Monday, August 26, 2013

Behind Every School Project . . .

It wasn't the 4th day of school, when Aiden told me he had not one, but two projects already assigned. I thought he was joking, just to get to me, but no. His teachers are piling it on. He got his science project done last week, but there was this history one left to tackle.

My assignment: Buy sugar cubes.

His assignment: Say no to every single social invitation on Saturday and get to work! (very hard for Aiden. He's a friendly guy, and he'd rather be biking, running, throwing, climbing, or doing crazy stunts and giving me a heart attack.)

So, on Saturday, he set up a work station in the family room right after breakfast, and there he stayed for about 7 hours. Glueing sugar cubes together with hot glue. (Did you know Aiden has a temper? If you'd ever like to witness it, ask him to glue together 246 sugar cubes with a hot glue gun. Then stand back.) Well, he finally got it together. And I kept the movies playing on the screen in front of him.

Of course, since Aiden was doing a project, Conor felt inspired, so there went another room in the house. Conor set up shop in the dining room. And made a whole lot of nothing. He lost interest in his diorama, though he was beautifully organized for creativity.

And then when Aiden started painting the sugar cube pyramids, inspiration once again struck Conor. His main challenge was how to create brown from the other colors he had. And then he realized how hard it is to paint one's name with a paintbrush. He left this on Lyndsay's bed for her to find when she got home from work. Oh, and then the cup full of paint water got dumped all over the carpet, so that was fun.

Aiden's project is supposed to be about a travel destination he'd like to visit. Obviously, he picked Egypt, which kind of surprised me, but I think he was going for practicality of construction. (I suggested Stonehenge.) It looks simple enough, but this thing took him hours and hours. It's been in various stages of drying for the past three days. Today I got a text message asking if I could go buy palm trees. This was the best I could find on short notice, at the pet store. Tonight he finished up the visual part of the project. Not without a fight, though. The Great Sphinx he made out of clay took several days to dry. He didn't even want to do the Sphinx, but I thought it would be a nice touch, and once he decided to give it a go, he did a good job. The problem was, he constructed it in pieces which he attached together and as the clay finally dried (today while he was at school) pieces started falling off. He was not a happy camper when he got home, though I'd warned him on the phone first with a very encouraging, "We'll just Gorilla Glue it back together, no problem."

Well, there must have been a problem, because during a piano lesson this afternoon, I heard a loud thump and I knew the Sphinx had just hit the trash. (The temper, again, you see.) And broken into even more pieces. Which made me mad. So, after my lesson, I fished out all the pieces from the trash and set to glueing them back together myself. I know that hot-headed boy of mine. I knew that the second he tossed it, he regretted it.

Once the glue was dry (and now the pieces just give it a more authentic look. Right?) he painted it and glued it down into the diorama. And then he thanked me and told me he was sorry he'd thrown it away right after he'd done it. See?

Finally, a happy, relieved boy. He makes me smile. Behind every picture of a kid with a finished project, is a Story. With a capital S. Ask any mom.

Now he begins the work on the written portion. Help us all.

Thankfully, Conor was assigned a project also. Today. Due tomorrow. Which I found out about at 6:40pm. Oh well, it was easy and Conor did most of it himself. I just had to print out a picture for him. His project is an About Me Bag. (Not like a pirate talking there.)

He decorated it with stickers and his favorite words.

Inside, he was to put three items that tell about himself. Only three. He chose a Lego Ninjago guy. Because he loves Legos.

His favorite Wii game.

And a picture of the dead bunny. Well, not a picture of the dead bunny, but a picture of Chadwick, our bunny who died two years ago.

I probed to see if this was the best choice of items for his bag. I said things like, "Well, what about a picture of our family? You only get three things." Or, "We have a cat that's still alive, you know." But no. He said it was very important to him that it be a picture of Chadwick. He misses the bunny so much. Still prays for him to "have fun in heaven" every night.

Tomorrow Conor has to present his project to the class. He made us all practice with him, telling us exactly what to say and how to react. ("I appear out of nowhere and go to the front and say, 'Hi, I'm Conor,' and you say, all together, 'Hi, Conor!' But do it serious, not like you're goofing off." N.A. Meeting. Got it. He went through his whole presentation, item by item, very soberly. And then we clapped when instructed.

He'll be just fine. My house, on the other hand, might take a while. But that's okay. Because little do they realize that while they work on their projects, I'm loving the work I get to do on mine:

Raising them.

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