Beading-Induced Anxiety

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I really hate beading with kids. Well let me clarify, I don’t actually despise the act of stringing beads on a little rope in strategic patterns to make cute jewelry- that portion of the activity I like just as much as the next person. And spending time with kids is my idea of a perfect day- no problems there. The part that really stresses me out is being in charge of beading. The kids spend so much time on their creations, methodically selecting beads with their tiny fingers and painstakingly stringing them on the thin elastic rope until they declare it to be perfect and that is when things get tricky. When you are in charge of beading you are in charge of tying the thin elastic sting together to complete their bracelet or necklace and I have a history of screwing this part up.

My mom recently sent me some beading kits for the kiddos at the orphanage to make bracelets and while they were thrilled with the project I had a secret sense of dread from the moment the first bead went up a child’s nose. The process of extracting beads (and scissors and string and whatever else they get their hands on) from noses and mouths isn’t that bad, but if you want to see me sweat then have an adorable child bring me their necklace to tie. They always come to me with a look of complete innocence and trust as they hand over their masterpiece, putting complete faith in me that I can manage to not reverse all of their hard work in seconds. The first time I helped with beading at the orphanage I really sucked it up. I spent a majority of the time helping kids pick up their beads that scattered across the floor when I dropped their string of beads in my pathetic attempts to get the knot tied correctly.

This time I was determined to be more successful but they didn’t make it easy. The kits were supposed to be for bracelets but the combination of elastic string and their tiny necks meant they spent 30-minutes convincing me that it was possible to make a necklace. Jemy was the first to finish and handed me her string, completely full since she had used all of her beads plus some she secretly confiscated from her neighbor’s pile. This left me with a few precious millimeters of string to tie into a knot that would hopefully survive at least the rest of the day. If you ever want to feel like you have fat and uncoordinated fingers than I suggest participating in this activity- super fun. This time I was much better and although it sometimes took me a while I got them all tied and we only had one mishap. Kezia was transferring the string from her hands to mine and we may have lost a few beads but it turned out to be a necessary reduction in order to actually get the necklace tied up so it all worked out in the end.

The day ended with lots of completed necklaces and bracelets and although I love seeing the kids so happy I think next week my vote will be for a game of volleyball or reading books- I need a break from beading to gear up for next time! 🙂

ps- Zach really loved the activity so don’t let his pouty little face cause you to believe he was forced against his will to make that necklace!

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