I came home last night to find Ittybit brimming with excitement, holding out a familiar piece of paper with new and unfamiliar autographs.
She'd been reticent to go to her after school program (though usually once she's there she's reluctant to leave) and unable to pinpoint why.
"It's no fun. There are bullies. No one plays with me. I can't get to the craft table soon enough. I just sit there. And. Wait."
We don't want to minimize her concerns, but there's just no way around it ... and, like her favorite book of late, she'll just have to go through it.
In an effort to get her past the moment of dread, I offered a suggestion: "You know, we need kids to help us with the parade dragon for the People's Parade. ... Maybe, if you take the drawing with you, you can explain what it is we're doing and recruit volunteers."
She liked that. (We don't call her The Art Director for nothing.) And I can really picture her flitting from student to student trying to gain their interest. We've been there before, too.
Of course, I hadn't expected to turn over the drawing she'd circulated and find names neatly listed next to phone numbers.
Numbers like 555-1234.
"When should we call them?" she wondered. "A month before? A week?"
Next Tuesday in Never sprang to mind, but I knew I'd need to put it more delicately.
"Honey, these are phony phone numbers. We can't call these. My guess is you asked some kids who didn't want to say "No" but didn't want to get a phone call either."
"Are you sure?" she asked with a wry little smile. "Would someone really give a little kid like me a phony phone number?" she said squinting at the numbers.
"There's too many patterns, most real numbers don't go in such clear order," I explained and showed her a listing from the phone book.
She just shrugged her shoulders and walked off. Their loss. They won't get any of the dragon cookies she's planning to bake for the crew.
My shoulders weren't as relaxed as I wondered aloud if I should have mentioned the deception. I could have just as easily asked her about all the kids we know well, who'd actually LIKE to be in the parade.
"I think it's best to tell her the truth. She'll find out anyway. Better she find out from you."