Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Recreate the Mona Lisa? In pasta? Bring it on!

School projects! They really annoy me. This week I am on a quest to get hold of a restaurant order pad for Flora. Living in a smallish town, the likelihood is that every restaurant you go to has been inundated with children and parents after a pad. So I have decided to branch out - to Luton!

Of course I will do my best for my little darling but I do find some of these school projects intensely irritating. They come home with an edict from school that they must, over the weekend, create the Hanging Gardens of Babylon out of spaghetti and a tube of Pritt or a recreation of the Ten Commandments hewn in Aramaic on cardboard aged to look like real stones.

And we rise to every challenge despite the irritation as we want our kids to do well. Sara has made a Roman head with a very impressive armature supporting the papier mache structure, I spent hours with Patrick and my artistic cousin Helen making an amazing Day of the Dead Altar and we also made a pretty impressive Roman scroll written in your actual Latin and aged by steeping it in tea and holding it over a gas flame (don't try this at home children, oh hang on we are at home). Another friend stayed up all night making a medieval costume out of old sheets and I once put together a 1980s Desperately Seeking Susan look in ten minutes flat.

The truth is that often these projects are the culmination of the parents' efforts and we're often more excited than the kids when we find out what grade we've achieved. Equally there is nothing more galling than getting a bad mark as I know from the 'clarinet' I spent ages crafting from a couple of stuck together kitchen towel tubes painted dark brown and some sticky silver paper cunningly worked with the scissors to look something like the keys. I cannot tell you how cross I was when Patrick returned from school to say the teacher said it didn't look realistic enough. Of course it fucking didn't! It's not a real clarinet! What did they expect, a Stradivarius violin made out of two shoe boxes and a ball of string?

The annoying thing is I know that tomorrow I'll be trudging to Pizza Express in Luton to ask for one of those pads despite all the moaning and if I can't get one no doubt I'll be making one out of newspaper and a rubber band. It's my duty.

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