Yesterday was the Mini 500 at the kids school. Every year this race happens, at the end of the school year, and right before the Indy 500.
This event is only for the first graders, but the whole school, plus friends and family, get to watch their performance, from the grassy knolls on the side. Each first grader is responsible for bringing in a car, made of cardboard, that they are capable of carrying. You have plenty of time to make your childs car look like something out of a magazine, making them gleam with pride……Or, if you don't have time, or don't like your child as much, you can use plain cardboard and black sharpie markers, to make your child look and feel pathetic:). Believe me, there are both extremes.
Once the cars are made, the kids bring them to school a WEEK early, so to place them on display, so all the parts can be torn off, or “fall off”, before race day, and so everyone can judge (or laugh at) their project:). On race day, the children race each other around a grassy track, in several different heats, while carrying their race cars. It REALLY is a fun event for everyone, with ALOT of excitement leading up to the big day.
This is the 4th car we've made, and the 3rd race we've attended. Sadly, this was our last first grader race, because Chloe is the youngest of our babies:(. You can always tell when it's someone's first child to run the race, because they have no idea what they're doing, ourselves included!
When you see a child that has a car made out of a refrigerator box, you can generally guess that it is that families first race. These giant cars are usually pretty cool looking, because the dad probably had a really cool plan, and probably thought “bigger is better” right? Unfortunately, these tiny 50 lb children are unable to even lift the box, let alone run the whole length of the track! God love them, they sure do try. Initially the box fishtails everywhere, knocking everyone out beside them, and then the child eventually has the lone auto on the track, requiring at least two staff members PLUS the child, to get it across the finish line, while ALL the students and families point and cheer and say AWWWW. How humiliating! But I guess that's what school is all about…. Getting humiliated by your peers??!
The thing is, no one wants to tell you how to do it your first year either. It's kind of like a rite of passage into the 2nd grade. Those parents and their children had to endure ridicule and embarrassment, in years past, and so will YOU. I guess you're out of luck if you only have one child:).
The first car we made was Hannah's, and it looked like a jalopy! It had the BARE necessities. The cardboard was barely painted, and white paper plates were used as the tires, again unpainted. It may have had her name on it, and her own scribbles down the side, I don't really remember. I do however remember the horror, as I so proudly went to watch my daughters race, but left with my head hung down in shame, after viewing these statuesque race cars, that these professional parents built.
Next were the boys, and now we were a little smarter! We knew the smaller boxes were better, we could use battery operated lights for headlights and taillights, and we could do a multitude of designs to meet the demands of both boys. The sky was the limit, and they had way cooler cars than Hannah! But in the end, both boys lost, both in fastness and artistically, so we were humiliated anyway:):):):):)….
So far, none of our children had won us any awards, in the mini 500, but on our third attempt, we felt sure we had had a pretty good chance!
We had it all planned out… We could build such an elaborate car that it would win in multiple categories. Best in show…most artsy…most likely to succeed…faster than lightening. Even if they weren't real awards, we could leave that track knowing we would have won them…..
In addition to the awesome car, we also have the speed of Chloe! Despite her moderate to severe pigeon toe diagnosis, she can move fairly quickly, mostly because she has to stride out further than her peers, so she won't trip. We really had a chance of winning this whole thing!!
I could see it now. For once, we could stand up there, two mothers with their celebrity daughter, with our heads held high, feeling pride, while the whole school cheered and celebrated us, instead lining up to throw the first stone.:)…..
……but we forgot who we were dealing with…Chloe! Renee was so excited to help her create and build this beauty. Chloe, however, grew tired of this within minutes and said ” This is my project you know”! She didn't want any help. She demanded to make it on her own, and she did!!! I asked her to at least put a #2 on the car so I could giggle and yell “go #2”, as she made her final turn, but she REFUSED!:)
It really didnt turn out too bad, but not near “award winning”. The cars that she was competing against could have been in an exhibit! One even had a small kite on the back so their child would go airborne with a good breeze. GENIOUS! This was FOR SURE one of the TEN winners….. ??Remember when there was only 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners??
All in all, it was another successful year…for other people's children. I truly believe it was due to Chloe building herself a “lemon”, that slowed her down in the race, causing her to get 50th or 60th place. Regardless, we are still proud of her….after we get over the disappointment.:):):)….