Showing posts with label school projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label school projects. Show all posts

I Blame Mommy's Martini for My Splinters

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Two weeks ago I helped my son with his first school report. Why first graders need to do reports is beyond me, but I decided to take the opportunity to show him how to do research and write a rough draft. The topic was animals. The students could choose whatever animal they wished and answer questions like, "does your animal migrate?" and "where does your animal live?" For whatever reason Drama Kid chose penguins.

My crazy busy week kept me from taking him to the library to look up reference books so we took the easy way out and printed information from Google searches. Another part of the assignment was to draw pictures of the animal and bring in other pictures of the animal. Not having any Penguin Weekly's lying around I decided to do a craft project (stop laughing!).

Naturally, I turned to my internet luvah and sent a Tweet asking if anyone could think of a project I could do with penguins. I got several good suggestions. Mommy's Martini suggested I put feet and wings on a blown out egg. Since I don't even eat eggs there was no way I was going to put my mouth on a raw one. But, I did like the idea of going three dimensional. When I picked the kid up from school we headed to crafters hell (also known as Michaels) in search of something we could make into a penguin. My thought was to find the styrofoam egg shapes, add penguin parts and googly eyes and call it a day.

But then, my competitive nature and good study habits took over and the word diorama neon flashed in my brain and we had to find just the right thing to make the penguin out of. I started to picture a painted backdrop, cotton for snow and a cute little penguin front and center.

What fun this would be! I'd help the kid with his first school project and we'd bond and have fun over a converted shoebox. Oh how quickly that dream turned into a nightmare!

First, let me say to Michaels: It seems kinda obvious to me that the early evening hours, the ones right after school where kids are telling their parents about the big projects they have due? Would be the appropriate time to have more than four people on staff. And what's up with the missing apostrophe?

After helping another parent find the stencils, I practically tackled a guy and begged him to help me flesh out my idea. He was an angel! He walked all over the aisles with us pointing out various diorama makings and offering suggestions. Which we didn't take, but it was still very nice of him to take the time.

It was Drama Kid who happened to find the main component for the diorama. We went to to discount aisle (foam egg shapes are $3.50 a piece!) and found puzzles made from thin wood. I told him to get searching and he dug through the bins and found the penguin set.

The puzzle made two penguins, an adult and a baby, and when put together would be three dimensional. The wood could be painted (yeah, right) or colored with markers. The picture looked simple enough and for $2 the price was exactly right. After an hour in Crafters Hell we were ready to go.

We get home a little after 6:00, I assemble the shoe box, paint and cotton balls, start dinner and open the puzzle to read the directions. And realize I'm totally screwed. What looked so simple from the picture turned out to be a project for someone with an engineering degree.

The directions were a joke, the pieces left wood shavings all over and I had to sand some down to keep from getting splinters.

Fast forward two hours and a few frustrated Tweets and it's time to get the kid in bed and the stupid penguin is only half put together. I'm totally ready to give up, but then we'd not be completing the assignment and the nerd in me just couldn't do it. Hubby did help me with the last few pieces (there was one left over) and the damn thing was finished long after the kid had fallen asleep.

Before I had a kid, I said I didn't want to be one of 'those' parents who did their kids' entire homework projects for them. Fail! But, it wasn't Drama Kid's fault that his mommy had such lofty ideas with no skills to back them up! And he did the painting, cutting and gluing.

The next day I walked him to class carrying his backpack so he could carry his project himself. He told me at pick up that he was the only one who did something like that and I could tell he was so proud. I would gladly suffer more splinters to see that look on his face again.
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