The diorama made it to school this morning. It was touch and go for a while. Yesterday evening saw a last-minute housing crisis when the twig frame for the main tent collapsed, but with two pairs of hands, lashings made of sewing thread, and copious amounts of hot glue, it was repaired. Fortunately the tent was not actually in the diorama box at the time, so the dough guy already glued to his sleeping mat was uninjured.
The hunter, however, looked like he might permanently lose a leg. Not only did it fall off at the hip, but his foot broke in half. Child Two told me that the Inuit did sometimes lose fingers to frostbite. Maybe she could make up a story about how this guy managed to lose a whole leg but still lived? Or maybe he shot himself in the foot with his bow and arrow? The bow is a nasty one, after all, bigger than he is (models may not be true to scale). Lucky for him, despite living in the Arctic in pre-contact times, he was airlifted to Dough Guy Hospital, where Dr. Mom barely saved his foot and leg with white glue.
Finally, after many shouts of “Watch out for the box!” and “Stop picking up the people—their arms will fall off!” and “Get that cat out of here!” we got everyone glued down into their spots with no body parts left over. We did a partial clean-up of the sewing room, which today is still strewn with twigs and bits of moss, paper, and string; discovered a whole trail of brown paw prints along the windowsill and evidence of bright yellow paint still on one of Jamie’s paws (he must have made three separate trips through the paint, getting a different color each time); shooed all the cats out of the room; and carefully closed the door.
In the night, I dreamt of little arms and legs and heads coming unglued, but this morning all was well. I carefully carried the box across the playground, while Child One and Child Two acted as bodyguards, warding off jump ropes, soccer balls, and children on scooters. Worried that someone would lose a head if I jostled the box too much, I used my best belly dancing techniques for moving my bottom half while keeping my top half still. Abs tight, knees loose.
We made it into the classroom unscathed and carefully placed the box on the windowsill with the others. Some of them are amazing. In a few, the Inuit wear little sewn fur outfits (I heard a rumor that one mom got her neighbor to sew the clothes). Some have faces painted by hands much steadier than a 4th-grader might have. One even has twinkling battery-powered lights as stars. Child Two’s looks very much like it was made by a 10 year old, but her teacher thought it was great.
And amazingly, apart from some fake fur for the tent, Child Two made it entirely with materials we had at home. Does that say something impressive about her ingenuity or something scary about how much we have crammed into that sewing room?