Saturday, November 12

Virginia's State of Mind: Headline news: Cain, Kardashian, Zuckerberg and sombreros

This column is supposed to offer a compelling and humorous perspective on current events. Some weeks are more challenging than others.
This week's headlines include: 1. Debate over Herman Cain's sexual harassment accusations; 2. Kim Kardashian is in Minnesota with Kris Humphries trying to get "closure"; and 3. Billionaire Mark Zuckerburg, who stole his Facebook idea from his friends, hacked Harvard University computers and dropped out in 2004, is welcomed back for a visit to campus with open arms. What more could I possibly say?
My son's preschool class is in the midst of "international month." In my opinion the sum total of international month is a lot of oversized craft projects. Thus far, the crème de la crème of the international craft projects is my son's sombrero, obviously made in honor of Mexico.
The problem with the sombrero is that while it's outstanding rehearsal dinner fodder, it's extremely large.
I have multiple boxes filled with my son's important stuff and mementos that hopefully he will one day cherish as memories of his childhood. No matter how adorable or important the sombrero may be, I'm not keeping it. The sombrero doesn't fit in any of the boxes unless it's folded like a fajita.
Why can't the teachers select more compact craft projects? Why can't they just color pictures of a taco or a chili pepper? The sombrero has been sitting on our kitchen counter for two weeks and every time it accidentally slips into the trash can, my son somehow manages to discover its location and rescues the sombrero from its impending doom.
The sombrero, like so many of its supersized craft cohorts, takes up unavailable space all over the house and worst of all — the car. I know mothers with even the most orderly homes that have rolling garbage cans for cars. Every parent battles with the daily challenge of trash litter, but there's nothing more annoying than the glitter glue, multi-felt piece, awkwardly shaped craft projects in various stages of assembly scattered all over the car.
Every time I speak to my friend Courtney she says one of three things, "I have to clean the car" or "I just cleaned out the car" or "I can't talk because I'm cleaning the car." Courtney's car mess is in great part due to the supersized, glitter glue art projects. Courtney is fighting a losing battle that will not end until her children go to college.
I've been observing my friends with older children. As the children advance in years, the supersized projects become increasingly costly, complex and mentally challenging for the parents. In my opinion, someone needs to reign in this potentially explosive situation.
I decided to take matters into my own hands for the benefit of all of the moms in my son's class. I gently pointed out to the teacher that the large craft projects not only take up a lot of space, but also use up a lot of paper, which frankly is not very "green." I provided other data points which I thought effectively presented a bipartisan case. I even mentioned the bit about high school, when ninth graders are expected to produce tri-fold freestanding pictorial boards with a supporting PowerPoint presentation. At the time, my point seemed extremely well received.
I am now responsible for the international crafts in my son's preschool class.The next country on the international month schedule is China and my mind is a blank. I scoured the Internet for ideas and every craft project I found involved permanent pens, sharp scissors or worst of all, paper mâché.I thought about having the children make fortune cookies but there are two problems with that idea: First, fortune cookies are a completely fabricated American-Chinese restaurant dessert. Second, the children can't write much beyond their own names. A blank fortune cookie would undoubtedly be bad luck in any country. I may be on the same path as the sombrero — doomed.
It's highly likely that my son will be contagiously ill the day I'm supposed do the Chinese craft project. I don't know why I was so eager to send the sombrero back to Mexico.
I should have been relieved they didn't make a piñata.

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