So Child Two came home on Friday and made an announcement which nearly caused me to vomit.
‘I have to make a model of the Forum in Rome.’
As if this was not bad enough, she then added:
‘And I have to make it out of matchsticks.’
It took all my strength not to propose a joint suicide pact. But, over the ringing in my ears, I could just about hear a little voice suggesting that this would, perhaps, not be the path that a good mother would take.
Why do teachers do this to poor, innocent parents? There was I, with a pleasant weekend of blogging and tweeting stimulating children’s activities planned, when I was suddenly plunged into an architectural crisis of epic proportions. Those who created the Forum the first time round had it easy, let me say. It’s on a massive scale and was complete when they were finished. Nowadays, it’s a total mess – how the harrumph am I supposed to know what goes where? And with matches???
Making the Forum out of matches is quite obviously crazy. The Forum looked like this:
Whereas this is a bunch of matchsticks:
Do you see the similarity?
Nevertheless, we pressed on.
I should add that, at Divorce Towers, we have a bit of a history with school projects. Child One’s mosque, made in Year Seven, was the talk of the school, and not in a good way. While one of her classmates came in with, I kid you not, a mosque with actual working electric lights (her dad is an electrician), Child One was forced to turn up with a total monstrosity, thrown together at the last possible second and comprising a Sainsbury’s Basic range 99p sieve as the dome and a kitchen roll tube as the minaret, with a Comic Relief red foam nose topping it off. True Love did appear at one point and helpfully told me that the model was obscene and the school would be closed down by the police if I insisted on taking it in. I informed him it would all be fine once it was spray-painted cream.
Anyway, she did take it in, the girl with the electric lights got the school equivalent of a knighthood and poor Child One’s creation was left in a dusty corner, where I’m told that, even now, the red top of the minaret glows in a most disturbing manner.
It was with a sense of dread and failure that I approached the Forum.
Now, there’s always the option of leaving the children to sink or swim on these projects. Believe me, I was tempted. It’s just that nobody else does. And this time, if I’d left poor Child Two to scrabble about on her own, no doubt someone else’s Mum would have turned out to be a stonemason and reconstructed the entire Forum out of Carrera marble. So I plunged in, with as good a grace as I could muster.
After several million years, and once I’d got most of a tube of superglue stuck to the table, we produced this:
Obviously, it looks nothing like the Forum. But it does look a bit like a model of something. Child Two and I went to bed exhausted, but with a glow of virtuous satisfaction.
In the morning, at breakfast, this awaited us:
Carnage! The Forum was all over the place. Either the tiny little Fimo people we’d spent a millenia or so fashioning had had a big argument over Roman politics while we all snoozing in our beds, or a monster had ravaged them in the night …..
‘Don’t worry,’ I said to Child Two, fixing my all-purpose Doris Day grin on to my crumpled divorcee face. ‘It’ll look absolutely fine when it’s been spray-painted cream.’