A Chicago mom’s dreaded diorama dilemma of 2014

The project guidelines came home today, and no moment can ever more clearly define you as a mother.

Now or forever.

The internal debate starts almost instantly. Do you dare take over the whole blasted diorama thing, thereby ensuring your child’s shoebox isn’t the laughingstock of the entire third grade? Are you prepared to make multiple runs to Michael’s buying wood glue, felt, and synthetic grass? Do you head over to Carson’s to peruse their shoe boxes for the most appropriate dimensions (completely resigned to spending $120 on a pair of animal print stilettos in the wrong size simply to secure the ultimate in diorama superiority?).

Or do you toss your kid a pair of scissors, a bottle of glue, and a magazine from 2006 and tell him to get busy?

Yeah. Guess which one I went with?

Now to be fair, Jack is in the preliminary stages of mapping out his diorama. He has run a few ideas by me, which I supported whole-heartedly. And by “whole-heartedly,” I nodded politely while engrossed in a recap of the worst dressed from the Golden Globes.

Then things took a bit of a turn.

You see, Jack had to complete a report on the white tailed deer in advance of creating his diorama. When he gave me the paper, I quickly glanced over his sketchy five-paragraph essay and reminded myself that this wasn’t his doctoral thesis I was reading. I also took comfort in knowing that I didn’t know how to spell “antlers” in third grade either.

When I came to the section under “Biggest Threats to the White Tailed Deer,” I saw that Jack had listed foxes, lions, and CARS.

My love of the inappropriate was stirred.

“Hey, Jack! How about after you make your little cardboard deer there, we lay it on its back next to a Matchbox car? How FUNNY WOULD THAT BE? We can even add KETCHUP.”

Unfortunately, Jack does not share his mother’s twisted brain, and before I could say another word, he scooped up his materials, shoebox, and the Scooby Doo Minivan I had offered up as the Bambi killer.

“I’m gonna work on this upstairs, Mommy.”

Like I said, there’s nothing like the old diorama project to let you know who you are as a mom … or how much you should be putting aside for your kids’ future therapy bills.

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