Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Let's talk about my kids! Kid one: Banana

Banana bounces down the steps of the shiny yellow bus that has once again delivered her safely back home from her charter school two towns over. She looks tired - the trip home takes an hour - but as I watch her walk towards the van in my rear view mirror, I know that there's more to it. I know my kid. My firstborn. My big girl.

The van door slides open with a resounding thunk and she climbs in with a smile for Chunk, who yells out "SIS-TAH" in delight and then she excitedly shows me a small plastic baggie in her hand - "I found a four leaf clover at recess Mom!" she cries. And sure enough, there it is, nestled in her hand like a lucky little treasure.

"Very cool." I tell her as her seat belt clicks and I pull away from the curb towards home. "What else did you do today?"

This is all part of our routine. Every day Banana has to tell us three things that happened at school. They cannot involve what was served for breakfast, lunch, or fruit break. They can't be about friends or recess - they need to be about what she learned while she was away from me for the nine hours that I entrusted her education to the public system.

She worries her lower lip with her teeth. I wonder if she'll confess the deed that I already know about, thanks to an email from her teacher earlier in the day. But no, not just yet.

"Well...." she hems and haws "I wrote about my clover in writing workshop and I sketched a picture of it. Do you know what that means Mom?"

I allow that I do indeed know what sketching is. I sketch a mean stick figure myself on occasion.

"What else?" I press my daughter.

"Um........" she fidgets "I got picked to draw the cover on our next class story."

"That is way awesome Banana" I tell her, genuinely enthusiastic - since moving to the new school, she has had many more artistic opportunities than she was given at the old one, and she is a pretty talented little budding artist. "Did anything else happen?" I ask her, giving her one last out.

And sure enough, she takes it. "Mama, something bad kind of happened at school."

"Oh?" I prompt

"Yeah....um.....don't be mad....but I kinda got a blue card."

So there it is. The horrible truth. My kid lost her "green card" for the first time this year. It's all part of keeping 140 kids in order - every day each student begins with a green card. A fresh slate if you will. But any staff member can issue a discipline card at any time for various infractions including cussing or disrespecting a teacher or another student. After green, you get blue. After blue, you're in increasingly deeper dog doo.

So the truth is out. She breathes a huge sigh of relief and waits for my reaction.

"Well, what did you get the blue card for, honey?" I ask.

You may be asking yourself about now - what on earth did she do? Did she swear? I mean let's face it, mama talks like a sailor. Did she get into a fight? Throw rocks? Disrespect a teacher?


She got caught playing with a stray cat on the playground. A cat that she had been asked leave alone more than once. So my daughter the humanitarian and up and coming star veterinarian got a blue card. As a result, she will miss the "green card party" at the end of the month AND she had to sweat out my reaction all afternoon and throughout that long bus ride home.

Now if you know me, you know that this isn't a big deal. Concerning most things, Skippy and I are actually pretty strict but when you get right down to it, the kid was petting a cat. According to my Mom, this is because her father pets everything on four legs that comes his way. And she could be on to something. But as I (teasingly) told her, I have to let him do that so that he doesn't pet anything on TWO legs. But I jest. I really do. And I even understand the reason for the blue card - she failed to heed previous warnings. But seriously, it's not like she assaulted a fellow first grader. And the fact that she confessed it to me speaks volumes about her character and made me very proud of her honesty.

Banana is really a pretty awesome kid. She is completely over-sensitive just like her mother, but she has a kickass sense of humor that is all Dad. She also has more empathy in her little six year old body than most grown-ups I know - she was the answer to a prayer when my Dad was sick because when everyone else in the world wanted to fuss at him, she knew that Papa just needed a hug. I rely on her a lot to help me with the other two - maybe too much, a throwback to helping my Mom with my own brother and sister, but she never complains...much. She stands up for herself. She is a good friend. She does tend to embellish the occasional story, but hey no kid is perfect and we're working on it.

She is my first baby. She was the first to reach out one tiny hand to wrap around my finger in a vice-like grip, like she'd never ever let go. She was our guinea pig baby - the one you give formula too when you wanted to breastfeed because your breasts refuse to cooperate. The one you tried to put on a schedule before you realized how stupid that was. The one who was subjected to every Baby Einstein video ever released, given only educational toys, and fed only homemade baby food. And she bore it all with good grace. And when you get right down to it, she made me a mother. She brought her father and I together.

Her first word was cookie. She is a daddy's girl unless he teases her and then she comes running to mom. She is a daredevil to the point where I need to be medicated. She is a phenomenal big sister. Banana was only 17 months old when Kbear was born and she looked at that tiny bundle in confusion before she looked at me and understood that she had a new friend for life. And when the Chunker came home, no little girl was ever so gentle or so in love with a new baby brother.

She is one of a select few people that I live for. She's the reason I drag my butt out of bed at 5:45 every morning so that she can go to a better school. I run her to soccer and to birthday parties and pick her up after drama club. I bake 80 cupcakes for her birthday so that Skippy can arrange the perfect "cupcake rainbow" at her request.

When Banana was born, she changed my whole world. And I am thankful to her, every day.

Even if she did get a blue card.


kat said...

i love it!

"And when you get right down to it, she made me a mother. She brought her father and I together."

she made you guys a family :-) yay banana!

and she has a heart of GOLD. no one else is so patient and gentle with theron. i think the world of her!


mama said...

Does first grand-daughter count? Brianna is the light in my life.
I was lucky enough to be there when she came into this world.
You think having your first baby is something? Just wait Ame......
I love you.