Mothers are creatures with strange fetishes; they creep across the dark dungeons of “expected milestones” and do the dark deeds of comparing them with their progeny. If they exceed expectation, all’s well. If they do not, they immediately swerve down the guilt-wrecked road till the milestone has been hit.
The cycle continues with every popular infant-based newsletter that ends up in their inbox.
Picture an agitated, wild haired mother surrounded by different brands of play dough, coaxing a very reluctant 9 month old to dabble in the complex art of play dough model creation. The mother fears the day she would have to make something more sophisticated than a ball (and tiny balls) or hastily rolled out geometric shapes as she never stepped into the said realm and was actually clueless about how such magical creations came about.
When the child refuses to do anything but throw the lump of (kind of expensive) dough, the hassled brain of the mother immediately points towards sensory issues.
Could my child have a sensory problem?
Or could it be something more sinister?
Was this what the anti-vaccination squad warned me of?
Or maybe she hurt her fingers when I held them too tight by accident?
This must be my fault.
Was this because of the cold mocha I gulped down the day before she was born, despite the refusal of the sweet barista to serve coffee to a pregnant woman (this was the one and only cup of caffeine I had in my entire pregnancy!)?
After many sleepless nights coupled with weary mornings filled with some subtle and downright tricky methods of getting the child to play with play dough (failed methods, obviously), the mother eventually gives up.
Then one afternoon, after receiving THE handbook on being a domestic goddess from the best aunt in the world, the mother decides to make bread. Being too lazy to set up the Kitchen Aid (also belongs to said aunt; some may call it stealing but she calls it safe-keeping), sleeves were rolled up and the kneading began. Since this was before the era of 2 under 3 years, the level of anxiety when attempting some actual cooking was quite low. As the mother’s height prevented her from using the kitchen counter to knead, she decided to sit on the floor with a bowl of flour.
The patter of tiny footsteps later, a tiny fist bumps a piece of dough. With bated breath, the mother hands the child a ball of dough. The child squashes it. Eureka!
The child just did not like the texture of store-bought play dough!
The joy was short lived due to a failed and extremely oily attempt at making play dough. After sifting through a dozen or so recipes and reading up on the science behind it, the mother came up with the following fool-proof recipe meant for mothers with short-lived patience and extra-large ambitions.
This play dough lasts up to 3 months if stored well in airtight containers; it also survives uncovered nights behind the couch and sometimes, under the pillow of the mother. It does develop a salty crust once in awhile; a good kneading is all it requires.
Homemade Play dough
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp cream of tartar
- ½ cup salt
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- Food colouring
Use a whisk to combine all the dry ingredients in a heavy-bottom pan. Add the water, oil and cook on medium heat. Stir constantly till the mix resembles mashed potatoes. Take it off the heat and add in the vanilla. Give it a good stir. Do not be alarmed and start the cussing if the dough is still quite sticky.
Tip the contents on to a clean counter space, add in the colouring and knead till cool. You could split the dough into portions and colour each one differently too.
You would be kneading quite warm dough and it would be best not to let the kids get involved in the making process. My asbestos hands do not mind the heat but do be careful.
Once the yummy scented play dough is cool, you can pop it into airtight containers or use large zip lock bags like I did; just make sure to get all the air out before sealing.
Enjoy and do comment with results, if you do try it!