I spent much of the other day grumpy. But it’s tough to stay grumpy when you receive a bunch of personalized thank-you notes for volunteering from elementary school kids. My favorite volunteer job is helping in the library. I coordinate the other volunteers, too, and when I’m recruiting I always say that it’s like going on safari, because you get to see the kids in their natural environment. I find out which kids are always talking back to the teacher and which girls boss the other girls around and which friends my daughters are gravitating toward, as long as I sort of blend into the woodwork. In fact, both M and J prefer that I remain inconspicuous: they will acknowledge me in a grudgingly polite way, but even if their friends are chatting me up, I get the Death Ray Eyes if I don’t go and re-shelve some books across the room pretty quickly. I’m convinced that they secretly like it that I come. Plus I like to find out what everyone’s reading and I like to make sure that my own kids have found something good.
Anyway, for the thank yous, I think the way that our media specialist does it is that she’ll name a few different adults who’ve volunteered with the class, and then kids can pick their own thankee. So a few will be generic, but then some of them are lovely, like the one from the quiet 5th-grade girl who says that I always make her laugh, complete with a drawing re-enacting one such encounter.
Or M’s friend, whose card was hilarious, because we’d just hosted her for dinner and I’d re-told the story of how I once killed a pigeon.
It made me laugh out loud, plus the pigeon was an uncanny replica of Mo Willems’ pigeon.
M said that she learned from an awesome app called Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App, where you can compose your own stories or learn how to draw the pigeon. At $6 it’s expensive for an app, but if you’re considering it for your preschooler, imagine that 5th grade girls like to play it over and over again, and you’ll know that it’s got some longevity. And if you have a beginning reader and you’ve never checked out his Elephant and Piggie books, you must do that right away.
Best of all was my note from J, which says:
“Dear Mom, Thank you for checking out my books and telling me where books are. When you say I try to act frustrated but I’m really glad you do it. Thank you! Love, J”
I knew it. But it’s nice to know-know it. Of course, the next day I approached her at the library and she scowled, same as usual.