably not. There are just some meaningless things as a parent that you just HAVE to put your foot down about.
Now tell me yours, what is your biggest parenting pet peeve when it comes to the little things?