Monday, April 12, 2010

Really, Let Me Help You

(Here's the deal: Over the weekend, Zach had to complete a 300-point science project. This project consisted of a tri-fold display, a rough draft and final draft of a paper that ended up being 24-pages long, was required to contain several key points of information and the results of an experiment related to his topic. He also needs to do a presentation of his project to the class, just in case they aren't able to read the paper or the information hanging on the tri-fold display. I also found out yesterday that there were a few out-of-the-ordinary items that needed to be sent to school with Charlie by, of course, today and Zoe, since she's almost six, decided it was okay to acquire the attitude of a 14-year-old-girl. Oh, and at 10:30 last night I was "helping" Zach color some hand-drawn dinosaurs with colored by pencils for a different science assignment/project, also due today. And I maybe drank just a little bit in an attempt to numb my pain, which would explain the interesting color-combinations that the ankylosaurus now has.


I've decided to spare you the lovely details and specifics of the project drama that included piece-of-shit Hewlett Packard printers, frustration and general crankiness, and am instead re-posting a different but relevant blog entry from November 3, 2009. The items needed for school and the science project being completed are different, but are really the same, since it's all pretty much a pain in the ass.)

Really, Let Me Help You (originally posted 11/3/09).

I could say that I thoroughly enjoy spending quality time with my kids while helping them with school projects, watching their minds grow as they grasp new concepts, and patiently helping them assemble the final product, but that would be a lie. I know there are moms out there that always have an arsenal of toilet paper tubes, dowels, glitter, poster board, and styrofoam in every imaginable shape and size, eagerly waiting for the next project information sheet to come home and really, good for them. But I also know some moms that can't get through a poster or a marble run without tears, a couple snide remarks, and at least once saying "Fine. Make the thing yourself." I love these women.

Enough projects have come through my door this year to make me think that it's all a big prank and there is a hidden camera somewhere, documenting the drama. It started even before school began, with Zoe bringing home a giant sheet of brown paper from the kindergarten open house. After tracing her body, and with the assistance of her family, she was supposed to make a replica of herself. Doug's participation consisted of walking by and saying "Wow. It's really coming along." Charlie sat nearby and praised my cutting skills, and Zach approved the final results. Zoe drew her facial features and helped glue things on to her paper self. I admit that I pretty much did everything else, including making a construction paper replica of her Babolat tennis racquet.

Since that project has been turned in, I have dealt with making a diorama of the book "Ender's Game," a skit about the solar system, a large number of boys in my home to practice said skit, a pop can constellation model, a poster board turkey that needs feathers, buttons, "or whatever other crafty items are in your house," and yesterday Charlie informed me that he needs a jiggeh, coin pouch, pots, and a brown tattered tunic.

Since I had just thrown out my last tattered tunic, I headed to JoAnn Crafts to buy some brown flannel. And did you know that "jiggeh" is Korean for "basket?" Seriously, how was I supposed to know? After I checked Charlie off of my list of project punishments, I rinsed out an uncrushed pop can for Zach's constellation, and that's where the fun really begins.

I'd like to be able to say that he was very receptive to my suggestions and grateful for my assistance and willingness to work with felt, but again, that would be a lie. The cumulative number of eye rolls and exasperated sighs that took place in our kitchen last night should pretty much fill the quota until at least the end of next week.

Zach started the project by randomly taping some pictures onto the bare can, using pieces of Scotch tape that were, in my opinion, unnecessarily large.

"I really think that you should glue a piece of construction paper onto the can first, instead of later. It might look better that way." I was pretty proud of myself for saying this, instead of what I was thinking, which was "No way in hell can you turn that in looking like that if you want more than 5 points."

"Really, don't worry about it. I have it under control" he said, surveying his progress.

After a couple minutes of silence, he ended up deciding to remove the pictures and take my suggestion, but instead of paper, he wanted felt. At this point, he might as well have said "Hey mom. Let's rip off all of your fingernails, glue them onto the can, and I'll turn that in as my project." I hate working with felt because the little fibers get everywhere, and the only way to get felt to stick to things is to use a hot glue gun. So since I don't have a glue gun, I guess you're just going to have to use construction paper, because only loser moms have a...oh, what's this? How in the hell did I ever end up owning a glue gun?

After I picked myself up off of the floor, we proceeded to simultaneously bitch at each other while assembling the can o' fun. When he mentioned that he wanted some yellow streaks down the sides of the felt, I rummaged around and found some puffy fabric paint. After showing him how to use it by drawing perfectly even zig-zag lines on a scrap piece of felt, he took control of the paint pen and proceeded to drop uneven globs and streaks onto his can.

"Why does yours look like that and mine looks like crap?" he complained.

"Because I took a fabric paint class today while at JoAnn shopping for a tunic." He didn't seem to appreciate this answer very much.

"Honestly, like the glue gun, I don't even know how this fabric paint ended up in my possession. I guess I just have a natural talent." He wasn't very happy with this answer either, and he seemed to be enjoying my sarcasm as much as he was enjoying my help.

Believe it or not, the constellation can is finished on time and headed to junior high, the jiggeh/tunic/coin pouch/pots are at the elementary school, and now all that's left is a turkey in need of decoration. Since the instruction sheet specifically says that this should be a family project, I think I'll help Zoe cover it in beer bottle tops, used lime wedges, and some smudges of salsa for extra color. But I'll let her color the facial features all by herself.

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