Sunday, 8 March 2015

An open letter to the publishers of the Mister Maker Mini Makes book

To the publishers of the Mister Maker Mini Makes book,

I recently purchased your mini makes book whilst at my local supermarket.  I had a very happy little girl with me, and I wanted to reward her for her usual sunny nature. Your book seemed to be the perfect gift, as it would keep my daughter, with her endless energy and ability to jump constantly for hours at a time, quiet, and focused.



When we finally opened the book (two weeks after we purchased it, because you can't rush these things) I discovered there was a model of Tocky's house within the book, complete with instructions on how to build this recreation of the most annoying character in the whole of the Mister Maker show. (Even the shapes aren't as irritating, and they bug the hell out of me.) My daughter and I both got very excited about the prospect of building the cuckoo house together, me because I love an excuse to get crafty with my little girl, and her because when you're three, even the simplest things in life are amazing. This is a little girl who expects a parade every time she picks her own nose, so the excitement in making a house was almost too much for her to bear. But I digress.

We started building your aforementioned model house, following the instructions carefully (because I'm just that kind of person), but it didn't take long for me to notice you had skipped quite a few steps

The offending instructions

Now I note that the instructions for building this house already have 16 steps, so I'm going to assume you skipped what you thought were some of the less vital steps in order to make this project seem simpler than it really was, and all I can say is shame on you. 

Lucky for you I am such a kind and giving person, so I have decided to amend your instructions, in order to reflect the true experience that people will have when trying to build the cuckoo house from hell. Please feel free to re-publish your book with these amended instructions, I'm sure we can come up with an arrangement for the royalties you will owe me for using my ideas. For the purposes of ease of use, I decided at the last minute not to include purchase this book as the first step of my instructions, and instead work under the assumption that people have already purchased this book before starting this project.  If my error results in an increase in this book being shoplifted because I did not specify that you must first purchase this book before undertaking in any activities in it, I am happy to do another edit.

1. Spend several years honing your paper crafting skills. It is advisable to go and meet the tibetan paper crafters for this purpose, as they have truly mastered the art of folding along the score line.
2. Optimistically start pressing out all the pre-punched dies. Curse when you tear the first one, then promise yourself you'll be more careful when you press out the second one. Fail at this. Promise the child sitting next to you that it's meant to look like that.
3. Fold in all the tabs on all the punched out shapes. Then realise you have folded them the wrong way and re-fold in the opposite way. Curse when you fold your score lines crooked in your haste to fix your original mistake. 
4. Realise you need glue to complete this project and spend the next ten minutes tearing the house apart trying to find one of the million glue sticks you have purchased over the past four years, because every time you decide to do an arty project with your child you inexplicably think you need a new glue stick just for this project.
5. Once you have found a glue stick get your child to spread glue on all the tabs.
6. Go back and reapply glue to all the tabs because you keep forgetting how bad your child is at applying glue.
7. Assemble all the pieces together carefully, restarting several times because you managed to glue your fingers while gluing the tabs, as a result of which you are now stickier than the paper you are trying to stick together, and you keep pulling everything apart everytime you move your hands.
8. Reapply the glue because all of this doing and undoing has made the glue dry whilst the pieces are apart. Curse yourself for ever thinking this was a good idea.
9. Stick all the pieces together, cursing when you stick something on crooked and tear it while trying to pull it apart to re-stick it. 
10. Turn to the book to try to read the next instruction then curse when you come back to your model and realise it has all fallen apart in the three seconds while your back was turned.
11. Stick the pieces together for the seventeenth time.
12. Give your newly assembled house a pep talk explaining that you expect it to stay stuck together this time. Watch in horror as it laughs in your face and proceeds to fall apart again.
13. Try not to lose your temper at your child, who is quickly losing interest in your fun crafty together time project and just wants to eat a chocolate biscuit now. Explain to them that you two are having fun right now and they don't need any more junk food.
14. Grit your teeth and press the flimsy pieces of card together one more time, Curse as you accidentally crease the whole thing because you forgot you are dealing with paper and not the throats of the publishers who thought this was an appropriate project for a child's activity book.
15. Admit defeat and ask your child to grab you a roll of sticky tape 
16. Start madly applying tape on every single surface of the mangled model. Ignore the fact that it now looks exactly like it would have if you'd left your three year old to do it on their own. 
17. Hand it to your child and suggest they decorate it with stickers. Stickers fix everything.
18. Remember your child has the attention span of a gold fish when they declare after putting two stickers on that they are finished. Also realise stickers don't fix everything.
19. Resolve to never speak of the incident again. Also resolve to stop buying pointless activities from evil corporations who are trying to drive a wedge between you and your child, and start putting that money into a fund for the inevitable therapy bills your child will need if they are to spend the next ten years "enjoying" these projects with you.
20. Go pour yourself a stiff drink. It's what you should have done in the first place.




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