Amanda Hopper Writes

A writer's tale of living and working in the country.

Glue Gun Woes

No one told me that there would be crafts involved in parenting. If I had known, I may not have signed up.
Just Kidding.
With three kids comes three times the need for creativity. Unfortunately, the extent of my artistic ability lies at the end of a hot glue gun.
With every holiday that rolls around, it seems that the schools are trying to punish me for leaving my kids with them everyday. Valentine’s Day requirements this year called for 40 valentine notes, a jar of cherries, a unique valentines’ box and… a child dressed as a character from a fairy tale.
Super cute idea if you have girls that can wear store-made princess outfits. Not so cool if you have boys who politely refuse to wear tights.
Youngest accepted Grandma’s idea of dressing as Rumpelstiltskin for the day and we brainstormed costume ideas. The beard proved a dilemma, but I purchased a white felt square and cut it into a long triangle before hot-gluing fifty cotton balls and a piece of elastic to the surface. Soon, a tiny old man stood before me in jeans, beard, rumpled hat and walking stick looking like he could most definitely spin straw into gold.

The teacher loved the big stick *wink*.

Then I picked up the class paper and re-read the instructions from the teacher.
“Costume and story to read to the class.”
Um, what? My child is six and has not yet reached his best reading potential. So the 20-page, beautifully illustrated, fairy tale in front of me was not going to work. I stared at the panic on the sweet face under the bushel of cotton balls and thought, I’m a writer, I can adapt it!
I spent the next hour re-writing Rumpelstiltskin into sight words and short sentences so my little guy wouldn’t be embarrassed in front of the whole class. As soon as I finished, Middle Son stood before me with a sheet of red paper in his hand.
“Oh no, not you too.”
He nodded.
“What do they want?”
A big smile spread across his face. “A decorated box to hold my valentines.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. Some markers and construction paper, done.
“One kid last year did a life-sized model of Sponge Bob!”
I closed my eyes. “What do you want to make?”
“I don’t know, but there’s a contest to see who’s is the best.”
You mean to see who’s parent is the best. Ugg.
I looked around the kitchen and saw a mostly empty cylinder of oats. “What about Cat in the Hat?”
“Yeah! And you can write a story around the outside of it.”
I gave a half-hearted fist-pump and plugged in the hot glue gun. Middle Son cut, I glued, and two hours later we had a red and white stove-pipe hat atop a box sporting a love story that stared a road-weary heart.
It was a pretty cool creation, but we lost to a furry cat complete with motorized tail, a metallic monster that ate valentines, and a plane with a working propeller.
The mom in me gently told Middle Son that it was the time and effort that counted, even while the competitor inside my head secretly plotted next year’s winning box.

Cute but totally amateur next to the motorized cat.

*So when you ask me if I have been writing lately and I roll my eyes, you now know that:
1.) yes I am writing almost everyday
2.) no I will not be ready for agent-hunting for quite some time…unless they want a first grade adaptation of Rumpelstiltskin🙂


  1. I would have been happy to help if I weren't deeply involved in my quest to come up with a solution for N's desire to have a My Little Pony Valentine box. The Scooby Doo Mystery Machine that (while she was in Kinder) she promised she would love to use for 1st grade too just wasn't in her realm of good enough this year. So I caved and we created a flower cart and plastered a MLP pal on

    • I bet it was awesome though! You are so talented! I literally can only glue and cut. Grant had a diorama of the Great Plains due recently and it took two days to get the adhesive and fake moss off my fingers…<br />

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