December 22, 2009

Best & Worst Babysitter Award

So, I was supposed to go to Arizona for Christmas on Sunday evening, but my flight was canceled-- one of many victims of the blizzard this past weekend. I was not able to get another flight until Thursday, so I'm stuck in NYC for three days longer than expected. I managed to turn lemons into some awesome lemonade by booking some last minute babysitting so now every day, all day, until I leave, I'm chillin' with Emma. I'm savoring it because, once my new job starts, I'll no longer be babysitting her regularly.

So far we've been having a grand old time indulging in indoor, wintertime activities. Today, for example, we spent an unhealthy number of hours playing Super Mario Bros. on the Wii. I'm not really a video game person, but this is hands down the funnest game I've ever played. Every half hour or so I'd say, "maybe we should take a break," and then quickly follow with "after one more round." While this probably qualifies me as a candidate for worst babysitter ever, I think I managed to redeem myself with a kick-ass craft project: Emma's book report diorama.

Believe it or not, fourth graders get homework over the holiday break. Emma's was to complete the art component for a report on Morning Girl, a book about the Taino people that's part of her school's New York State history curriculum. Emma wanted to create a diorama that represented the themes of night and day in the book. Now flashback to when I was in fourth grade, also studying state history. A key part of California's curriculum was a unit on the Spanish missions, and each kid made a model of our chosen mission using cardboard, foam core, or rice krispie treats. And my (well-meaning) dad totally high-jacked my project. Even though I wanted to take the lead, I wasn't permitted to use the Exacto knife. I made some bells out of clay and painted a few shrubs, but my dad created blueprints, measured and assembled the entire structure. We even went to the model train store to buy miniature donkeys and monks.

I always found this memory comical, but today, I had to hold back from totally highjacking the diorama project. I came up with the dyptic design and cut paper medium, but I consciously limited myself to only making the skeleton structure and cutting paper to fit the various backdrops. I had Emma create all the artistic details, but when I complemented her design, she proclaimed, "I got all my design ideas from you!" Oops.

Exterior Night Scene (stars are made of tinfoil)

Interior morning scene.

I am exceedingly proud of our work. I hope we get an A.

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