25 October 2011

Death by Diorama

I was going to write a profound, philosophical post today because lately I've been doing some deep thinking. But I decided to rattle this one off instead, because it combines two of my favorite topics: my complete exasperation with my children, and my shortcomings as a mother.

I had to drive Two back to school to get his lunchbox and planner, because he ran around at lunchtime getting teacher signatures on a permission slip. He didn't make it back to the cafeteria, so his friends grabbed his stuff. He's had the permission slip for two weeks. It was due yesterday. We retrieved his planner, and I explained how it was, indeed, his fault that his planner got left at school. He debated all the way home.

As we walked to the front door, he said, "Hey, do we have any paint?"

"Why do you need paint?"

"I have to make a diorama."

I opened my mouth to speak, but there were no words. I think I may have looked like a robot with a glitch, as I sputtered incomprehensibly.

"When is the diorama due?" I finally asked.


I don't know why this still shocks me. Two is the King of Procrastination. Three is the Prince, and he can use ADHD as an excuse. Two cannot.

"TOMORROW??!!   Fuck you, Two. You suck." Yes. Those are the words that finally bubbled up and out. "I cannot whip up a diorama in an hour."

"You don't have to. Just tell me where I can find a shoebox and some paint. It doesn't even have to be that good. Some guy in class made his out of Play-doh."

Blinking like I was having a seizure, I went to the kitchen and opened my laptop.

"What must your diorama depict?"

"The Siege of Yorktown."

He wanted to whip up a fucking SIEGE in the hour before he had to go back to school for chorale practice.

A Wikipedia search revealed TWO battles at Yorktown.

"Which battle--Revolutionary or Civil War?" I asked.

"Uh...the one in the 1800's?"

He was wrong. It was the one in the Revolutionary War. Or at least I hope so, because we painted a bunch of our World War Two plastic army guys red and blue, to distinguish between the British and the American forces. Sure, the French were there, but they got lumped in with the Americans. I was lucky to find watercolor paint at all, so I limited the number of figures.

We found one slightly bent shoe-box, because I no longer keep diorama supplies on hand. It's usually an elementary school project, so, WTF high school history teacher?  I shoved the box into shape, and we cut up the lid to create "Redoubt Number 10" which was basically a platform, which we then smeared in dirt and grass and surrounded with toothpicks. We perched our Redcoats up there, and glued the blue G.I. Joe/Revolutionary Forces in the grass below. The intent was to show how the Americans defeated the British via stealthy trench-digging. Or, in our case, their superior 1940's firepower. Historically accurate it was not.

All the while I was helping, I was bitching about how Two needs to plan his time. He knew he had to have his permission slip signed; he knew he had a project due.

"Yeah, Mom, it's my project, so just let me do it."

"I'm helping you because I need you to graduate, get into a decent college, AND LEAVE!"

That's the truth, people. I love him, and perhaps I'm coddling. I'm sure I'll miss him when he's gone, but he needs to get out of this house in two years. He can fuck up in college, fail out, go get a job, as long as he doesn't come home. My efforts are focused on getting him through high school and out the door.

To that end, I'm willing to glue toothpicks until my fingers bleed. Because he's killing me.


  1. I'd comment, but I'm still laughing. (It's sympathy laughing. Really.)

  2. Oh I love this. Not in a malicious way, of course. I just enjoy the turn of phrase "their superior 1940s firepower" so very much.

    You are a riot, Megan. And Two is lucky to have a mom willing to help bail his procrastinating ass out at the last minute. Really!

    I'm a procrastinator but I also have this ocd adrenaline thing where I perform miracles in a short time under killing pressure. It sounds like maybe Two needs to cultivate the Fear of Failure a little lol.

  3. *snort* I'm over in the corner snickering in sympathy with Delia. Jeez, love those questions: Mom? Do we have any posterboard? Mom? Do you have a shoebox I can use? Mom? Can we go to Michaels/Staples/whatever this afternoon? BECAUSE IT'S DUE TOMORROW!! I've never actually said fuck you, you suck to one of my kids, but I'm sure those words will in fact leave my lips before they both graduate.

  4. @KarenB: Yeah. It wasn't my best moment. And I'd like to say I'll never utter those words again, but I've got three more kids after him.

    @lora: Currently, I'm moving furniture in almost every room of my house to accomodate my mother and stepfather when they move in tomorrow. I also work well under pressure. Well, my own pressures. Which is why I don't have time for their stupid last-minute projects!

    @Delia: oh, sure, you SAY it's sympathy. Please have a drink for me, because I can't.

  5. The words that come to my mind (as i speak from my comfortable distance) are: Natural Consequences and Live and Let Live, but I think in this case they are mutually exclusive. Love you.

  6. "Or, in our case, their superior 1940's firepower."

    lol lol lol

    I'd say, if he doesn't graduate don't worry cause he'll still have to get himself a fricking job and move out. ...But in this economy, it's maybe not so easy for parents to say: "Get a job bum!" (After telling them Fuck you, you suck, I mean. Go on with your bad self!)

  7. I believe that's called "busywork" usually employed with time to work on it during class while the teacher does something else like grade papers, check email, take a nap, what have you. I know this. I used to be a high school history teacher. Though I never assigned a diorama cause then you have to keep that crap in your room.

    I accidentally dropped the f bomb at the grocery store today, though it was generally directed at the grocery store. Unfortunately Little Man is part mockingbird so when he started to repeat it I had to distract him with a trip down the card aisle where the balloons are. When his dad asks why he says "ffffffalloons", I'm going to pretend as if I don't know.

    I would request a picture of the diorama, but I'm guessing it's not coming in one piece....if at all. Regardless I'm sure it was resplendent in mother-son bonding. :) Outstanding as always!

  8. @Sarah: The "fffflllue" was still drying on the diorama this morning, so I'm just happy it made it to school. All bets are off as to whether it will return. I do wish I'd taken a picture, if only to remind him later of how truly outstanding I am!

    @London Mabel: I live in fear of the new economy, or lack thereof. I know they'll all be home to roost. Unless I move, under cover of darkness. That would be a big fuck you, you suck, wouldn't it?

    And I have to say, folks, that I was tempted to clean up the language, because I want you to like me. But I'm just trying to keep it real. I'm pretty sure Two has already forgotten what I said. Because he forgets everything I say to him.

    @chrysanthe: at this point in time, we're neck and neck to see who survives his teenage years.

  9. Anonymous25.10.11

    WEBS. This made me laugh so much, and speaking for myself, the language just makes me like you more.

  10. Oh, dear, I should probably be more sympathetic but I got to "The seige at Yorktown." and burst out laughing. Honestly, what is wrong with these kids? Do they think we have nothing better to do?

    I'm glad you didn't clean up the language. Any parent knows that feeling of just being DONE. No more. If you so much as breathe in my direction you are dead.

    so at least you're in good company.

  11. Anonymous27.10.11

    Ohgawd how I love you, and can SO relate!
    (Sorry I'm tardy, we are blaming Dan. Not his fault of course, we just are.)

  12. @curiousmisskris: When will he grow up and be lovely, like you?

    @BarbN: Yes. We ended up with a twelve man siege. Thanks for the good company!

    @Julie: I did tell him that the sooner he understood everything was his fault, the happier his life would be. Now, I can tell him to ask Dan...


Thanks for reading! Unlike other Diaries, this one isn't private. Feel free to share your thoughts. Politely, of course.