I can’t figure out how to put this next post together. My day Thursday was like one of those movies that flashes from scene to scene, and chronology doesn’t really matter until it all comes together at the end.
I’ll start at the bus stop. I’m standing on the corner watching Sweet Pea and her friend run up the sidewalk after school. They are shouting to me, “She won!” and “Mama! I won this at school today.” She has a little brown piece of paper in her hand. But I was at her school for all but 15 minutes of her day. What is she talking about?
When they get to me Sweet Pea hands me an envelope from Hastings Book store. It has, “Manners Quiz - $15” written on it. She says, “Mom, I won the Manners Quiz!”
Oh, right. I remember walking the halls that morning and seeing all the older kids dressed in button up shirts and ties, or sparkly dresses (presumably from last Christmas.) Today was the manners lunch.
“You did! That’s great!!” I am so happy for her. Just a few days before we had filled out a multiple choice manners quiz, and I had been so proud of her! Not just because she got all but one answer right on the first try, and without help from me. But because she had – also without assistance – remembered which letter the correct answer was, and circled A, B, C, or D without having to ask which letter was which. And then, she had found about half the words in the word search puzzle on her own too. Man, we have come so far in 3 months!
“What did you win honey?”
“I’m the winner Mom! The little card fell out of this envelope. But I WON. And I got a high five from the principal.”
“Wait. What? The little card…Oh…”
“And Mom, I got to have my picture taken with 3 other kids for the school newsletter.”
“Honey, the little card is the money part. That’s the prize. Do you know where you lost it?”
“I showed it to Willie on the wall, and then when I got on the bus the card was out. Mom, I’m the winner!!”
“So maybe it’s in the grass outside your school? Let’s get in the car and go look.”
Did I do a good job conveying that she did not give a rip that she lost her prize? Because I have yet to mention the crushing disappointment I felt over her losing it. I am thinking of all the books she would have loved to buy with the $15. She is looking at an empty envelope like it’s the World Cup. I am wondering if I should secretly replace the gift card. She is wondering if she can have the envelope framed and displayed proudly in the living room.
So we got in the car and went to her school to look in the grass. No luck. We left a note in the office. Asked a bus driver to put an APB out to the bus company. Checked her cubby. Checked her backpack one more time. Nada. I was so sad.
She did not care even a little tiny bit.
On the way home I remembered something she said. “Uh, wait…did you say you got your picture taken for the school newsletter?”
Mental flashback. 11:15 AM. We are late and I am trying to get the kids out the door so we can drop Will off at Grandma’s in time to make it to her school so that I can set up for my Art Mom lesson. Sweet Pea comes down the stairs sporting her signature style…Bag Lady Chic. Tan pants, black turtleneck, pink floral print tunic, and the 5-year-old Disney Princessified version of Sorrel snow boots. The effect is very Napoleon Dynamite. It’s questionable whether or not she has combed her hair at any time in recent history.
On another morning I would have marched her back up stairs for at LEAST some tangle spray and different shoes. But today we do not have the luxury of being cute. Today is Art Mom day. (And I look cute. So, you know, whatever.)
Sooo…All the kids at Sweet Pea’s school were sporting “grade school formal”, while Sweet Pea looked like she might be an escaped mental patient. Of COURSE she got her picture taken for the school newsletter! And sandwiched between the kids who won the best dressed prize no doubt. Also, an adult gave my 5 year old $15, but didn’t make her put it in her backpack until she got home. Brilliant. And she is smiling like a starlet at the Oscars who just keeps saying, “I’m just so happy to be nominated!”
That’s it. I want to be 5.
Good news. The secretary at her school called to let me know that someone found her gift card and turned it into the office. And I picked out her clothes today. All’s well that ends well.