And so it came to pass.
About the same time I drank the Pinterest Koolaid, our awesome sitter brought over an empty plastic mayo jar one day because she really wanted to make a calm jar (aka Glitter Jar aka Time Out Jar aka WTH Were You Thinking?! Jar) with Bear. Then she came down really sick and wasn't able to come for over a week, and Bear didn't want to wait.
Because I'm the kind of person who has things like glitter glue and glycerine lying around - and by "lying around" I mean "in clearly labeled matching totes" - Bear knew that I knew that we could make it any time.
What do you mean why do I have that stuff? Because... um... in case the zombie apocalypse comes and we need to, uuuuum, make motivational posters! And global warming dried out the gel frosting tint and we need artfully decorated cupcakes to distract them from our brains! You know - reasons.
Anyway. I had the stuff and a small child bugging me to doooo eeeeet. Because it would totally help him be calm and don't I want him to be calm so let's make the jar because then we'll all be calm and it will be awesome.
I know. I can hear you laughing at me. SHUT UP. I know.
It was late winter. I was delirious with cabin fever.
There are a gazillion bloggers out there who write about this project in an adorably earnest way. They talk about color schemes for the glitter and calibrate the viscosity of the jars to optimize settling time. These are the same bloggers who photograph their children holding the
If that's what you're hoping to find here, I cordially invite you to visit Pinterest and seek out a different kind of mommy. This is more of a cautionary tale.
Shall we begin?
First, get out all the stuff. Once the glitter starts flying around, you don't want to turn your back on the kid.
There are a number of variations on the ingredients across the interwebz. I know. I read them all. This is what I settled on:
Clean lidded jar
Really strong glue
I can't stress the last one one enough - one blogger recommends E6000 (a kind of super glue), another says she glue gunned it. I wish I'd tried either of those.
I was trying to get some sensory work out of this, so I let him squeeze the glitter glue.
Stirring between each step is optional, though I think it's a good idea. I did it partly to gauge how much glitter I was going to let him unleash and partly because he just really likes to mix stuff.
Food coloring: as always, a little goes a long way.
This is what it looks like after you dump in the regular glitter - it just floats there. That's where a few drops of dish soap come in. It breaks the surface tension and lets the glitter sink into the water.
I took this picture mainly to show what the glycerine looked like in case you're looking for it. Craft bloggers would have you believe it's easy to find in great big bottles. I tried to 4 stores with no luck. I finally broke down and used the 2oz bottle I keep with my cake decorating supplies.
I took this picture to show how much glitter gets out even when you're really, really trying not to make a mess. And in case you were curious - yes, my child did just discover the fine art of photo bombing. And like any 5 year old boy with anything annoying, he thinks it's awesome!
The finished product. You can get a sense of how much color you might want to put into the water.
I do think coordinating the water color and glitter color is a good idea.
This is why you use glitter glue and glycerine - the increased viscosity creates cool patterns.
I really debated what kind of glue to seal the lid with. I had not yet discovered E6000 and after accidentally melting another plastic craft project I wasn't sure a glue gun was the right call. I decided to try Elmer's. I figured if I could still open the lid in a day or two, I'd seek out a stronger alternative.
Cut to the next day. That's right, I said the next goddamn day. Because in Bear's world, sometimes you've gotta resort to calculating the life span of objects in hours.
I heard a noise. I went to look. We played the "what happened" game. I figured he had been frustrated or angry, hence the chucking of the jar. He said no. I started naming emotions (#YouMightBeAnAutismParentIf!) - he was thrilled to inform me that the emotion he'd been feeling was curiosity! As in: I am curious how Mommy will react if I fling this as hard as I can!
If you ask him, he will gleefully re-enact the jar's flight pattern and show you where it hit, where the lid popped off, the trajectory of each bounce and where it finally landed.
I put him in the time out chair, which happens to overlook the spill. I walked into the next room to count to ten and take deep breaths and all that jazz. While I calmed down, Bear kept up a lively status report regarding the actions of his 13 month old brother. Highlights included:
- Mooommmyyy! Dude is walking in the glitteeeeerrrr!
- Moooommmmyyy! Dude is eating the glittteeerrrrrr!
- Moommmmyyyy! Dude is making glitter footprints all down the haaaaaallll!
It's been 6 months. I'm still finding glitter.
In case you're wondering about stain removal, of course I tried all the things. Yes, that one. And that one. That one, too.
Eventually, we named the stain Where The Zombie Died. I put a throw rug on it.