It’s been a project in patience. A project to demonstrate slow cumulative action, and the drying time of glue.
We started during one of Elma’s increasingly rare nap times. She was asleep in her cot wrapped around her blankie and teddies and Pip, if not actually asleep, was sat quite contentedly in his chair watching his biggest sister and giving her his biggest smiles. We played dominoes, we played snakes and ladders and still there was peace from upstairs. So I asked Kitty what she’d like to do.
“Make a kite!” came back the immediate response.
Well OK then.
We found some giant lolly sticks in the back of the craft cupboard and glued them together in a diamond-ish sort of shape and set them aside to dry. And there they sat on the shelf for a couple of weeks, not exactly forgotten, but certainly overlooked in the bustle and razzmatazz of Christmas. So it wasn’t until the New Year that we came back to the idea of our kites. The next stage was clearly to add our kite paper but a kite just isn’t worthy of the name until it is also glittery (or so I’m told), and so out came the glitter glue and the gold and silver pens and Kitty and Elma coloured and glued and generally made everything sparkly, and then set them aside to dry.
It was only this week that we got around to actually attaching the paper to the frames, sticking on a ribbon as a tail, and adding a bit of string, and then back they went onto the top of the dresser, away from the tiny curious hands that wanted to prod and poke and just see if they were ready.
But finally, finally they were and we set off for our afternoon walk with two small pink kites sticking out of one pocket and the end of a ball of cotton yarn and a pair of scissors in the other (I swear, with everything I carry to the park either stuck in my pockets or draped around my person – including Pip – I must look like the Mummy equivalent of a one man band).
It was a beautiful afternoon, cold but bright and sunny, and the one advantage of our playpark for kite flying is that it’s on the top of a hill so there’s always a breeze. And this is where I’d love to tell you that our little homemade kites took off first go and swooped and soared in that big blue sky while we stood below, gazing up at them in awe and having some sort of quintessentially British conversation, probably about the weather, as if were in a tableaux entitled ‘perfect parenting on a blustery day’ but I’m afraid I’m going to dash your illusions.
Our kites are glittery, they are pink, they are made from kite paper, but they are also made from four giant lolly sticks and the thickest bit of ribbon in the ribbon tin, chosen primarily for its purple and spottiness and not for any aerodynamic considerations.
The best we can say is that they fluttered, rather than flew. The could catch the wind and swirl up on an eddy, only to come crashing down again as it blew past but they were never going to seriously take off, despite Kitty’s very best efforts running up and down the playing field.
I think the most success we had with them was when I held the ends of a fairly short string above my head which somewhat defeats the purpose of making them and bringing them for the girls to play with. So we played instead, Kitty running with all her might and trying to look around at her kite at the same time, while Elma plodded along a little more thoughtfully, trailing her kite in her wake heedless of mud or squelchy puddles in the way.
One of these days I’ll get a proper kite and take Kitty, Elma and Pip up to the playing field on a windy day and it will swoop and soar and do loop the loops and all the fun things you remember from your own smaller kite flying days (hopefully minus the moment when your string breaks and the kite swoops and soars straight into a rough December sea; at last an advantage of being so very inland) and I know that we’ll have a wonderful time, and probably more than a few squabbles about whose turn it is to hold the kite string. But that’s way off in the future, something to save for the older versions of my little ones.
Our time now wasn’t really about making kites that actually flew for more than a millisecond at a time, so much as the making; making something just because it popped up in Kitty’s imagination.
The flying, or lack thereof was just the icing on the cake.