I got an e-mail from Skadi’s teacher yesterday.
My daughter is opposite my son – she is a food snob and wants nothing to do with the school lunches. “Their cheese pizza is gross mommy, it doesn’t taste anything like what pizza should.” So every day I pack her a lunch. She is also a milk fiend. We have been out of milk boxes and I have been a slacker about going and buying more (plus, they are freaky expensive) and so lately I have been sticking her milk in a sealed cup of some sort – a Sigg, a Camelback mug, something of that nature.
Well I won’t be doing that anymore!
Her teacher e-mailed me letting me know that her milk spilled in her lunchbox, which was in her backpack. She “instructed me” to wash her bag tonight and told me that she wouldn’t send home her library book or folders or any work until the backpack was washed since there was an odor.
Nearly all my communications with her teacher are via e-mail and I have to say that the first third of the year went by with me bristling every time I got an e-mail from her. Her written communications aren’t the best. Then I had Skadi’s parent teacher conference and my opinion of her changed – she was warm and friendly and actually seemed to like and appreciate my daughter and her strange sense of fashion and wow, she really is a VERY, VERY smart little girl (too bad she doesn’t choose to show it very often)! Then I got the choppy e-mail from her regarding the milk incident and I tried hard not to bristle again.
I responded that the bag would get washed tonight and I was sorry to hear about the spilled milk and left it at that.
Then Skadi got home.
“Mom, my library book got ruined and Mrs. W said that we have to PAY for it!” she tells me.
At this point I am confused – there was no mention of the ruined library book in the e-mail. But Skadi is adamant that she needs to pay for it. So I send back a quick e-mail – “Skadi tells me her library book was ruined by the milk. Obviously we will pay for this, please tell me who I should contact to send a check to or to plan for a replacement book.” And she replied quickly with a name – and yes, the library book was ruined.
Ok, so all that is dealt with despite my being a little irksome that the ruined book wasn’t mentioned the first time around, we are moving on. Then there is bedtime.
I went in and Skadi had all her change piled onto her bed and proceeded into a conversation I would NEVER have with my money-grubbing son.
“What is this for?” I ask her.
“I am getting all my money together to take to school to pay for the library book,” she tells me.
“No honey, mommy will pay for the library book,” I tell her, grabbing the change to put it away.
“No. Mrs W says that I will have to pay for it and I AM going to!” she grabs the money back.
“Honey, mommy will pay for the book, when Mrs. W says that you will have to pay, she means ‘your family’”, (or at least she dang well better mean that).
“No mommy, I have my money, I will pay,” she insists again.
“Skadi no,” I tell her. “You are my daughter, I am responsible. You save your money.”
“But mommy, I don’t want to waste your money,” she cries.
“You aren’t wasting it honey!” I tell her, “I was the one who packed the milk in the leaky cup.”
“Yes, you are right, you did do that, it wasn’t me,” she said.
The conversation went on a bit longer as I finally got her to accept that *I* would pay for the book and that she wouldn’t.
I left impressed with my daughter’s determination to pay for the ruined book, something we are pushing with our kids "take responsibility", but at the same time dismayed at her teacher. Why does she tell Skadi she needs to pay for a book, but didn’t convey that to me in the e-mail? She is 5 years old, the spilled milk was an accident, but it made a strong impact on her day. Why, oh why, could she not have dealt directly with me on something that was ruined and needed replaced?
I think I am back to bristling at my interactions with her – starting to think the conference meeting was a good show put on for my benefit.