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Very much regret having been carried away by the artistic urge which turns out to be particularly dangerous when combined with much too little lateral thought.

The Muse struck when Number One Son informed me – obviously leaving it until 10 minutes before bedtime (or wine o’clock as it is otherwise known) – that essential equipment for the following day included a space ship constructed from junk. I threw myself into this challenge with all the speed of a woman desperate to get to her restorative glass of elixir-promising-new-life at the end of her Quest. Egg boxes, loo rolls and silver foil made a pretty convincing frame (or ‘superstructure’ according to Sam) but it just needed that little bit extra.

An up-ended handbag provided some excellent flames (red sweet wrappers) and two very authentic looking booster rockets (or Tampax as they are more commonly known).
I made two very distinct school-girl errors here.

  1. It is unwise to underestimate the fascination that sanitary products hold over small boys. They are articles of mystery and wonder that have played many roles before the booster rockets. Previous guises have included: mice to tease the cat with, Cannons for firing at Granny, scientific experimentation in absorption devices and probably many and various other uses outside their original and intended remit.
  2. It is essential to question the use to which any construction or contraption is to be put.

It was not until the joy that is Parent’s Evening came around that the full extent Number One Son’s Show and Tell, and the full horror of just what use the Junk Rocket had been put to, became clear.

As I headed off ‘up the school’ to discover how many ‘chocolate biscuits’ versus how many ‘kicks in pants’ were required amongst my various offspring it did not occur to me to think that what may be necessary was not the accessory of an Irascible Husband or a Winning Smile but actually some sort of Large Hat and perhaps Wig or False-Nose in order to escape the scene unrecognised.

Having failed to dodge the Uber-Smug Mother of Perfection and then been unable to resist indulging in our usual form of self-torture (sneakypeaks at Girls Literacy Books) the now Thoroughly Depressed Husband and I headed for the Form Rooms at our allotted time to meet this year’s lucky teachers of our progeny.

Being met with a heavy and heartfelt sigh of ‘Ahh, Sam’s Mummy and Daddy’ is familiar, if less than ideal, but it turns out that barely contained mirth is also a bad sign.

It seems that the Rubbish Rocket was not in fact needed to demonstrate any sort of space exploration topic but rather to illustrate a discussion of the merits of the mantra “Repair, Reuse, and Recycle”.

To this end the class had been And then...required to present to a school assembly an article they had made from bits of recycling and describe its constituent parts. This, apparently, my delightful son did with great aplomb, but being of a scientific turn of mind, and expansive nature he was extremely difficult to stop once started.

This meant that the whole school was treated to his explanation of the ‘booster rockets’ and their uses – including the now immortal phrase – ‘mummy sticks them in her bottom when she is grumpy but she is much better now and can even sit down’.

I think we shall shortly be changing schools.