thebeardediris

Why I Always Help My Kids with Their School Projects

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I have a confession to make: I am the crafty mom whose kids always turn in FABULOUS elementary school projects.

Like this Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus “parade float” book report.

My youngest son made that practically all by himself in first grade. He picked the book; he painted the shoebox; he glued on the wheels; and he drew, colored, and cut out the pigeon with zero assistance from me. I just helped him plan the project, gather the materials, pencil on the bus detail guidelines, spray paint the milk bottle cap wheels, and mix four shades of acrylic paints to achieve the perfect shade of the bus on the book’s cover.

I’m very proud to say I even let him glue the pigeon sitting behind the wheel of the bus, against my better judgment because it clearly demonstrates a lack of reading comprehension, in my humble opinion. But hey—it was HIS project! He was free to do what he wanted to do!

And he obviously sided with that rebellious pigeon, for some reason.

(Personally, I agreed with the author, Mo Willems, that there is no way a pigeon should be allowed to drive a bus . . . ever! But again, it wasn’t my project.)

Yes, I know. I am universally despised by all the moms whose kids’ projects look like they were actually done by kids . . . or farm animals with hooves instead of hands, as it would appear in some cases. (I mean really, Claudine. . . does Tyler not know how to use scissors yet? That last diorama looked like he made it with his feet, bless his heart.)

But before you judge me, you need to know that my kids ALWAYS do their own projects, I just help.

Because I care.

And I want my children to know that they are loved and supported. (Unlike Claudine’s children, who clearly eat too many processed foods and play with scissors apps on their iThingies instead of using real scissors, I bet.)

Look, I can’t help it that my kids are so artistic and creative. It’s a side effect of being raised by a mom who always has at least one craft project going . . . and very few opportunities to leave the house, but that’s neither here nor there.

My children can sew, draw, paint, crochet, and use a variety of industrial power tools.

And it’s not their fault that I could probably be classified as a borderline hoarder who just so happens to have enough shoeboxes on hand at any time to construct an elaborate cardboard box city . . . complete with tiled roofs made from milk bottle caps and hot glue.

Hell, I’m not ashamed to tell you: I own 12 shades of glitter and a professional Dremel drill set that can be used on everything from carving pumpkins to trimming my dog’s nails.

WE ARE CRAFTY, DAMMIT, AND WE WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR IT.

Now, to be fair, I will admit that Claudine’s house is 100 percent cleaner than mine. I suppose I could spend more time on housework and less time collecting shoeboxes and engraving intricate scrimshaw designs onto my dog’s nails, but the heart wants what it wants. What can I say?

And besides, I do it for the children. Isn’t that what really matters?

Sure, I do have some concerns that my kids may not be able to create such fabulous projects on their own when they leave home, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. And hopefully, with enough encouragement, they’ll all choose to stay close to home so I can always show their professors and future employers that my children come from good parents . . . good parents who are not at all compensating for their own brokenness . . . brokenness which may or may not have been caused by working parents who NEVER, EVER, HELPED WITH A SINGLE DAMN ONE OF MY SCHOOL PROJECTS.

Now if you’ll excuse me, my middle-schooler needs to make a family tree for her social studies class and I’ve got to go fire up the lathe in the garage.

Photo: Getty