We are about to celebrate 3 years of our beautiful and hilarious daughter and like most families, intend to mark it with a stressful day of screaming children, unmet expectations and searing expense. Yes. We are having a party. 

I have already landed myself in water far too deep for my short stature and now have to ride the crest of this ridiculous wave. She wants a 'monster truck' themed party so we did what any confused and vulnerable parents would do and looked at pinterest. This scared me even more as the people of pinterest clearly have unlimited budgets and therefore can hire the worlds greatest party planners to co-ordinate little Johnny's 4th birthday party. I was rather hoping my creative side would make up for any budget shortfall but I had not anticipated this. 

Having been told that a bouncy castle could not be installed at our address due to new rules and regulations on hard surfaces, my list of 'things to do at a 3 year old's party' just went back to zero. How was I going to entertain x25 3 year olds?? Pinterest suggested some things but most were ruled out due to crazy expense, a terrible mess that parents would not forgive us for (EVER) and complicated rules and instructions that we couldn't reasonably expect a bunch of 3 year olds to follow or comprehend. Drat. Back to the drawing board. Literally. 

I decided to adapt one of the games to a less complicated version of itself and realised I would need several medium to large boxes  (which I would then have to craft and paint to look like monster trucks but we are not even there yet...!). Luckily a friend takes a fairly regular delivery of some supplies and offered me several medium boxes. Thanks to an overly aggressive cleaning incident, she had just replaced her vacuum cleaner and gave me the box for this too. I took them home and set them out but the child had other plans...

She had already seen herself blasting to the moon in the larger of the boxes and spent most of the day begging me for a rocket ship creation. As the day went on and my patience wore thin, I could see us sitting in the garden, jointly creating this beautiful rocket ship with tin foil, buttons and switches. OK! I agreed. Lets make the rocket ship! Hooray! It was to be such a great thing! 

I got myself into my painting gear and got some of my goache into small glass dishes. I brought it all downstairs and we made a start. But what was this?! Orange paint being splurged directly into green paint? Large brown swirls, dripping down the side of the box?! No No NOOOOO! This was not the control panel that I was thinking of? The circles I was trying to paint were being cris-crossed by blobs of pink and yellow running together. But what did I expect asking a three year old to help me? And wasn't the joy of doing this together, all about us actually enjoying what we were doing? I needed to relax and let go. So I did.

And it was awesome. She had so much fun painting the box. She got to decide what every blob meant to her, after all, It was her control panel and she was going to be the one using it so it should make sense to her and no-one else. It was me who 'helped' and asked for instruction in the end. She told me what she wanted and where. We had great fun painting the 'fire' from the blasters. I hadn't enjoyed painting like this since I was 5. A great big bristly brush that allows almost no control, great big globs of paint, mixing inconsistently and against all colour wheel rules, shapes no one  has ever heard of. It was fabulous. 

I'm not sure how many other parents feel this way when they do a craft with their child, or if its just the creative amongst us that struggle with the 'letting go' and allowing something to be crap, but I would urge everyone to have a go at childsplay every now and again. It frees the soul just messing about and not doing it seriously and the fun that the little one has had with her creation is amazing. I haven't been able to get her out of it all afternoon, which is fine by me,