Last week my kindergarten daughter told me about this surprise that she was going to come home with next week. “Mommy, I have a surprise for you next week your gunna love”, she said. I nonchalantly shrugged it off and said “ok honey”. So the days go by and now it’s Monday. Mind you, my daughter has no shortage of stuffed animals, but this one is very different form all the others. So she came home at 3:30pm and not only is she carrying her backpack but her brother is carrying a large gym bag that was too big for my little girl to carry. Inside this gym bag there is a medium-sized stuffed bunny with green stripes on the legs and arms and big floppy ears. In all actuality the stuffed bunny was very cute. The gym bag also contained a binder with other letters from her class mates that had sentences about what the did with the bunny for their day with him, and a little pencil box with stickers, pens, pencils and crayons. These were very short one line sentences like ‘Hoppy played the Wii with me today’ or ‘I went to bed with Hoppy’. So in my head this was easy enough. Hoppy would come over and we would eat dinner together and that would be her sentence. Ohhhh, but no!
The 5-year-old runs this house. So, I read all the sentences, that other kids and her teacher, put in the binder to her. I swear she is very much my daughter. She got very competitive and told me that she needed to do something really fun and interesting with Hoppy. She wanted to go to the beach…HECK NO! So, I try to get creative and put myself in a 5 year olds mentality and think of inexpensive things she could do with Hoppy. I give her the idea that she and Hoppy can go water the garden, we have carrots growing and Hoppy’s a bunny and they love carrots. This wasn’t good enough for her. Now, we have the dilemma of what to do with this little stuffed animal. I encouraged her to read Hoppy a book. She replied “That’s not fun, I wanna do something fun with Hoppy!”. “So what are you going to do with Hoppy?”I ask her. “Um, How about we play with the Play Dough Factory” she answered. I briefly explained that playing in play dough would get Hoppy all dirty and Hoppy has to go back to school tomorrow to be with another kid. A little upset but understanding of the explanation she continued to throw out ideas. All of them were either too expensive or too dirty. After repeatedly telling her to go outside and play with Hoppy in the front yard she finally did. So I went maybe 15 minutes without being disturbed and I thought all was well. And then, here we go again! “Playing outside is boring, all I can do is put Hoppy in the basket on my bike and ride around” she says. Just 3 more hours until bed time I think to myself, then Hoppy goes back to school and gets a royal eviction notice from my house. I got smart, on the blank sheets of paper to write her experience with Hoppy that were enclosed in the binder there was a place for her to draw and color a picture. Ah ha, I sat her down to color a picture of her and Hoppy. Now, I know this is a temporary solution, but good enough for a moment of peace, other than the occasional ‘mom, what color should I color this’.
Finally, dinner time. This is the time that I have been waiting for. This is where her sentence is coming from in my mind. I heated up left overs from the barbecue we had last night. Easy and yummy, and it was barbecue. “Well, Hoppy doesn’t like meat!” she said. “Oh my goodness. It’s a stuffed animal, it doesn’t eat at all anyways”, I told her. “If Hoppy doesn’t eat it than I wont either” very stubbornly she said. I told her that if she didn’t eat her food than Hoppy was going in my bed not hers tonight. She agreed to eat her meal and we finished dinner on a happier note.
After dinner it was time to write out sentence. I was probing to see what she wanted to write about for her page in the binder. I suggested that she write about the dinner we ate. It was a NO GO. “What about playing outside?” I ask. “Nope” she says. “I wanna write about going to the beach with Hoppy.” “Well we didn’t go to the beach” I kept trying to explain to her. “But the boys got to keep Hoppy for 3 days, and I only get Hoppy for one night, it’s not fair” she yelled at me, like it was my fault that she doesn’t get to keep the damned stuffed animal for 3 nights. I redirected her back to what she did today that was fun with Hoppy and what she would want to share with her class. I told her that if she said that she went to the beach it would be a lie and that she would have to lie even more to keep the story going and it would get too hard. Much less lying is wrong and we don’t tell lies. She finally came to the conclusion that she was going to write a sentence about what really happened today, but it would be nothing that I suggested. Her final sentence was “Today me and Hoppy picked Mommy’s flowers from her garden” she said was going to be her sentence. Are you kidding me? I told her to water the garden not pick my flowers I just planted last week. URGH. But whatever if that’s your sentence just copy what I write and be done with it, please. She wrote her sentence and went to bed with Hoppy. The next morning she took Hoppy back to school and the nightmarish stuffed animal was gone!