Since we're on the subject of birds, I thought I would write a little bit about why I suck at crafts, projects, and all things manually creative.
The other week while on our walk, Rollie found a pine cone and exclaimed that it was perfect. And it was indeed glorious, as pine cone go....symmetrical, full and dark brown, the very kind of pine cone other pine cones strive to be like. The kind of pine cone that lights up a room as soon as it rolls in, always has a new joke that no one has heard, always has the right clothes, the right car, the right woman. He's the most interesting pine cone alive. Okay, sorry....it's 3:30 and Rollie's on his fifth episode of Little Bear...
Anyway, Rollie insisted on bringing it home so he could throw it into the pond out back (a favorite passtime of his...throwing rocks, sticks, weeds, bread, Baby Elsa, into the pond....is this a boy thing?). And just as I thought what a waste it would be to throw away such a beautiful pine cone, I had a bolt of creative inspriation--something that happens less often than a total lunar eclipse.
"I know, Rollie," I said, suddenly sounding like Martha Stewart (not that I would really know what she sounds like. Smug? Self-righteous? Drunk?) "Let's make this pine cone into a bird feeder."
Rollie's eyes lit up. "That's a good idea, Momma."
You bet it was. I was envisioning this pine cone becoming the coolest hangout in the entire neighborhood. Birds would flock to it, gorge themselves on delicious seeds and exotic nuts, enjoy the company of other birds and perhaps make some new friends, all while my children watched from the window, enthralled with such amazing displays of nature, marveling at the fact that I, I was the one who made this all possible. Maybe Rollie would be inspired to become an ornithologist, Elsa a documentary director, they could travel the world together, studying and filming birds of all kinds in their natural habitats. And as they went up on stage to accept their Oscar for Best Documentary, they'll thank their Mom for planting the seed of fascination in their brains, for opening the world of birds to them and being the source of inspiration to them and to bird aficionados everywhere. Their speech of thanksgiving would last so long that they would be cut off by the wrap-it-up music and some dame in an evening gown would have to escort them off-stage while they still went on about what a wonderful mother I am.
When we got home I laid out the plastic table cloth and broke out the peanut butter, humming the Academy Awards theme song. Then I retrieved our economy-sized bag of birdseed we had in the closet (since you never know when you'll be entertaining a murder of crows or a flock of seagulls). I laid everything out in front of my eager children, then instructed them to do as follows:
Okay, first, Rollie, we have to tie some string around the top of the pine cone so we can hang it after it's finished. Then we have to take this knife and smear a bunch of peanut butter all over the pine cone. No, not like that. Like this. Make sure we get it everywhere. No, not literally everywhere. Honey, it's getting in your hair. Hang on a second Rollie, you're making a mess. Wait, don't dip the knife back in the jar. Let me get another dish. Ew, Rollie, don't lick that! No, it's got gross, disgusting germs all over it. The pine cone is actually kind of dirty. Well, because squirrels probably picked at it. It's been on the ground. Hang on, the string came off. Do you see it anywhere? I hope Ollie doesn't eat it. Let me see if we have more string. Shoot. Well, maybe this hair ribbon will work. Hang on, let me wash my hands. Okay, so now, we take the pine cone and roll it in bird seed. No, Baby Elsa, don't eat the seed! Yucky, Els! That's for birdies. Rollie, stop, Honey, you're scattering the seeds everywhere. Just roll the pine cone in it. No, like this...see? No, we don't need more peanut butter. No, Rollie. We only needed it to make the seed stick. I said no, Rollie. Do you need to go into Time Out? Hey! Stop it! No, Baby Elsa can't lick the knife. Did you hear me? Stop. It. Right. Now.
Despite these instructions, we were still able to coat the pine cone entirely in peanut butter, dog hair, cereal crumbs...oh yeah, and bird seed. Then I marched my little Audubans outside and resolutely hung the messy, hairy thing from the scraggly crape myrtle in our backyard.
"Where are the birdies?" Rollie asked.
"Sometimes it takes awhile for the birdies to notice something yummy waiting for them."
"How long will it take?"
"Uh...I don't know. Not long."
We went back inside and sat by the window, watching the bird feeder. Waiting. Watching and waiting. No birdies came, and after about two minutes, Rollie lost interest and wanted to play Smash 'Em. I can't say I blamed him.
Two weeks later, and I think I can safely say that no bird is ever going to partake of our lovely bird feeder. Maybe they don't like peanut butter. Or animal fur. Or pine cones. Whatever the reason, this is a good illustration as to why I don't often attempt crafts with my children. It's usually half-assed because a.) my children have short attention-spans, b.) my crafts are usually spur-of-the-moment, and are therefore missing crucial elements (tape, scissors, birds), and c.) the crafts usually end up so crappily made that I throw them away almost immediately after they're finished.
Yet the bird feeder still hangs from the tree out back, because not only do I suck at crafts, but I'm also too lazy to take it down. I'm sure it's making a colony of ants quite happy.