There are a lot of things to be considered before having children. Are you mature enough? Will you be able to swing it financially? But most importantly, do you have what it takes to create a miniature model of Mission San Juan Batista from scratch?
Be forewarned that by the time your cherished tyke is ten, you will have been required to produce — through the magic of glue guns and Popsicle sticks– an exact replica of every major historical event known to man, real or imagined.
For me, it all started when my child was in kindergarten and brought home a paper doll with instructions to dress him or her in native dress that would represent our family’s ethnic origin.
This is easy for those who have specific ethnic origins. It’s a little more difficult for those of us whose lineage is all over the map.
Let’s see . . . Mom is a little Danish, a little Irish and a little French, while Dad is a little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.
I decided to cover all my bases. I would send the paper doll back to school wearing knickers, a Nehru jacket, a clown collar, a plaid beret, and a powdered wig.
I then proceeded to create the outfit using ordinary household junk — keeping in mind all the while that the final product should look as if it were crafted by my child’s own “wittle” hands. This part was easy. everything I have made in my entire life looks like it was crafted by the “wittle” hands of children.
Of course, it gets worse. First grade requires Mother to fashion a pilgrim’s log cabin replete with pilgrims, pilgrim’s pets, plus four cleared acres of land.
In fairness, I must admit that the teachers always stress that the child should be doing a good portion of the work. That’s why when Mom sits down with Junior to make a log cabin by gluing 5,009 pretzels on a milk carton, she makes Junior contribute by handing her the pretzels one at a time — until he can no longer stand it and runs away, 30 seconds later — leaving Mom all alone (if one can truly be alone with 5,009 pretzels).
The log cabin project is only the beginning in a series of progressively more complicated projects until the final culmination of skill is tested in the fourth grade when Missy is required to make a scale model of a California Mission.
This is not to be taken lightly. One false move here and your youngster could suffer the stigma of bad gluing for weeks, even years. One of my children still has nightmares about the fourth-grade mission project.
In a series of bad decisions and poor planning, this particular kid when to school with a slapped together mission made out of Play Doh and ordinary leaves and twigs. It didn’t look bad the night it was finished, but no allowance was made for the fact that Play Doh tends to collapse under the weight of ordinary leaves and twigs.
By the time School Open House night came, there lay my kid’s rendition of San Juan Bautista looking exactly like San Juan Bautista — right after The Big One.
By the time my youngest child hit fourth-grade, I had learned my lesson. This time we made a trip to the local craft store where we purchased a 100-percent authentic California Mission Kit. All we had to do was glue it together and paint it.
We got home and followed the instructions that were so simple that any child with an IQ of 165 and three hands could do it. After gluing and un-gluing some more, my child proudly returned to school with a mission so wonderful, it could have been entered as a float in the Macy’s Day Parade.
A final word of advice to those of you even considering having children — start saving everything now — no matter how useless. You never know when you’ll need material to craft that scale model of Atlantis or replicate the Big Bang.
Only in this way will you be prepared should the little clone come to you of a Sunday night at 10 p.m. and announce that his Panama Canal Project is due the next day. You’ll simply go to your collection of materials, reach into your holster, draw your glue gun and VIOLA! A gateway to the Pacific!
Until Next time . . . I love you