Polarizing Play-Doh

Reads the news, check Twitter, or turn on the TV and it seems as if our society is divided on everything. Political tensions are at a fever pitch as the idea of bi-partisanship seems like a far off dream.  I am not trying further fracture a fraying nation, but I feel compelled to speak my piece on what apparently is a polarizing topic. A topic, that up until a week ago, didn’t even register as being so divisive. However, these are the times we live in and as I hop up on my soapbox with your full attention, I’d like to say a few words about Play-Doh.

Yes, Play-Doh.

For all of my mothering days, I had assumed that Play-Doh was always there. You’re not sure when it appeared or how it got there, but there it is: locked away in a closet or high up on a shelf completely out of reach until you say it can be played with. It’s something that’s always on hand like Goldfish, Veggie straws, and wine. Or at least I thought so. It wasn’t until I was at Target picking up a Play-Doh set for a birthday gift that I realized not everyone is Play-Doh inclusive. It started out innocently enough when I placed my items on the belt only to discover there was no divider to be found. I set my items back in what I thought was a respectful distance, but the cashier, doing her due diligence, asked the woman in front of me if the Play-Doh set belonged to her. She had a kid in her cart, right around perfect Play-doh playing age, so when she vehemently said, “Oh no, we don’t allow that in my house!” I was shocked and immediately silenced a corny mom joke I had brewing. In case you’re curious what that joke was, I was planning to make a witty comment where I claimed the Play-Doh but suggested her buying it for me if she wanted to. These jokes kill in the Midwest. Not so much on the East Coast where people like to minimize personal interactions.

As we parted ways, the shock of her statement began to lessen as I remembered there are others in my life that have taken a similar stand. And while I may not embrace her same Play-Doh values, I can certainly appreciate her stance on the matter. Truth be told,  I don’t love Play-Doh. Play-Doh, by its very nature, is not for the faint of heart. One does not simply pull Play-Doh out to be played with in a neat and tidy manner. Play-Doh is a completely immersive experience that renders your home looking something like this:

Why so many tiny pieces? Why? Why? Why?

Microscopic pieces of Play-Doh strewn about the floor rolling and smushing into the nooks and crannies of your home. Play-Doh canisters flung carelessly in the midst of artistic passion that need to be retrieved and reunited with their appropriate lids and corresponding color. Various plastic tools discarded with ruthless abandon and no respect.

As if the mess weren’t bad enough, there is the excruciating way that the colors get mixed together. Akin to nails on a chalkboard, watching Olivia combine two, three, and sometimes even four colors of Play-Doh is excruciating to watch. You cannot separate the colors once your kid has Hulk-smashed them into multi-colored pancakes. Cut your losses and have a case of new Play-Doh canisters waiting in your Amazon cart because it’s only a matter of time before all of your Play-Doh is a poop brown or diarrhea green color. Before Christmas we had a nice collection of fecal-colored Play-Doh mixed in with a little hair that had been absorbed from so many repeat falls to the floor. Thankfully, Santa brought a fresh collection of canisters and I’m trying not to crawl out of my skin as I watch our once vibrant rainbow pack of colors bleed into one another in the most putrid colored way.

Make sure you REALLY grind it in there. Yep, that’s it.

So yes, I understand why a person might loathe Play-Doh and ban it from entering their home. However, I am wholeheartedly ride or die Play-Doh. How could I ever deny myself these blissful moments of freedom? AJR never cared for it much but Olivia is into all things messy and artsy and will spend long sessions crafting artisanal Play-Doh meals made from locally sourced ingredients. She presents them to me on a plastic plate and watches with glee as I pretend to eat them. Is there any mess that isn’t worth 30-40 minutes of me not having to entertain her? No. So whipping out the vacuum multiple times a day and plucking dried Play-Doh from our clothing/carpets is the price I have to pay for her happiness and my short-lived freedom.

Yes, I’ll continue to cringe when I watch crisp cans of Play-Doh bite the dust as a bright magenta is irrevocably mixed with a bold blue. And yes, I will huff when I see the complete disaster she’s made of our kitchen table, and floor, and herself, and anywhere else she’s happened to trail Play-Doh. But I am without a doubt, pro-Play-Doh through and through.

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