Recommended wine for today’s entry: Because I know what school fees – even public school fees – can do to a budget, tonight I’ll recommend a budget-conscious Ningaloo Chardonnay. Easy to spot with a big fish on the label, “(Neen-gah-loo) is named for the barrier reef system on Australia’s western coast.” According to Liquor Barn’s Web site, “The perennial favorite Chardonnay has a light bouquet of citrus marmalade with a whiff of balsam and fresh baby spinach leaf lingering in the background. Medium bodied and nearly soft, those sweet, citrusy notes continue on the palate and some light butter flavor grants it some fullness. Nicely structured and with a moderate finish, this is the definition of “house white”. “ Voices of Wine Rating: 88 points.
Yesterday, I told you about my oldest’s easy segue from preschooler to Kindergartener. I think you’ll enjoy the story of my youngest – Lis – and her first week as a Shining Star. It’s a whole lot funnier in hindsight!
Actually, we were really surprised at how well she’d done her first three days. Thankfully, they started with a short week. She was only 4 when the school year started due to her late birthday and we worried about the long days leading to bouts of her medical condition, SDIB or Sleep Deprivation-Induced Bitchiness.
But she started out great. Until Monday. I should have known when we got into the car and I strapped her into her booster seat that this wasn’t going to work.
As we left the driveway, she kicked the back of my seat, hard. Apparently she wasn’t in the mood to get my attention by saying “mom.” Red flag. “My socks are turned wrong.” The red flag was waving now. Whenever she could feel the seams on her socks against her toes in preschool, it was followed by a knock-down, drag-out fight, not necessarily about socks.
If she’d only known how hideous her mommy-trimmed bangs looked, her socks would have been no issue.
But I addressed the sock problem head on. I had my 7-year-old fix them.
Minutes later, we were in carpool line and Lis crossed her arms and said, “I’m not going to school today.”
“Of course you are,” I said with one eye on her in the rearview mirror as I inched forward in the line that was constantly moving, albeit slowly. “You love your teachers. Remember how much fun you had last week?”
“N-O-O!” Suddenly she shouted and her face was turning red. We were almost at the front door.
“Lis, just go on into class – you sister is going to walk you there – and if you’re not having fun by lunchtime, your teacher will call me.”
So when we got to the front of the drop-off line, she got out of the backseat like she was acquiescing and I breathed a sigh of relief. Then the front passenger door opened and she popped in.
OK, when I mentioned that this carpool line moved continuously, I failed to mention that if it ceased moving, for any reason whatsoever, all the sweet little mommies hopped up on Starbucks immediately transformed into New York cab drivers. They could get pretty ugly.
When she landed in the front seat, I remember saying, “What are you doing up here?” or something to that effect and wondering why I sounded like I was delivering a line from a bad horror movie.
She said something about kissing me goodbye (another red flag – she’s not a kisser) and leaned over. Well, before I could think, her hands latched onto the steering wheel like a Titanic survivor to a lifeboat. She was only 4, but she was strong.
People were honking now. I tried to reason with her for a full two minutes – I know, because I was watching the clock as it eeked closer and closer to 9:05 and the start of school. I tried to tell her that she was making ALL those kids in ALL those cars behind us tardy to school, which was really a smart idea – look, you’re just a little kid and ALL those big kids already HATE you. Now go walk in front of them so they know who to hate.
While we were talking, I was literally trying to pry her little toddler fingers off the wheel, but as soon as I’d get one hand loose, the other would grasp anew. My older daughter, she who would NEVER break a rule like being late to school, was pacing agitatedly in my peripheral vision, the pink Barbie backpack flashing with each turn.
I think it was at this point that the traffic report on the 50,000-watt, clear channel radio station mentioned that there was a long back up on Highway 22 near Goose Creek Road. That would be us and the hissing, honking housewives.
“Grab her feet and pull,” I shouted to my other daughter. No, I’m not proud of that decision, but I wasn’t thinking too clearly.
I can only imagine what the scene looked like to those behind us: A short, scrawny girl in a Barbie backpack and glasses leaning back and yanking at the feet of a child who is seemingly levitating above the front seat, parallel to the ground. And I’m not being too gentle anymore – I’m pounding on her fingers on the steering wheel.
Finally, she released and there was a blur of Barbie and Power Ranger backpacks in mid-air, my older daughter’s arms doing the backstroke as she propelled backward and the Kindergarten-bound and REALLY pissed off daughter bulleting out of the car wailing.
Then they both got up, collected their backpacks and stomped into school. It was 9:04 and I think the line behind us was too dumbfounded to honk anymore. I wheeled out of there like Patty Hearst when her banking chores were done for the day.
The next evening, her teacher called the house to see if she was OK. She said she could tell that Lis had been crying before school – and that’s all it took. Once the kid knew that the teacher cared enough to call – which I have to admit, sold me on the school all over again – things were fine.
Today she had her first day as a senior in high school. And she forgot to text me to let me know that she made it there OK this morning. I hope she got out of the car.
The good news is, she wore flip-flops. No socks.