Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Yesterday and yesterdays

Yesterday was going to be the best day ever, according to my six-year-old daughter because it started out with snow on the ground, would wind its way to bought lunch (baked potato) and finish with dinner at The Olive Garden. (Lately, Tuesday is our night out for dinner because that's my busiest work day.)

So, how did it really go? Well, they don't offer cottage cheese as a topping for baked potato at school, so she had to eat it plain, and she got a check mark for leaving her textbook at home, but all in all, it was pretty good.

She forgot her textbook because I'm a working mom. These days first graders get homework. In our case it's a short story to read, write a few sentences about and draw and color a picture, plus about three front-and-back math worksheets. It comes home on Monday and is due on Thursday. The short story, in the form of a paperback, is due back Monday, but upon request can be sent home again. To avoid that hassle, I make Emma do the reading part of her homework on Monday.

(Are you with me? Wake up!)

In addition to all this, she must read or be read to 15 minutes a night. Occasionally, the teacher sends home a textbook to help this along. Naturally, we forgot about the extra reading assignment that night, so she read it Tuesday morning, but forgot to put it back in her backpack. Long story short (I know--too late!) she got a check mark.

Along comes little brother, "My Ol' Gummer got a check mark, too!" Ol' Gummer is his imaginary friend. I'm delighted one of my children has an imaginary friend. I had one at about the age of 6 or 7, but I was completely conscious of the fact that I was making her up, so I don't think she really counted. Her name was Penelope and she shot hoops with me.

Brendan has had many imaginary friends since he was 2. When first caught talking to one, and asked for the friend's name, he slowly let out, "Tchummer." That evolved into Gummer, which evolved into Ol' Gummer and his better counterpart New Gummer. Ol' Gummer is responsible for pushing, shoving, talking out of turn and getting check marks. In short, anything that goes wrong is Ol' Gummer's fault. New Gummer is a prince among men and often counsels Ol' Gummer on his behavior.

I've threatened many a time to call Ol' Gummer's mother if his behavior doesn't improve. And I still might.

Emma, conscious of the fact that she's the only kid without an imaginary friend, whips out Mr. Nobody--a rip off from a preschool cartoon called Little Bear. I shouldn't call it a rip off. Borrowing ideas is a great way to learn and be creative, but Mr. Nobody really only comes out when Ol' Gummer does, which is on the way home from school with Emma telling me about her day, and also when she upsets her brother, which is often lately as she's learned what fun it is to mess with a preschooler.

Speaking of preschool cartoons, my three-year-old's thirst for knowledge has moved them to commercial television. He learned how to use the TV before she did. So now, I get "Mom, there's a new purse that has a place for your cell phone and your keys and a special place for your wallet, and if you hurry you can get it before they run out!" Cute from a six-year-old; hilarious from a three-year-old.

I LOVE this because I wanted my mom to buy such a purse when I was a kid watching commercials sandwiched between reruns of That Girl and The Galloping Gourmet. The purse I wanted Mom to buy had a special place for sunglasses, and a key chain that you could snap on the inside. Oh! The organizational benefits!

Mom was not interested. She wanted a big open bag hanging from her shoulder. She hated pockets. Ah, well. We're not all organization freaks. In fact, I hardly am anymore. I had to let all that go in order to get along with people.

One day, however, one day--yes!--the world will bow to me my designs and lay straight and orderly as it is intended to!

And if not? Well, maybe Penelope will. Thanks for stopping by.



Anonymous Papa Ken said...

Thanks for a nostalgic and insightful look into your family life. I loved it.

5:21 AM  
Blogger Dana said...

Gosh, Nancy, for some reason this is a profoundly sweet and thoughtful post. And mostly it makes me happy you let your little one keep his imaginary friend. Too often parents attempt to stop this 'foolishness' not realizing what a great and gentle part of childhood it is.

Yay Brendan, and 'Ol and New Gummer!

11:23 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Too often parents attempt to stop this 'foolishness'

Interesting. The thought would not have occurred to me to rain on that parade. I find it fascinating and wonderfully metaphorical.

6:41 PM  
Anonymous allan...maybe said...

Your writing is flowing along so nicely. Kind of like finding your cruising speed, or finding your voice, something like that. Whatever one calls it, it's been a pleasure to see it happening over time. Well done, girl.


[I'm not taking a chance this time with that missing name problem! I'm putting right here in the text box. Hi, Mike in SA.]

9:25 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Thanks, allan. Nice to see you.

10:23 AM  

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