Monday, May 12, 2008

Show and tell

Pic: Harmonie at Cockington Green Gardens, where she purchased the ill-fated snow globe ...

I was pretty pleased with myself yesterday, when I remembered that it was Harmonie’s day for Show and Tell.
In the name of fairness, all the kids at prep get a turn at Show and Tell on their rostered day. Heaven help the parent who forgets, and sends their child to school with nothing to show or talk about!
When I asked Harmonie what she wanted to take to school, there was no hesitation: “My snow globe!” she said excitedly.
Harmonie’s snow globe is her favourite thing ever. She bought it at the gift shop at Cockington Green Gardens on our recent trip to Canberra, with her very own pocket money. It was a bargain - $5.50, down from quite a lot more.
With a cute green frog inside, it wasn’t the usual thing I thought she’d go for – she bypassed the fairies and cuddly animals she usually favours – but she loved it.
It’s a snow globe. It’s from Canberra (which the kids loved). She used her own money. She could afford it. So it's extremely special.
Since then, I’ve been paranoid about her breaking it – and have saved it from tumbling to the floor on more than one occasion.
But I wasn’t worried about it breaking at school. The kids give their precious possessions to their teacher on arrival, and she carefully looks after them and returns them at the end of the day.
So we reverently wrapped the snow globe in cloth and placed it in Harmonie’s backpack, which I usually carry into school (I know I should make the kids carry them, but the bags are usually so heavy that I worry about the impact on their little backs).
Just before we left though, Harmonie brought me a little Dora The Explorer handbag Nanna bought her back from a visit to the US some time ago.
“Mumma, I want to put it in this, then I can show everyone my bag too,” she said.
We were running late as usual, so in my infinite wisdom, and in the name of getting out the door without a tantrum, I agreed. I figured the bag would protect the globe from any unexpected knocks or bumps. You know where I’m going with this, right?
We got to school. I’m carrying the backpacks, and helping to support Chase, who is throwing a wobbly – literally – pretending he can’t walk in his new sports shoes. (He is a terrible actor by the way!)
Harmonie spots a friend and runs ahead of us, swinging her handbag wildly in excitement.
“Harmonie,” I begin … but it’s too late. As if in slow motion, the bag falls to the ground and there is a sickening crunch.
Her little face crumpled into tears.
“It might be okay,” I say hopefully, as I pick up the bag and inspect it. Water spurts out of it, and inside, are shattered shards of glass.
“I’m sorry Harms, it’s broken,” I say, as Chase complains “Mum you’re getting water on my bag!”
Typical male. His sister's heart is breaking, and all he can think about is the effect on him! On the plus side, the drama has made him forget the fact that he supposedly can't walk.
Harmonie is inconsolable.
And to my shame, as we walk into school, I can’t help but admonish her. “Why were you swinging your bag like that?" I say. “You knew your snow globe was in it!"
Then I felt like a terrible mother. Harmonie wasn't being naughty. She was just being a happy little kid.
Guiltily, I stop, get down to her level, give her a big cuddle and tell her it will be okay, that we’ll get her another one somewhere else.
In class, her teacher is, as usual, wonderful.
“You know what Harmonie, I once did the very same thing,” she says kindly. “It’s okay, these things happen.”
I love the teachers at my children’s’ school.
By the time I leave, Harmonie’s tears are drying and there’s a hint of a smile.
When I pick her up at the end of the day, she’s happy again and the incident is forgotten.
“Did you have a good day?” I ask, as she skips ahead of me.
“Yeah,” she says. “Fun.”
And that was that.
It’s Chase’s turn for Show and Tell next week. Remind me not to let him take anything breakable!

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