J is a Star, and I am Not

This morning began with a parenting fail. The girls left for school, and I sat down at my desk and looked at my calendar to try to plan meals for the week. Turns out we have dinner-interfering plans every single night, which has been a trend lately. I also noticed that I’d completely blown off “Star of the Week.” In J’s first-grade class, each student has one splendid week in which he or she is the star. A paper crown and line leadership is involved, and of course, every day the child can share an item or an activity. We’d been discussing and planning her “Star of the Week” (SotW) week for a month. But I was wallowing in bed for much of the weekend, and it had entirely slipped my mind.

When I realized that I’d sent my daughter out of the house with nothing remotely stellar beyond her personality, I had a minor freak-out. I moaned, ran in a circle, gnashed my teeth, emailed the teacher, and went plunging into our homework cabinet in search of the instructions that I’d intended to look at more closely on Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Lucky for me, J had already carefully printed her list of favorite things on the cut-out shapes provided for her special SotW display. Now that I think of it, the teacher’s modified the once free-form SotW poster-making process since M was in her class, probably because some kids’ parents would forget entirely, while others would go all out with a tri-fold presentation board, glitter, and 8×10 studio portraits. I felt quite thankful for the modification. It meant that the only extra items I needed were two pictures of J, either alone or with family. These days the vast majority of our photos live on the computer or in adorable books that Cute W makes. So I was literally running through the house, emptying frames and pulling items off bulletin boards. And just this morning I was grouching about how people say “literally” when they mean “it was almost like.” I was running. Up and down the stairs. And taking apart picture frames, like the one of the three of us on my dresser. It was a pure I’m-A-Terrible-Mother adrenaline rush. I delivered the favorite things and a pile of pictures (so she could choose her favorites) to the school, then sat down and tried some deep breathing before settling down to breakfast.

After that, I ran some errands. Unexpectedly, I purchased a bathing suit. It turns out that the tail end of an illness that’s made you nauseated and unwilling to eat for two days is the Perfect Time to tackle that task. Well, no matter what, anything beats going into the dressing room with a preschooler (and if you don’t remember this post, your should really just click over). I showed up for my volunteer library time with J’s class at noon and was relieved to find her completely un-traumatized.

Tomorrow’s activity? M’s going to visit her class. Apparently an elder sibling visited M’s class when she was a first grader, and M’s been wanting to come back for J ever since. M even composed a special song that she intends to sing. J is thrilled, and I’d desperately like to videotape the occasion, but I know that they’ll both have more fun without me. That’s okay. I get to visit later in the week, as long as I promise to bring brownies.


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