Last Thursday at fifth-grade Open House, my son Matthew showed off his state report on Kentucky. While enjoying the kids’ artwork, I noticed a handful of Big Projects – you know the kind with plywood and styrofoam and plastic trees.
“Um, Matthew,” I say. “Were you supposed to do a Big Project?”
His blue eyes stretch wide. He tucks his lips in.
“Um, yeah. It’s due Tuesday.”
“Tuesday?” I’m calculating – it’s Thursday night. I’m working Friday night, having guests for Saturday dinner, going to a friend’s house Sunday, holiday plans on Monday. Then comes Tuesday.
“I’m going to build Fort Boonesborough in Kentucky. I’m planning it in my head.”
My head hurts. Rewind thirty-odd years. In fourth grade Mrs. Dickey (whom I adored) assigned the Big California Mission Project. I made plans in my head, fabulous plans, but I did nothing. In fifth grade Mrs. Bush (who kind of scared me) assigned the Big US History Project. I made lovely, detailed mental plans. Again, I didn’t turn anything in.
This – this is my punishment. Three children. Six Big Projects. And this is the sixth time it’s been sprung on me close to – or after – the due date. I need Motrin.
Thursday night: Internet search on Fort Boonesborough, convert mental plans to paper plans, notice that pretzel sticks look like tiny logs.
Friday afternoon: buy craft supplies and jumbo bag of pretzels, send desperate Facebook plea for recipe for fake dirt.
Saturday while cleaning and cooking for BBQ: Matthew constructs fort from cardboard and pretzels.
Sunday & Monday: mix sand, paint, and white glue to make glop for ground. Matthew sets in buildings and trees. Trees fall over. Hot glue trees. Burn self with hot glue gun.
Tuesday: Matthew carts project to school. I eat chocolate. And pretzels.
I can’t wait for the seventh-grade Big Cell Model Project. Hmm, pretzels would make great microtubules…