Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Hate Dioramas

The dreaded time has arrived. My son is now in second grade and the time has come for his first school project. Gone are the lazy days of kindergarten and first grade where the most challenging activity that would come home would be a math worksheet. Now we are full-on engulfed in actual learning, complete with spelling words, nightly "silent" reading and the oh-so-inconvenient DIORAMA.

Let me tell you, I HATED doing dioramas when I was in school. I don't know why. It wasn't that I wasn't creative, although I am not the most artistic banana in the bunch. No, there was something else about creating this little scene inside a shoebox that just made me moan and sigh and do all those other things overly dramatic elementary school-aged little girls do when they are given such a tedious task. I would much rather have been given a whole BOOK of math problems or 10 book reports than to have to make a diorama. You see, I was what you would call, a nerd.

So basically, my nerdiness made school really easy for me, so when homework was passed out, I was already doing it in my chair so that it would be completed before the day was even over and in turn, I could jaunt home and enjoy an afternoon of reading "Baby Sitters Club" books or creating elaborate scenes with my "My Little Ponies." But when an assignment was given that had no academic pretense that meant I actually had to DO something at home, I wasn't lovin' it. That meant I had to find a shoebox, make little people to go inside and create a background, which all took away precious "me" time. And of course I wouldn't be happy with it unless it was a masterpiece, a work of art, the BEST DAMN diorama ever to be displayed in a second grade classroom, so it would take me even LONGER. Yeah, I was a bit pretentious. Get over it.

The other thing I hated was when we had to work in partners. UGH! As soon as the teacher uttered those words "Now pick a partner..." I rolled my eyes and sunk down in my chair. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't anti-social, and plenty of kids wanted to partner with me, but I just always preferred working alone. It was much quicker and more efficient when I could just speed through the questions, carefully printing each answer on the lines provided and then sit at my desk "silently reading" for the rest of the time. Having a partner just slowed everything down because you had to actually TALK about the assignment and COME UP WITH IDEAS, blah, blah, blah, so I would usually pick the biggest slacker in the class as my partner and just do the whole assignment myself while he sat there picking his nose or doodling bombs and handguns on his Trapper Keeper.

So basically, now that you know I was a pretentious, perfectionist, isolated nerd, you can see why I am dreading all these projects in my son's future. Because, come on, we know what is going to happen. Because my son is the most UN-pretentious, UN-perfectionist and UN-nerdy kid alive, he is going to want to slap some pokemon figurines in a shoebox with some tape and color "a" tree for the background, and my perfectionist "never settle for less" persona is going to rear its ugly head and take over. Which means, my precious "me" time, again, is going to be spent making little people, creating a backdrop and making sure it looks like a masterpiece. And then it won't be his work, and the teacher will send a note, and I will have to go in and explain the deep neuroses of my childhood to rationalize my intense desire for the perfect diorama, and then the teacher will know exactly how CRAZY I actually am.

So yeah, I hate dioramas.