Sometimes, things don't go exactly as planned.
Last Sunday, with the boys down for their naps, I began laying out all the things Adelaide would need to assemble her Valentines for school. Her teacher was organized enough to have sent home a printed list of her classmates' names, so thankfully all we had to do was cut them out and paste them to the Valentines. I carefully laid out all the materials we would need, assembly line-style, so that Adelaide and I could whip through this task and move on with our day.
What I forgot to plan for was Adelaide.
We purchased one of those slim boxes of pre-made Valentines weeks ago; the kind with eight different designs on the cards to choose from, where all you have to do is tear them apart on the perforated line, fill in the "To" and "From," and seal closed with a sticker. With 19 kids in her class, I knew it wouldn't be a five-minute chore, but also figured it wouldn't take anywhere near an hour.
And I was right. It wasn't anywhere near an hour. It was closer to two hours before we had finally finished.
I detached all the cards from each other, lined them up, cut out all her classmates' printed names, laid them out, and told Adelaide to choose which card would go to which person. I would attach the names, and she could sign her own name. Simple and efficient.
I knew I was in trouble when, eight minutes later, she was still hemming and hawing over which card was exactly right for which friend.
"I can't give that card to Tristan because it's too girly... so I guess he can have this one. But wait! That one says 'best friend,' and we're not really best friends... so maybe this one... but that won't work, either! He hates pink, and the exclamation point on that one is pink! Let's see here..."
I tried explaining to Adelaide that her classmates really weren't going to be upset if the punctuation on their Valentine was in an offending color, nor were they going to be looking for hidden meanings in what she was really trying to say if she gave them a card that read, "You sparkle, Valentine!"
She disagreed, and proceeded in a supremely slow and tedious fashion, picking just the right message for just the right person. 19 times.
At one point, I mused aloud about how thankful I was that our two other children were boys, who were sure not to put so much thought into something as simple as Kindergarten Valentines. Adelaide disagreed, and two hours later, even after we had finished, continued to argue with me about it. She just can't let things go, sometimes. (I'm not sure where she gets this- it's certainly not from me. I take a much healthier route, and lock things up tight in a dark corner of my mind. I'm saving up for a whopper of a mid-life crisis. You should start praying for Derek now.)
By yesterday afternoon, I thought she may have finally forgotten about it, when she yelled down the stairs.
"MOM! Come up here!"
"How do you say that politely in a sentence?" How many times do I say that in a single day?
"MOM, CAN YOU PLEASE COME UP HERE?"
"Certainly, my sweet, darling daughter."
What she had to show me was nothing new. It was her two brothers, playing with one of their very favorite toys. A few years ago, Adelaide received a microphone that you can sing into, or push one of two buttons, and it will play a song from the movie High School Musical 3. Adelaide has played with it a few times, but really hasn't taken too much interest in it.
Our boys, on the other hand, love it. They rarely press button #1, which would give them a fast, up-tempo song; instead, they nearly always press #2, the button that plays "Can I Have This Dance?", a ballad that sets them to slowly swaying. They fight over this toy, and who will get to croon into the microphone along with the syrupy teenage music.
Adelaide pointed at Atticus, who was singing along, getting about one word in ten correct.
"See? Boys do girl things, sometimes."
"Adelaide, we are not still talking about this."
"That's because I'm right."
I'm getting seriously frightened about what the future holds for Adelaide and me; oh, say, about ten years into the future.
Maybe you should pray for me, too.