Friday, March 23, 2012

A Blip on Princess's Happy Day Radar

Today started like any other Friday.  It was Spirit Day at school and the theme was mix & match or "cool colors" day-- whatever that means.  Princess came down to breakfast dressed in her favorite yellow dress, which she usually wears on Monday.  Surprised by this anomaly, I asked what the special occasion was.  "This is the coolest colored thing in my closet so I had to wear it today.  It's beautiful!"  Not wanting to tell her I thought "cool" meant wintery colors, I told her she'd be the coolest kid in her class.

Before she ate, I pulled her hair up into "Tails the Two-tailed Fox Tails", aka pigtails for the uninitiated.  (Tails the Two-tailed Fox is her very very favorite character on the Sonic X cartoon and her obsession now for nearly 18 months.)  When I finished doing her hair, I was surprised that there were no complaints that one pigtail was tighter than the other.  We don't often do pigtails because Princess doesn't like it when one feels tighter than the other.  Somedays you just can NOT adjust them properly no matter what you do, and that is valuable getting-ready-for-school time that is lost.

So far Friday had been all sunshine and rainbows.  How could this be possible?!  Usually by 7am on Friday, I am already counting down the minutes until I can blend up Mommy's special smoothie with a kick!  Who is this happy child and what did she do with my Friday morning Princess?!

Princess's bouquet from her Prince Charming
Princess's school day was mostly uneventful too.  Smooth sailing all the way, with a little spark of happy excitement at recess when P's boyfriend gave her flowers he picked himself.  Teachers that saw her receive the sweet gift said she trembled with excited (imagine balled up fists by her face, a perfect O-shaped mouth, and a machine gun-like hooting sound coming from her.)  She then looked lovingly at the flowers like they were the best gift ever.  Who knew that three tiny blossoms from a Bradford Pear tree could mean so much to a second grader?!

Aside:  I know you're confused.  You're thinking, isn't this the kid you bribed using macaroni to work with boys in class?!  Yup.  One and the same.  She and her boyfriend have been special to each other since first grade.  I imagine the reason Princess doesn't feel the need to work with boys is because she doesn't need boys as friends-- she already has the most important boy that's a friend, and she gets along with him just fine-- most of the time.  :)

At the very end of Princess's perfectly perfect day is when things got a little hairy for a few minutes.  My daughters' school participates in a program called Reading Buddies.  Reading Buddies pairs older students at the school with younger ones for peer guided reading practice.  Most of the students really seem to enjoy the program.  The little ones love having an older friend at school and the older students seem to enjoy mentoring the little kids.  My Princess is really possessive of her RB and doesn't like sharing her 5th grade friend with anyone else.  They also, apparently, have a routine-- that didn't go according to plan today.  As Princess was being walked back to class today by her RB, their walk was interrupted by afternoon announcements.  Princess's RB was giving her a hug (a very important part of the departing RB routine).  At the same time, another student grabbed Princess's buddy and gave her a tug, making P feel off balance-- and, therefore, very VERY angry.  I just happened to be close by and I heard the sound-- the Apache war cry sound Princess makes just before she eviscerates her perceived foe.

Now normally when I am working at the school, I make it a practice to stay away during Princess's meltdown sessions.  It doesn't usually help matters for me to step in at school (for lots of reasons) and P needs to learn to let someone else help her handle sticky situations.  I knew from experience, however, that the poor unfortunate child that that screech was aimed at didn't have a chance in the world if someone didn't intervene, and fast.  I rounded the corner at the same moment that Princess's classroom teacher came flying out to the scene.  We arrived to only a small amount of chaos-- mainly because all the students witnessing the event seem too scared to move.  There, in the middle of the hall, in her beautiful springy yellow dress and pigtails, was a very red-faced, very pissed off Princess.  Her fists were balled up-- in the angry way, not the I-just-got-flowers-from-my-Prince way.  Her head was tilted back to maximize the volume of air she could push out of her lungs in one blast.  Her eyes were scrunched up.  Her voice was turned up to maximum level.  When she heard grown-ups arriving on the scene, Princess stopped screeching long enough to scan the crowd around her and find her offender.  Spotting the girl that just ruined her special moment with her Reading Buddy, Princess raised her finger to point at her.  At the top of her lungs, Princess announced to the world "That black girl tried to steal my Reading Buddy!"

Ooooh... that sounded really, really bad.  Remember the countdown to Mommy's special smoothie?  It was back on that very second, with an accelerated timer.

So, how do you undo that?  In the words of Billy Crystal's character in When Harry Met Sally, "it's ALREADY out there!"  Now I know for a fact that Princess didn't mean anything derogatory or hateful with her words, regardless of the vehemence with which she uttered them.  She was merely describing very literally a child that she did not know who has black skin.  Most of the little kids at the scene of the crime also seemed unaffected by this choice of words.  The older kids looked a little more concerned.  Oh crud!  How is this going to splatter when it hits the fan?  I grew up in an area where this would have been an unforgivable thing to say out loud, so I tensed up, afraid that Princess may have unintentionally offended someone.  Hopefully the fifth graders that were present will realize no harm was meant, but we'll have to wait and see.  Thankfully, Princess's teacher was already diffusing the situation and pointing the outstretched finger toward the floor.

A few moments later, while Princess was still crying and being calmed down by her teacher, the intercom came on to announce today's Mystery Teacher.  The Mystery Teacher described earlier in the day just happened to be Princess's teacher.  When this announcement was made, Princess shifted 180º mid-sob and began cheering for her teacher like she'd just won the Super Bowl!  This shift in mood was like watching Linda Blair's head spin in circles-- I couldn't believe what I was seeing!  The whole event, from hugging her buddy to cheering for her teacher, lasted maybe 3 minutes.  Princess was led back to her class to pack up for the day.  By the time I saw her again, she was all sunshine and rainbows again.  How does she do that?

Meanwhile, my heart is still racing from the utter mortification I am feeling.  I hope the student Princess yelled at will take her words with a grain of salt.  I hope that she is able to see the situation from the eyes of a second grader with an unusual view of the way things are.  I hope my blender is working...

Regardless of how this situation turns out, I have had to add a new item to the list of social etiquette lessons that my girls will have to endure.  One day they will thank me... or not.  More likely, one day one of you will thank me.

1 comment:

  1. Ha,ha,ha, you have such a gift for retelling events. Hope you enjoyed your mommy smoothie!!!