Half term is upon us, well actually it’s nearly over and with it comes the dreaded model project. This will happen to all of you at one point during your parenting journey. Due to the sheer amount of children I have, I have suffered more than most.
Now there are lots of parents out there who love the challenge of creating a scaled down version of a world war 2 scene complete with Anderson shelter, barrage balloon and a vegetable patch. They relish in sewing minute sandbags and creating “glass” for their houses out of cellophane, even buying AstroTurf for the garden. These are the kind of parents who are good at all things crafty. They can knit, sew, crotchet and knock up a papier mache pinata at the drop of a hat. Plus and this is the over riding factor here…..they enjoy it!
I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I am not one of them. Its not that I don’t enjoy it but that I am totally and utterly rubbish at that sort of stuff. In my head its a masterpiece in reality it looks like something you knocked up in twenty seconds after a serious night out and with the mother of all hangovers.
“Get the kids to do it themselves” I hear you cry, “its their homework after all”. Be honest here, how many of you have ever and I mean ever (remember only the truth) let their children complete a project totally on their own, with no help? Not even a teeny suggestion! If you are all being truthful I can tell you the answer is NONE OF YOU!!! We are all guilty of dabbling in our child’s project myself included. We all know that their homework is our homework and that we will be judged as one for the creation that will be presented to the school.
I grew up on a diet of Blue Peter, “here’s one I made earlier” still makes me smile. I owned copydex pots with the brush, sticky back plastic was my middle name and who hasn’t tried to make an advent crown? Two coat hangers, flame proof tinsel and a gaudy bauble at the bottom while candles were placed round this concoction of sparkle and all made under ten minutes. The problem was even then my offerings looked like something well…..abstract to say the least. I probably hold the actual crown for the worst advent crown in Blue Peter history. Fast forward thirty odd years and I’m still as bad, but this time I don’t have the excuse of being seven anymore.
Nowadays with recycling being part of “normal” life you can’t even pretend not to have the materials, we have more plastic bottles, shoe boxes and cereal packets than the local land fill site.
Having made eight world war 2 projects over the years one would think I am a bit of an expert, and I am, I can tell you all the safety features needed to win “most safety features”, and I am proud to say I know the best shampoo bottle to make an Anderson shelter from (tresemme) I’ve even brought brick style wrapping paper to wrap my PG tips house in but, still the finished project is nothing like it was in my head,in my mind its something Lego would be happy to buy the template from me so lucky children can recreate my masterpiece out of bricks. In reality it looks more like something out of a low budget horror movie.
The other major problem is that my children tend to loose interest fifteen minutes in, so your left with half made Plasticine vegetables, unfinished sand bags and half coloured posters. Your the one rooting through the toy box at midnight trying to find the playmobil man that looks vaguely like a soldier (if you squint) while convincing yourself that a blue road will be fine as you forgot to get black poster paint. Your children are sleeping peacefully while your having a near nervous breakdown incase it isn’t dry by the morning. Or that you have forgotten a safety feature (we ALWAYS win that) points mean prizes after all.
Finally the morning arrives its the grand school unveil. You can tell the parents who have gone the extra mile as they turn up with a fork lift truck to carry their still smoking (from the miniature bomb they set off) creation, complete with flashing lights and an actual air raid siren proudly past the staff at the gate, then it takes another fifteen people to carry it upstairs. If the actual model doesn’t need at least three people to carry it, its an epic fail. Models held aloft, flashing,smoking, sirens blaring then….ours, or as the children are mighty quick to point out….MINE! “Just pretend we forgot it” one of mine once said to me after a quick scan of the competition. “At least you made it yourself” I say while eyeing structures that would rival anything in the Tate modern. “That’s the point mum, you wouldn’t let me” they say. Good point I think and maybe I should, leave them to it, let them find their inner creative skill. Its just so hard, plus they do get bored and sometimes its easier to do it yourself.
So doing the model walk of shame (to be honest we are used to it now) my children reluctantly take their still tacky slightly wonky model up to class.
I’m not Tracy Emin, even my unmade bed doesn’t look as good as hers and mine really is unmade. But at least they’ve turned up with something and to be honest you never saw my advent crown anythings an improvement on that!