You know how some activities look like really fun things to do with kids, until you actually do them? Pinterest has a habit of regularly lulling me into a false sense of confidence, heightening my hopes of doing lovely Pinteresty type things with the children. In my head it will all be calm, the creations we make will be worthy of a million likes on Instagram, we’ll all be bathed in the rosy glow of contentment. Of course the reality is always very different.
Every Halloween for as long as I can remember we’ve done pumpkin carving. The last few years we’ve turned our pumpkin carving activity into an opportunity to support World Vision’s brilliant #CarveaHeart campaign and carve a pretty heart in a pumpkin, while donating £3 (by texting HEART to 70060) to help children living in fear.
It’s an opportunity to get creative and spend some quality time together. Plus, now that Frog is six she’s showing a real interest in the world around her, asking constant questions and wanting to know how she can help other kids who might not be born into as lucky circumstances as herself.
So this half term, just like every other, we got involved in some pumpkin carving. Except this time it also involved an eager two year old. Baby Girl is keen to get in on the action whenever possible, which is both fun and a million times more hard work.
To make things even more challenging I decided that, again just like every other year, we’d do some baking with the pumpkin flesh we scooped out of the centre. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!
The truth is, I actually really enjoy baking. And I love crafty stuff – just on my own, without children!
In all honesty though, the chaos and messy reality of activities like these are, in my opinion, what makes them so memorable. While my inner Monica itches to tidy around the children, forcing myself to let go and live in the moment makes things a whole lot easier. I’m never going to win prizes for being a Pinterest mum – this is never going to be a blog showcasing fantastic works of art. But what I can show you is that things don’t have to be perfect for them to be fun or successful.
Yes our pumpkins are slightly wonky. Yes my six year old used the word “poo” many, many times while baking pumpkin muffins. And yes, the toddler scattered pumpkin seeds all over the floor. But in the long run, those things didn’t really matter. They had fun. I had fun – once I’d accepted defeat and relinquished control – and we have some fun memories of an activity that’s become a bit of a tradition in our family.
I captured it all in all its chaotic reality, if you fancy a watch…