Valentine Woes

Goody bags! All I wanted was goody bags!

Last Halloween, I bought Halloween pencils for Lily to give to all her classmates. I figured they would get plenty of candy from other sources. I thought the other kids might pass out a candy bar. Instead, many of the kids passed out elaborate treat bags with candy, stickers, little crayons or notepads. I felt guilty that all my kid passed out was a lousy pencil. You know, like those T-shirts that say “My Grandma went to Fort Lauderdale and all I got was this lousy T-shirt.” (What else is there to buy in Fort Lauderdale?)

So I resolved to do better for the Valentine’s Day party. Lily and I picked out Valentines in January, and on Monday we bought candy for the goody bags I planned to put together. Walmart didn’t have any goody bags, so we couldn’t cross that item off our list.

I don’t like dragging my kids to more than one or two places a day. Whenever I’ve tried to go to three stores, all in one outing, the girls have huge meltdowns, and so do I. I think we successfully went to three stores once. We bought Lily a winter coat at one store, looked for snow boots at one store and failed, and found boots at the third store. Whew! AND it was snowing. Nothing like waiting ’til the last minute!

So, goody bags. We went to Michael’s on Wednesday, and there were no goody bags to be found. They had only one tiny section of Valentine’s Day items for 50% off, and all the Easter stuff was out instead. Oh, well, those crafty types must buy things way in advance. It was only February 11, for crying in the beer!

The grocery store was the next stop. The goody bags were on the very top shelf, and a man on a cell phone was taking some down. (Please, please leave some for us!) As he let me look at the bags, Lily told me they weren’t pretty enough. The man was very nice, and told us that those were the only bags they had; he had already looked all over the store. I showed Lily how cute they were. “Look, they have a little teddy bear on them!”

“But they don’t have a handle! They have to have a handle!” And she started to cry.

I was not very compassionate, sad to say. I was tired,(I’m always tired) wet (it was raining; did I mention that?) and Emmy needed her nap. I simply said, “These are what we’re buying; let’s go.” (We had reached our two store limit.)

When we got home and opened the bags, Lily decided she liked them. During Emmy’s nap we assembled them, and the next day Lily had a nice treat for her classmates.

Aren’t they cute?

Preschool Paradise

This is a little story about how my mind works. Or doesn’t work, as the case may be.

A few minutes before I was about to leave to pick Lily up from preschool, one of the other moms called. She told me there was a huge accident in front of the school, so I should leave early to pick Lily up. The school is on the corner of a busy intersection, and is pretty isolated. There’s a construction site on one corner, a gas station across the street, and kitty corner to the school is a retention pond. The school is surrounded by park district land. The only driveway into the school parking lot is on the street that had been blocked off due to the accident.

There. Way more details than you needed, right?

So as I’m about to leave, I’m busy thinking. What if I have to park somewhere else, and walk to pick up Lily? I throw the stroller in the car, grab our boots, and buckle Emmy in her car seat. However, my mind keeps going. This is not so good. I think, well, if we’ll need to walk anyway, why drive at all? When the weather is nice, we walk there all the time.

I take the stroller out, the boots out, and Emmy out. I grab a quilt from inside the house to wrap around Emmy’s legs, put her in the stroller, and off we go.

Emmy thinks this is a great idea. She loves being outside, and it’s relatively warm; about 25 degrees. (We’ve had very cold weather lately!)

I’m tooling down the sidewalk, thinking most of the way will be pretty clear. We still have a lot of snow on the ground, but it hasn’t snowed for a while, so most everybody has had time to clear their sidewalks.

I’m in luck, the sidewalks aren’t too bad.

I get to the busy street, the one that’s blocked off. I can see the firetrucks and tow trucks from where I am, and I think, maybe this isn’t such a great idea.

Then I get closer, and realize that no one will have cleared the sidewalk by the construction site. There’s still a foot of snow on the sidewalk, and I can’t carry Emmy through that all the way to the school. I see cars in the school parking lot, and realize I could detour around the accident to pick up Lily.

So I turn around, not sure what time it is. I start to run. Emmy squeals in delight. The neighbors must think I’m crazy. This is not a jogging stroller, just a regular, old travel-system type stroller. I go on the street so I can push faster. I’m really out of breath, though, so I have to slow down anyway.

I reach our house, throw Emmy in the car. I really should have the school’s number programmed in my cell phone.

After weaving my way through side streets, I reach the blocked off the street on correct side of the accident. The police officer waves me through after asking if I’m going to the school. I’m only five minutes late, and am not the last parent to arrive. The teachers were expecting us to be late, of course.

They had taken the class to a window with a view to see the fire trucks. A dump truck driver had turned the corner too fast, turning the truck on its side and leaving a huge pile of dirt in the road. What could be better than that? A dump truck, fire engine, tow trucks, and a bulldozer to scoop up all the dirt. Those three and four-year-olds were the happiest kids alive when we came to pick them up!

A fireman came to the school to talk to the teachers while I was still there. The truck driver was fine, just shaken up. He went to the hospital to be checked out. And Lily had a great story to tell her daddy at dinner time last night.