Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Flying high on the wings of parenting

For several years now, my wife and I have been the proud parents of the only child who refuses to nap at school. This would be fine if she could just sit still and find something to do quietly, but she instead proved to be a huge distraction to her classmates and the teachers trying to soothe them to sleep.

So, a while back it was decided the best solution for our oldest daughter was that, during naptime, she get transferred to the pre-kindergarten room, “5K.” This seemed to work—she has always taken well to older kids and the thrill of being amongst them tempered her behaviors.

For a while.

The gap between her and 5K has since narrowed—it is now merely the next grade up—and rather than acting as a humble guest in that class, it is now where she seems to get in the most trouble. As an alpha, type-A, she is now battling for control of 5K in her limited time there, and a few weeks ago she punched someone in that class. Punched someone. This is my life—my daughter is punching kids in a class she’s not even supposed to be in. GOOD TIMES.

If you can believe it, her role as the Steven Seagal of 5K is not even our No. 1 concern at the present moment. She is also learning things there. Not educational things. Bad things. Street things.

Last week I was driving the girls home and I asked them about their day. Our oldest daughter interrupted her sister to excitedly tell me the following:

“Dad, I’m going to get fairy beans in 5K and I’m going to turn into a fairy and fly away and you’ll never be able to get me.”

“Oh, okay,” I said. “Is that a story you heard from the teacher?”

“No, the teacher doesn’t know. But{child whose name I cannot reveal but whose parents we plan to be on the phone with at some point} is going to bring in the fairy beans and give them to me in secret, and them I’m going to fly away. She told me they’re going to make me fly, dad.”

“Wait, WHAT?”

When we arrived home and sat down for dinner, I told our daughter to tell her mom what she told me. She did, and my wife stared at me wide-eyed from across the table. Our youngest daughter chimed in with, “I want fairy beans!”

While it was obvious our youngest daughter would be the one most likely to get swindled into buying magic beans, it was even more concerning that our older daughter was the one most likely to experiment with fairy beans behind the back of authority.

My wife and I shared a state of semi-panic and unpreparedness. What kind of sick metaphor is this? We expected to have this conversation eventually, but at 4? ARE FAIRY BEANS A GATEWAY DRUG?

We had to explain to her that fairy beans won’t make her fly and also don’t exist, and that she should never accept anything from anyone in school ever, and especially without her teachers knowing. My wife then asked me if I was going to call the school.

“Maybe we’re overreacting,” I said. “I can’t see myself calling them to talk about fairy beans.”

“You’re right,” my wife said. “Let’s wait until it’s PCP.”

So I’ll probably be calling the school soon. And continuing to have conversations with our daughter, all the while hoping she never asks me if I tried fairy beans in college.

 I Googled "fairy beans" and this is what I got. Probably like, fairy bean brownies or something. Sick bastards.

Note: This column appears in the 10/10 issue of The Glendale Star and the 10/11 issue of the Peoria Times.

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