Liam goes to two preschools, back to back, three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So it goes without saying that this year, they had to celebrate Valentine's Day on a day other than today. And of course, both classes chose to do so the day BEFORE Valentine's. Well, actually, it shouldn't go without saying because even when told ahead of time (repeatedly) that this will be the case, some parents, naming no names, forget about it completely because it is just that kind of holiday....the kind that you can forget.....because it is
Anyway, as I was saying, after his 5-year well-visit, where he so very bravely took a shot in each arm without so much as flinching, Liam went happily off to school where they handed out their Valentines and Liam had nothing to give out. Nada. Niente. Nichts. Nihil. Zilch. Why? Because I forgot. Because apparently I am that kind of parent...Not the kind I thought I would be, you know, the one who enthusiastically stays on top of all things and has all her kids proficient at two different instruments and at least one foreign language by the time they are five. No, not that kind. Apparently I am the kind that, even with five working calendars, forgets things, like feeding their kids breakfast (which happened earlier in the week.....all the kids got ready for school while I packed lunches and put out breakfast for everyone but as I was dropping them off Lily informed me that she hadn't eaten. Like any good parent, I deflected the accountability back onto her and told her that everyone else managed to eat, why didn't she come to the table and so on and so forth and 'you'll just have to go to school hungry'.....that worked great until she felt so bad she went to the nurse's office where she proceeded to tell them that her mom didn't give her breakfast that morning. I think the kids secretly want to have weekly meetings with protective services.)
But, back to my story: Never fear, I had a second chance, a chance to redeem myself, to make it better, to go from Mommy Dearest to Mother of the Year, or at least Mom of the day....or perhaps just the hour but I'll take what I can get.
The next class was going to have a Valentine exchange complete with a parent-interactive party. I asked Liam what he wanted to give his friends and he decided on heart pencils. Cool. No problem. Except for the fact that the dollar store was all out of pencils because apparently other parents don't forget to stay on top of their kids' needs, like Valentines....and breakfast. And that is when I saw the solution: Balloons! If I walked into the party with 14 Valentines Balloons, surely that would make up for my failure as a parent!
But, I also still had a training run to fit in before the party and so instead of taking the time of getting specific balloons, I grabbed whatever blown up Valentines balloons I could find. Had Liam's class been a group of normal little girls, the mess of pink butterflies would have been totally fine.
But they are not. So, in I walk (ten minutes late) with 14 helium filled balloons disrupting the entire class which had been happily working away at various crafts and games. I sat on the floor so that I could tie a candy on the end of each string and another mom kindly came over to help as half a dozen boys congregated to watch. Pretty soon, it was time for the children to sing their songs, after which they were told they could come get a balloon.
This is where it gets a little dicey. You see, if you have ever bunched together more than two or three balloons, you know how entangled they can become. It's like trying to untangle a pot full of unbuttered pasta. Sort of. As soon as you think you have freed one, it just gets wrapped up with another and pretty soon you fling your hands in the air and go about looking for something to use to put yourself out of your misery instead.
At any rate, there I was, trying to untangle the balloons. One kid wanted a red one and after ten minutes, I finally freed it and off he went. One of the two girls in the class asked for the only green frog (seriously, why not the pink butterfly? Why?) Another five tongue biting minutes of untangling and I was able to give her the frog. It went on like that until I was down to two bears and six butterflies. And there were four little boys. (And as many toe-tapping, half irritated, half amused parents.) The teacher came over to help me at this point and within maybe four minutes, amidst the hollering, pointing, whining and tugging of 4 year olds, I was able to give one of the bears away. Then, that boy's little brother came up wanting a bear balloon just like his brother. But there were two little boys from the class who also wanted the last bear balloon. I gently told the baby brother that he could have a butterfly which sent him into an absolute fit. He went crying back to his glaring mom as if I had just stolen his favorite stuffed animal and fed it to the rabbit and then pinched him. Twice. I apologized profusely and tried to give him a butterfly balloon, which apparently was demonic because he wouldn't even look at it and he proceeded to throw salt over his shoulder. Meanwhile, his older brother came in screaming and crying because he had managed to pop his bear balloon and he now wanted the other one. Again, I apologized and told him only one bear balloon per family, but here, have a butterfly. Their mother dragged her two screaming, balloon-less sons from the room as the teacher and I wrestled with balloon strings for another five minutes. At which point I just popped them all with a pasta fork and sent the rest of the kids home crying.
No, not really. Although I felt like it. So, twenty-five of the most chaotic minutes later, all the kids had balloons and were gone. And the teachers and I just had to laugh because, what the hell just happened?
I ruined Valentine's Day, that's what. And you know what else? Frankly, my dear, I don't give a.........because my kids are totally stoked to have a beautiful pink butterfly balloon to torture until it pops. At which point, I will never buy another balloon again. Ever.
Happy Valentine's Day.