Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Brassica Project

It sounds like a Cold War era thriller or some End of Days movie.  It isn't.

No, the Brassica Project is something so hideous, so unspeakably nightmarish that if it were a movie, it would be Saw 7.  Was there a Saw 7 already?  Well, whatever Saw comes next.

It started innocently enough.  A school project for science.  Yay!  This will be fun!  We get to do it together!  Over Spring Break!  

Wait.  What?  You have to complete a science project over Spring Break?  Uh, okay...less fun, but, WEGETTODOITTOGETHER!  What a great time to bond over Elmer's glue and...


Oh, there's a list of items we need to buy?

And we can only use these very specific items?

But, Brassica at least comes in lots of colors, so we can pick that, right?


It's not that Brassica is ugly.  Okay, for a flower, it's kind of ugly. Yellow is not my favorite but, whatever.

The first time I had to help with this project, it was for my oldest son.  The lessons I learned the first go round were: 

1. Children should never be left unsupervised with paint:  Ever.
2. When paint dries, the dowel you so carefully painted sticks to the newspaper that you put down to protect the table.
3. I would rather sell my soul to the Devil himself than ever, ever undertake this gluey, horrific nightmare again.

After buying three different colors of pipe cleaners, wooden dowels, two colors of some eco-nightmarish foam, paint and a terracotta pot to put it in, I was down two hours of my life and $25.

And, just as an aside, what is the deal with learning about plants by building a replica?  Can't we just grow one?  Wouldn't that be 
smarter/easier/more meaningful/less wasteful/greener?

And the fun hadn't even begun, yet.

Turns out that this Beelzebub foam does not stick very easily.  And the wooden dowels need to dry over night before gluing them into place...which then, also needs to dry overnight.

Overall, we spent 5-6 hours on this ugly, useless project; all for a smiley face sticker and a place on the shelf with the other 27 identical, crappy looking "flowers".


I tried to block it from my memory and it worked until the last day of school when B brought it home.  

Really?  Now I have to display this?  Where is my jar of tonsils?  I want to put them on the same shelf. Pretty sure that procedure was less painful and no less attractive.

After a few months, I was able to remove this atrocity from view, under the guise of "saving" it (in the garbage can) for the future.  

I almost forgot about it.  I had been drifting blissfully through the school years when, I saw it:  The instruction sheet for another Brassica project.  NOOO!  Dear God, NO!!!  WHYOHWHYOHWHY?!?!?!???

We managed to live through that one as well, but barely.

Our two youngest are so close in age that they are in the same grade at school.  When my middle son didn't receive this project the same year as the youngest, I thought we were in the clear.  

But then...

Like an antelope munching unawares, I was pounced upon by another sheet of instructions.

This time, I flat out refused.  I voiced my concerns to the teacher.  I told her where to go what I thought of this insane project.

In the end, I relented, but only because I liked this teacher so much in every other respect and because the class was such a small size that having C's ugly flower missing would have been pretty obvious.

Three boys.  Three nearly identical wood and foam and pipe cleaner flower models.  They seem to have managed to escape mostly unscathed, but I still have nightmares about it.  I wake up screaming "Wait!  The glue hasn't dried!  The petals are falling off!", before I realize that I will never, ever again need to undertake another Brassica project.


  1. BWAHAHA! I felt the same way about my son's confirmation banner. Felt is the stuff of the devil. As are "family projects".

  2. I did not see this post when you originally posted it! Oh. My. God. Wow, just wow.