Biting Off More Than He Can Chew


These last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of trying to finish up multiple projects for our local county fair.  Yup, the county fair – quaint, right?  It conjures up visions of sheep shows, tractor pulls, and pie eating contests.  Very rural, very small-town America.

The kids love it.  And I use it – like any sneaky homeschooling mom would!

One of the categories is “Educational Display.” so guess what we did?  Homeschooling science fair project!  Sort of.  More of the board without the project.  And the Princess, wearing the sparkling new age of 4, announced that SHE wanted to do a board too now that she’s just barely squeaking in the age requirement.  So, 2 boards.

Those things hold a lot of paper.

For weeks I’ve had them drawing pictures, painting pictures, filling in maps, and labeling diagrams all for their boards.  We did a few things a week, with the end goal being a finished board by  …. oh … tomorrow.  And we made it.  But as I sit here writing, my own submissions are calling my name and waiting patiently to be glued and trimmed to the foam core board for the photography contest.

The Engineer has dreams of many many ribbons, but one very specific purple one.  A frilly, eggplant colored, big ribbon: Best in Show.  He wants it so badly he can taste it.  So badly, that he persevered trying to finish labeling his rock collection, and unprompted went to design a Lego creation for his submission.  Why the ambition?  Because mommy won the purple ribbon last year, and he’s determined to beat mommy.


Competitive kids are … difficult.  It doesn’t matter that I entered in the adult categories, and completely different categories than he did.  It doesn’t even matter that I was a bit shocked that I won, and snickered over the “accomplishment” of Best In Show in a small-town fair.  He wants that ribbon.

I’m ok with that, to a point – he actually put out a lot of effort doing his submissions and I’m proud of his work ethic.  I’m concerned that he’ll be really disappointed because I’m not even sure his age category HAS a Best In Show ribbon to award.  Unattainable dreams can only lead to heartbreak.  I don’t want my kid sobbing because he didn’t get any ribbons.  Of course, he’ll get the participation ribbons, but he’s smart enough to realize that those are a pat on the head, a patronizing “sorry kid, you didn’t win” kind of ribbon.

It’s a tough gig.

He’s right at that age when the little kid cute art doesn’t work any more, and he’s just not quite there to compete with the bigger kids in his age category.  So whatever he does needs to be spectacular – creative – interesting.  And he came up with one all on his own: a kinetic tornado sculpture.

It started as an idea – then it bloomed to diagrams – then it became plans for a model.  The model is almost finished, and now he’s talking about making a full-sized version to go on our front lawn.  I shot that down fairly quickly, because I don’t have a metal-bending machine to bend the size of wire that he has in mind.  Grand plans.  Grand ideas.  I hate being the “no” person all the time.

He’s tired of working on all of these projects – he wants to be finished.  So do I.  Neither of us has any patience worth speaking of.


At least the cookies are finished.  We’ll see if I can win a ribbon for those this year!  (and I’ll share it if I do.)



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