I took the kids to a PTA-sponsored reading activity this morning, where they gave out donuts and juice and a (very) few prizes for those (very few) kids who were reading.
Alex (11) had a student council meeting to direct, so he grabbed a donut and a cup of milk and headed for the library.
Kendra (10) grabbed a donut and started reading immediately. (She was the only child of mine who “earned” a reading prize. Naturally.)
Hannah (7) found us a space of floor about two inches away from a group of her classmates. She opened a book to make it look like she was participating, but spent 20 minutes chatting with her friends. Then she spent the next 10 minutes asking me if she could go say hello to this friend in that corner, and that friend up on the stage, and this friend’s parent out in the hallway, and a teacher she saw walk into the office. After 30 minutes of “reading”, she was still on page 1 of her Fancy Nancy book.
Anthony (5) munched his donut while listening intently to the story I was reading, and occasionally looked around in awe at all the students. (There is hope for this kid after all. Maybe I WON’T be getting phone calls every day after school from his teacher next year!)
My niece Abbie (3) laid on the ground and made dust angels. Then she rolled around like a bug, while we tried to rescue drinks and backpacks and other people from her flailing. When I made her come and sit in my lap, she took great pleasure in standing up and jumping backwards onto my stomach, which neither myself nor the baby appreciated in the slightest little bit. Then she painted herself with donut glaze, which required a trip to the bathroom and half a roll of paper towels to clean up.
When we got back from the sink, Anthony had finished looking at the book I was reading him, Kendra looked up in confusion and said, “Did you leave? I didn’t even notice! Where did you go?”, and Hannah waved at me from across the gym, where she was chatting up the moms at the food table, and probably telling them things like “My mom’s baby is now as long as a carrot, and it’s growing this little hair so thick white stuff can stick to its skin.” (Because everyone who is not in my immediate family is dying to know these things, obviously, and she takes her job as informant VERRRRRY seriously.)
Alex’s meeting was a short one, so he made his way back to the gym, where he managed to snag an extra donut. He came and stood in our general vicinity, trying to walk that fine line of pretending his family doesn’t exist without hurting his mom’s feelings. He was saved by the bell, and I managed to make fleeting eye contact before he was out the door. The book he brought never even made it out of his backpack.
Kendra sighed, picked up her napkin and empty cup, and was out the door with a quick goodbye. Her nose was still in her book.
Hannah ran over to me and said, “But I didn’t even have enough time to eat my donut! Or read even one page! They should really make these things longer!” (At which point I rolled my eyes so hard, I think they orbited the earth.) I hope she was able to take a few bites of donut before school started, but she made her way out the door in a cluster of her friends, so I highly doubt it. I mean, who can take the time to eat when it’s been TWO WHOLE MINUTES since you last talked to your BFF’s?
Anthony helped me pick up some abandoned cups and napkins, while Abbie ran in circles around the gym.
We were home by 9:05 AM, and yet? I feel like I’ve put in a full day’s work.
I prefer my reading with a side of relaxation, thank you very much, with peace and quiet for dessert.