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win some, lose a lot

February 8, 2012

“I want to drink my chocolate milk, but I do not want to cooperate.”

I hadn’t planned on having this time slot open in my schedule for writing.  I’d blocked off the morning for a trip to the library.  Picture me and Little Friend snuggling with a pile of books, the warm tick of a library’s heater, at the window a few meager snowflakes making a valiant attempt to rally for the season.  Isn’t that a lovely fairy tale?

In reality the picture was more like this: Little Friend, racing at top speeds from the potty (unused), declaring her intentions to drink chocolate milk and do anything but cooperate at peeing before heading to the car.  Me, racing at waddling pregnancy speeds from the bathroom to corral the little imp before stopping, mule-like, in the middle of the hallway as a dim bulb ignites above my head.  “Hey, Little Friend.  You’re welcome to drink your chocolate milk.  You don’t have to cooperate.  But it’s not my style to play with little girls who don’t cooperate.  I’ll just have fun doing what I want to do this morning, too.”

So I’m writing.  And she’s somewhere with a cup of chocolate milk.  Playing with race cars.  Singing nonsense songs.  Turning lights on and off.  Wondering what lucky star blessed her with such freedom.  I keep waiting for boredom to set in.  For the lesson to be learned: “Cooperating with Mama makes for a Funner Mama.”

She’s not learning yet.

Instead, I just heard from the recesses of the house the following ditty: “…One for the little boy who lives down the lane.  One nation under God.  Indivisible.  With Olivia and dusting for all.  Hey, Mama—you’re supposed to put your hand over your heart.”

So she’s clearly learning something these days.  Just not my intended lessons.

Yesterday, Little Friend was persuaded to employ the potty to good purpose before heading out for a morning excursion to…Kindergarten at Cochran Elementary School.

Prior to this field trip, the sum total of Little Friend’s understanding of Kindergarten went something like this: “I have to get shots before I go to Kindergarten.”  She may have two years of preschool still ahead of her, but it’s apparently never too early to worry about the poking and prodding of syringes.  Fortunately for Little Friend, her Aunt Julia is a cracker-jack Kindergarten teacher who likes having little visitors now and then.

{Little Friend update: she’s now sliding along on her bottom, sucking her thumb using the favorite tag from a ruffled pink sweatshirt, and whining because I’m no longer a fun playmate.  I’m winning.}

When Little Friend walked into the Kindergarten classroom, her eyes had to widen in diameter about two inches to take in the crowd of kids twitching like eager popcorn kernels on the colored squares in front of the Smart Board.

Aunt Julia scooped up Little Friend and carried her to the front of the class.  “Kindergartners, do you know who this is?”  “ISABELLE” came the roar from the crowd.  Apparently Little Friend has some fans here and there.

{Little Friend update: she’s now back in her room.  Singing.  Making crashing sounds with who knows what.  She sounds happy.  I’m losing.}

Little Friend rose to the occasion.  She sang her ABCs.  She ignored the little girl in the front row who protested at the mis-rendered “Now I know Your ABCs” at the end.  She dutifully told the captive crowd a tale of her cat pooping on the dining room carpet.  The boys in the crowd squawked and tittered at the word “poop.”  Little Friend is still too young and sheltered to get potty humor, so she gave them an odd, dismissive look, and kept right on telling the story, which necessitated using the word “poop” in just about every sentence.

{Little Friend update: she’s dragged a drum out of her room and informed me, “You can be Winnie the Pooh, and I’ll be Christopher Robin.”  I retort, “No thanks.  I’m not playing right now.  You chose for me to do my own things.” Winning.  She pauses.  “Well, I’ll just pretend that you’re Pooh and I’m Christopher Robin.” She pounds the drum right next to my ear.  Losing.}

Little Friend got to walk the Kindergarten kids to art class.  She made guest appearances in other classrooms.  “Don’t forget that I handed out lunch cards, Mama.”  Sure.  She did that, too.

{Little Friend update: I now have a drum, flute, and tambourine parked right next to me.  She’s a one-woman band.  My peace is shattered.  “Watch.  I can stand on the drum.”  I think she’s actually having fun with minimal participation from yours truly.  I’m dreaming of a nice, snuggly library corner with a pile of books I haven’t yet read a gazillion times.  Still losing.}

I watch her dig through the pile of Kindergarten books—the kind of books that have five large words to each page and feature animals like fluffy dogs, pigs wearing dresses, and three nice wolves.  I watch her pick out letters I didn’t know she recognized on an iPad filled with fun Kindergarten games.  I watch her step up on a stool and stretch her arm up high to “write” on the SmartBoard.  Just like the Kindergartners do.  Little Friend’s favorite part?  “I like that Aunt Julia was at Kindergarten.”

I don’t want to think much yet about Kindergarten shots, lunch cards, and leaving my precious Little Friend for a whole day.  Yet, there’s something about walking into a school that makes me silly, giddy, happy.  All the learning, the smells of pencil erasers, the brightly colored bulletin boards with block letters, the tiny voices piping the alphabet song in unison (at least until the disagreement comes over “Now I know my/your ABCs…”).  I love it and miss it and can’t wait until Little Friend does more than just visit for an hour in the morning.

Especially on days like today.  When uncooperating somehow becomes more fun than cooperating.  Plus, I just realized something.  Who’s going to make Little Friend pick up the chaotic mess of race cars-instruments-blocks-books-Strawberry Shortcake-tools-clothes-stacking games-letters-crayons-milk cups created in the 23 minutes I’ve taken as my “personal time?”  Definitely, definitely Losing.  Someone around here is learning something today.  I just wish it weren’t me!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2012 2:48 pm

    Great post! Sometimes losing is so much fun!

  2. February 8, 2012 2:49 pm

    Great writing! I really enjoyed your story.

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