This week I’ve decided to provide readers with a few snippets that could happen at any time during a day in the life with my 5-year-old son. A glimpse, if you will, into the gift that is motherhood…
I’m driving along Interstate-84 in three lanes of moving traffic headed into Danbury and Mikey pipes up from the back seat. “Momma, I need your lipstick.”
Chapstick. He means Chapstick.
Anyway, what I say to myself is, oh heck no! He ruined the last two of mine that I let him use because he likes to over-extend the balm and smoosh the cap into it. What I say out loud to the child is, “Where is your Chapstick? The one I let you keep and told you to keep it in the cup holder back there?”
“OK, well you’re going to have to wait.”
“No, Momma, my lips are burning!”
Caving, because Heaven forbid he be uncomfortable for a few minutes, I dig my Chapstick out of my purse and hand it back to him. In the rearview mirror I see him going round and round his mouth with it, and a few minutes later he passes it back to me.
And it’s covered in orange cheesy residue from the Doritos he was eating.
“You know what, you keep it,” I say as I hand it right back.
Another one bites the dust.
Mikey and I are snuggled on the couch while he watches TV and I work on something on my laptop. He breaks my concentration with, “Here, Momma,” and I look up to see him passing me a pretzel stick.
“Oh, thanks, Buddy,” I say, and begin to much on it. “You’re such a good sharer.”
“Yeah,” he says. “I didn’t want that one.”
“Why not?” I polish it off.
“Because it was in my nose.”
Mikey loses everything we send with him to school. How he can misplace water bottles, winter coats, gloves, hats, even spare clothes is beyond me.
First it was a coat. It wasn’t an expensive one (it was one of Costco’s finest selections), but it was new. He left the end of our driveway and loaded the bus zipped in his puffy Avengers coat, and when he came home he was in his T-shirt.
“Where’s your coat?” I asked before his feet even hit the pavement as he dismounted the bus steps that afternoon.
“What do you mean, you don’t know? What do you do with it when you get to school? Did you not hang it in your cubby?”
“I dunno.” This time had ads a shoulder shrug.
An email to the teacher indicates that the coat is not in his cubby, or anywhere in the classroom, but a trip to the lost and found at the main office results in its discovery. I have no idea what happened to it or how it got there, but I guess it doesn’t matter.
The next week, it was a water bottle. Now, let me just go on a brief tangent here and say that when I was in school we didn’t carry insulated water bottles around in the event that we were thirsty and needed a cold drink. You just dealt with it. Or you put your mouth around a disgusting spigot on a public drinking fountain and brought home the plague. But, c’est la vie…
Anyway, once again, Mikey went to school with his insulated, heavy-duty Batman water bottle and returned without it. This missing item I didn’t discover until later that evening.
“Mikey, where is your water bottle?”
Waiting… waiting… waiting….
“Oh!” he shoots a pointer finger straight in the air. “It’s definitely on the bus.”
Said water bottle was “definitely” waiting for Mikey when he got on the bus the next day. The following week, however, we had a repeat of the missing coat. This time I tore into him because this whole charade was getting ridiculous. Another email to the teacher and another check of lost and found came up empty.
A few days later I was helping Mikey out of my SUV and grabbed a few reuseable shopping bags that were strewn about in the back, to hoist into the trunk, and lo and-behold there was the missing coat.
“See, Momma! I told you I didn’t lose it,” Mikey said, hands on his hips.
A few nights later we had our scheduled parent-teacher conference with Mikey’s teacher, and what was the first thing she said to us? “Oh, I’m so glad Mikey found his coat. He said it was buried under a bunch of junk in your car.”
Holly Crocco is editor of the Putnam County Times/Press and mother of a 5-year-old. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.