This morning when I dropped Kavya off at school, she picked up a crappy, green piece of confetti they use for art projects. She found it in the coat closet and asked if she could have it. “It’s a jewel,” she says. I tell her she can have it.
We walk into her classroom, which has two tables, a large oblong one and a smaller, round one. Kavya walks over to the large table, where most of the kids are sitting. There are three girls sitting side by side with an assortment of Barbie dolls, large princess dolls, and some other irritating toys, as they eat breakfast. This is the popular clique of the Pre-K classroom. Kavya goes over towards one of the girls, who is quite the bossy pants –and no, I don’t mean she has leadership quality.
“You can’t sit here,” the irritating girl says.
“But I have a surprise for you,” Kavya says, her hands behind her back holding the crappy art decoration that comes in a pack of a thousand for under a dollar. The girls all turn around, intrigued.
“It’s a jewel,” Kavya says, showing them the now bent, piece of confetti.
“No it’s not.” The irritating girl takes it anyway.
Kavya comes sulking towards my leg and holds it as we sit down at the smaller table. We start negotiating breakfast. One sip of chocolate milk in exchange for six bites of her sandwich. She counters with one sip in exchange for twelve bites, which she thinks is a better deal. The eating commences. What I would like to tell my little darling as she nibbles away at her sandwich like a little gerbil is, “STOP EATING THE SANDWICH. GO GET YOUR DAMN JEWEL BACK!” Instead I say, “Would you like any grey poupon?” hilarity ensues.
One of her friends comes down from the boring long table and sits across from her at the smaller, more exclusive table. I ask this friend what book she’s reading and the entire table throws a fit about semantics.
“It’s not a book. It’s a puzzle!” they all scream at me in unison. I vehemently disagree for a few moments, until the girl dismantles it, at which point I have to admit it’s a puzzle. “Well, there’s a book in the puzzle,” I say, pointing at what turns out to be a haystack. Kavya starts karate chopping my leg and offers the girl sitting next to her my leg to karate chop. “I can only do that to my mommy and my daddy, not your daddy,” the girl says, wise beyond her years. “Yes, but my Papa is silly,” Kavya says, bolstering my already dwindling authority in the classroom. Then the irritating girl comes over with her clique. “Your jewel is lost,” she says. I eye her suspiciously. Kavya slurps her chocolate milk loudly in response.
The irritating girl goes away. I get up to leave and Kavya rushes towards me. In her hand is the now dusty, bent, confetti. “I found my jewel.” The irritating girl comes towards me as well. “It’s dirty. You should throw it away,” she says, expecting me to do what a sensible parent would do in this situation. Instead, I say, “No. It’s Kavya’s jewel. She can do what she likes with it.” Kavya beams at me, and gives the girl a “in yo face” look. I exit the classroom and Kavya yells after me. I turn back around and through the crack of the door, she passes me the jewel. “Put it in my jewelry box, Papa. So it doesn’t get lost.” I carefully bring it home in the cold, and it’s now tucked inside her jewelry box on top of the dresser.
Anyone else make a bad parenting decision just for the principle of it?