Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Squeaky Wheel

Today was parent appreciation day at school.  While I fully support any event that appreciates parents, I wonder why one has to get everyone up and out of the house 10 minutes early to do so.

This morning we were a little pressed for time because none of us got up 10 minutes early. Sydney was eating breakfast. I was already pressing her not to dawdle, as is her want. 

It is then that she informs me that it is Mrs. K's birthday and she would like to make her teacher a card.  How can I say no to this. 

Because Sydney makes multiple cards for every occasion (I received birthday cards from January to April), we actually had markers and paper at the ready.  She got to work while I looked for birthday stickers to adorn the card. If I didn't find stickers, I knew that ellaborate illustrations would be required. And delays.

I'd be begging her to wash her face and her response would be "but don't you want the sun to have a smiley face on Mrs. K's birthday card?"  or "you can't blame me for wanting to put some nice balloons on Mrs. K's card" or "Mrs. K deserves a card that has lots of cake on it".

She actually made fast work of the card and a little encouragement, hustle and focus and we were at the car just a minute to two behind schedule (or actually 8 minutes ahead of schedule).  We were a couple blocks from home when Sydney said "did you bring Mrs. K's card?"

"No." I said tensely and dug my finger nails into the steering wheel.

Thursdays are my 'late' workday. I drop the kids off at school, I go into Sydney's class for family reading or math and then bolt to the van to beetle it downtown to work.  Because this morning I was going to be appreciated in two different classes, I was going to be even later. And I'm swamped at work and I had a meeting that I was not ready for and my office really needed a lot of tidying if I was going to have a business visitor.

Sydney read my mind and said "It's okay Mommy. I'll give it to her tomorrow."

My heart melted. "Thank you Sydney." I exhaled.  What a gift.

"I'll be able to decorate it extra tonight." She was mostly convincing herself that this was the best plan.

I went through appreciation rituals with both kids. Enjoyed snacks on two levels of the school.  Sydney's class sang a song and each child said what they appreciated about their parents.  Jackson brought me to the computer lab where he showed me some of the work he had done and showed me his artwork up on the walls.

I left satisfied that both kids had appreciated me sufficiently.  I ran to the car, wanting to get to work as fast as I could.  My minds was already putting together a long to do list.  I was at the van when I decided  I had to make one stop first.

I had had a strong uneasy feeling ever since Sydney said she didn't need Mrs. K's birthday card.  I knew that if Jackson had gone to the effort of making a card and we had forgotten it at home,  he would have gone ballistic. I would have very quickly offered to go home and get the card just to keep him on a (somewhat) even keel. But I didn't do that for the Girlie Goo.  I took her up on her obliging offer.  Her keel is already even.

There is little I hate more than squeaky wheels getting the grease. Or rather, only squeaky wheels getting the grease while the non squeaky ones go greaseless.

It is hard with one child more emotional than the other to not let those emotions determine a lot of things in the family. I do try hard to prevent Sydney from being short-changed in life. I don't think anything is ever equal for kids in any family.  Different needs, ages, dispositions and outlooks make that impossible.  But I try to make things equivalent.

But today, the non squeaky wheel got a little grease in the form of a specially delivered birthday card.

(Happy Birthday Mrs. K!)

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