Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Flat Stanley, King Tut, and my Mother

Yesterday, for approximately the 500th time, Adelaide did this adorable thing where she says, "Oh, I almost forgot!" then went hunting through different backpack pockets and coat and jacket pockets until she finally unearthed a crumpled piece of paper.  Last week the paper was her latest standardized test results that she had previously thought lost until she remembered that "Oh, yeah!  I forgot I put it in the toe of my shoe so that I wouldn't lose it!"  And sure enough, there it was:  Folded into the smallest possible size and stuffed into the toe of a shoe in her backpack.  Because... folders are for losers?  She's the Anti-Franklin Covey?  Please do not ask me to explain this, because I can't, despite the fact that she gets this penchant for, ahem, non-traditional organizational methods from yours truly.  You should see the top of my dresser.  It causes deep despair in the heart of my husband.

Last night's unearthed document was a letter from Adelaide's teachers to parents.  In it, there was a request for the name and address of whichever family member you most want to exact revenge upon, because the person you volunteer was about to get a homework assignment from some random teacher in Iowa.  (Note:  Not the exact wording used in the letter.  I'm translating its message into the Language of Truth.)

Had I seen this paper anywhere close to the time it was first sent home, I would have been able to ask various family members if they pretty pretty please wouldn't mind receiving a "flat child" (don't ask) in the mail from our daughter, then carting this thing around different places in their area, taking pictures with it, and sending the pictures and a letter describing the "flat child's" vacation back to us.  (See?  HOMEWORK.)  Because I only saw this last night and the name and address of an out-of-state family member was due TODAY, I wasn't able to call around and grovel and beg; instead I did what you do when you don't know what to do:  I scribbled down my mom's name and address.

I probably should have felt a little more guilty about this, but instead laughed and burbled with relief:  I didn't have to do anything, wheeeee!  Please keep in mind it is March which means I am SO DONE with school projects and forcing myself to care about our children's education, something I will have to hide during this week's Parent Teacher Conferences.  Also remember Adelaide came home two days ago and announced she had to pick a pre-1950 historical figure to research and create a costume for, and her choice, from which she would not be moved, was Tutankhamun.  My grand plans for her metamorphosis into King Tut so far involve copious amounts of black eyeliner and that is all, because they did not cover ancient Egyptian royalty in either the Psychology or in the Spanish I studied in college.  Could I interest her in Carl Jung?  Perhaps Quetzalcoatl?

Step One:  Spray paint her face gold.  Step Two:  Pierce and insert guages into her ears.  Step Three:  This is an impossible costume.

I soothed my twinging conscience over volunteering my mother for this project by telling myself that it's good for my mom to have periodic reminders as to why this stage in her life- that of kids out of the house, grandkids coming for visits- is so wonderful; not that she seems to need reminding- she frequently tells my sisters and me that this time in her life is SO GREAT, grandchildren are so much easier than actual children!  I would feel resentful of this, but you see, I was there for my childhood and adolescence, and I think Kelli and Steph would agree that Mom has earned these years.  (Hey, Kelli, remember that time we went down to the old highway and I taught you how to play "Chicken" with passing cars and, to break up the tedium of risking our lives in front of motorized vehicles, I coaxed you into tight-fitting drainage tunnels?  Remember how a neighbor ratted on us and told Mom, whose face turned a color I can only describe as "puce"?  Good times.)

Really, though, Adelaide and her class are lucky- God only knows what kind of photos my mom will send back!  They could be of local landmarks, like... um... the statue of a sad angel outside of mom's school?  Or they could just as likely be of whatever injuries have come into her office that day; Mom seems to forget that not everyone appreciates a good infected open sore as much as she does.  It's like Russian Roulette:  The Pus Edition.  You are welcome, Iowa schools.


  1. This has got to be a future blog post--I cannot wait to see Small Town through your mother's eyes, even the pus-bedazzled corners.

  2. I CAN'T WAIT! Oh, the opportunities that are going through my mind right now......

  3. First off, that is an EXCELLENT blog post title.

    Flat Stanley gets mailed to an unsuspecting grownup - just how is this educational? When my kids were in preschool we had to document our week with an elephant pillow, but the elephant stayed with our family, so it was our homework.

    I know it is selfish of me, but I hope your Mom goes to town with this homework assignment, and uses her chance to educate the class and rest of us on childhood injuries, local statuary, and/or the deficiencies of the local bridges. (Please, please, please do a blog post.)

    I hope Adelaide understands that pre-1950 means 1950 C.E. (or A.D. if you prefer). Seems like she has picked someone that was pre-1950 B.C.E. Sadly, that cut-off date means she can't go as Elvis.

  4. I got the Flat Luke message after I was off of the mainland 48 and trying to forget my children for just 1 week. So I signed his aunt in NC up for the job. They're newleyweds (I heave with the best of them at open wounds pics but young marrieds? Oh gosh- just the thought- GAG!) and have lots of energy and ideas and time and love... You get the picture.
    Tip on wax museum person- help persuade her to pick a person that eventually all three can do. Then any money you do spend on this (it's fun and the kids get a kick out of the whole thing) will be well spent. Luke chose Ben Franklin which is fortuitous since I PAID through the nose for shipping on that costume!

  5. You really MUST do a blog post on Flat Stanley's adventures.

    I keep thinking I should do this project with my youngers, but I haven't managed to work up the ambition yet.

  6. I need a Helen Keller costume if you get all crafty! And our Stanley also was introduced while I was out of the country (along with Helen being chosen) so maybe I should enlist gma to help out too!


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