I’m pretty sure this makes me a lousy mom but as soon as I see a glint of creative zeal in my children’s eyes, a stroke of inspiration, as soon as one of them exclaims, “Oh! I’ve got a GREAT IDEA!” – I get instantly annoyed.
Theoretically, my children’s inspiration is wonderful. But in practice, it involves a truly unreasonable amount of work on my part. I have learned this the hard way.
Whenever my seven-year-old, Primo, gets a big idea, it means my assistance is immediately required. His inspiration is such an overpowering force it consumes him and erases every modicum of patience or reason he might possess (in slim quantities to begin with). He dreams impossible dreams. And who does it fall to, ultimately, to make those dreams come true? Who do you think?
I enrolled the kids in a week-long movie-making camp. Big mistake. The camp has kindled the flame of their imaginations which I try to keep on a nice, low, simmer. When I picked them up yesterday, Primo immediately informed me he was “inspired” to make a stop animation short.
His movie-making inspirations are the ones I dread the most because they are the most time-consuming and because they involve my using technology that I am not even sure how to operate. I’ll help him construct a Lego Eiffel Tower any day, or write a magna-opus mash-up of Harry Potter and How to Train Your Dragon. Just nothing that requires editing software, please.
So, at 6pm, the kid wants to make a movie. There’s dinner to be made, bath and books and all that jazz and I know from the last time we made a movie that it is an operation which can easily take an entire afternoon — I’m talking two to four hours — not a project to be undertaken at bedtime.
These are the ill-timed strokes of inspiration I live in fear of. Because when I tell the kid, “Well, honey, there’s really not enough time to make a movie before bed,” he goes ballistic. Don’t I understand? He is in the throes of a cosmic creative force which can not be denied, postponed or abbreviated in any way. It is a burning desire to CREATE which has set his heart aflame with passion. He cares not for BEDTIME. He cares not for teeth brushing. This is a masterpiece he is holding in his mind and he can’t hold it too long or it- tender creature – will expire. Do I want his BRILLIANT MASTERPIECE to DIE an ignominious death, having never seen the light of day? DO I?
Plus, it will only take five minutes, he assures me.
And I fall for it. Because I’m a softie and because, regrettably, I treasure his big plans and divine inspiration, maybe even more than he does. I have saved approximately four million drawings of Plants vs Zombies characters he’s penned, for crying out loud. Of COURSE I will help him realize his impossible dream.
Which is how I find myself past bedtime, in a fury, interviewing a Ninjago mini figure, ignoring my four year-old daughter’s yells for assistance with her own creation in the bathroom.
“MOMMY I DID A POOP AND I NEED HELP WIPING!”
“MOMMY WHY ARE YOU IGNORING ME?”
To which I finally reply, “We are FILMING in here honey! Primo, cut just cut! Scrap that take! We’ll have to go again after I wipe your sister’s butt.”
This is where inspiration leads you. This is why I try to avoid getting my kids inspired in any way possible. Unless it’s getting inspired to take a freaking nap. Which is stroke of genius my kids never have.
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