As I write I am am seeking refuge behind my kitchen’s peninsula. How did this happen? It was a simple school project. Why does my dining area look like a cookie dough factory exploded? Everywhere there are unidentifiable doughy pieces of construction…….it’s hard to tell if they are early, test models or the final product. Such is my confusion I am rightfully terrified to clear anything away and head in the direction of the bin.
Rewind one hour.
DS1 and DD have a homework assignment which requires them to re-create an Egyptian artifact from play dough. The school was helpful enough to provide dough making instructions along with suggestions of what to make from the home made dough; pyramids, amulets, name plates in hieroglyphics. Am surprised Tutankhamun’s Tomb didn’t make the list!
Ever the enthusiast, I get excited about these kinds of projects; more out of a sense of competition than anything else (competitive Mum alert!) How difficult can it be? A triangular structure to be baked until it hardens and then painted…….
OMG…….I argued with the kids about how many sides a pyramid has……I said 4. They said 3; just because a triangle has 3 sides (at least they have learned something). My first 3 sided pyramid effort collapsed in the oven….I omitted to fill in the structure to avoid such inevitable subsidence. To add insult to injury….I managed to overbake (yes, that means ‘burn’) the triangular blob in my oven. At this stage my creation looked like the fake, inflated pyramid in Despicable Me, the one onto which the fat kid falls……and the world realises some evil genius has stolen the real pyramid and replaced it with an inflatable. Talk about a low point. I felt completely inadequate. The Egyptians managed to construct the amazing, lasting pyramids almost 5,000 years ago. Not a sophisticated engineering tool or calculator was used to create these perfect, idolised wonders. Yet, I cannot replicate them in my kitchen with malleable dough, rulers, knives, sketches and Google tutoring.
A volley of Whats App messages ping back and forth amongst class mums. Why is my dough so gooey? (add flour) How many sides has a pyramid? (four). Should I use plain or self raising flour? (the recipe said all purpose flour). I can’t get my dough smooth….what have I done wrong? (follow the instructions). When is this project due? (Tuesday…..at the latest). Why don’t they do this stuff at school? (Feel your pain but I would prefer if they were learning required curriculum information during class time…English, maths, reading and writing etc.!).
Day 2 – Thankfully DD did not inherit her parents’ non-creative genes and she set about designing her beautiful amulet.
DS1, on the other hand, insisted on a pyramid and an hieroglyphic first letter of his name.
Unfortunately DS1 was not keen on learning from my pyramid building mistakes. He wanted to go it alone. I was frustrated at the thought of him seeing a concaved, collapsing triangular shape emerging from the oven. He was oblivious. He knew what he wanted to create and went about doing so.
2 hours later the masterpiece is still in the oven. So thick was his cylindrical pyramid, it is taking quite a while to harden…..will be lucky if he gets it in on time for the deadline in 3 days’ time! Tutankhamun’s life was so short lived, I doubt he would have time to wait around for DS1’s masterpiece!