our weekend with Penny

As I started to say yesterday, my past few days have been filled with frenetic preparations for that milestone in every kindergartener’s life: the moment when he or she becomes Person of the Week.

That moment has come, for Cooper, and I am about halfway done with all the ancillary duties left to the honoree’s mother. In case you have not had this honor at your home, here is what being Person of the Week in Cooper’s classroom entails:

-collage of family photos for the classroom wall
-painstakingly written (by your child) lists of his or her favorites in various categories (see photo below)
-the filling of the classroom “Estimation Jar” with a secret number of delightful objects for the class to estimate, and share spoils thereof
-the choice of a special book, and a special person, to visit the classroom and read to the class in the POW’s honor
-and lastly, a weekend spent with the classroom mascot, one Penny the Pig, and a scrapbook created of her various adventures in the company of your family.

Here is Ms. Penny, at left, with the POW and his proud younger sister.

All of this was in addition to Cooper’s usual homework: a list of words starting with the next Letter of the Week (Z) and the finding of a household object starting with said letter.

When I tell you that I have never had so much to do in 48 hours, including the 48 hours before my wedding, I am most certainly not exaggerating. I can’t really follow the teacher’s line of reasoning here. Why does the POW also have to do the Estimation Jar? Why can’t Penny go home with someone else for the weekend? Why does being Person of the Week mean you get all the weekend projects for the entire school year AT ONCE?

My husband wouldn’t have done half of it. And of course he would be sane in that approach. But we mothers are different. When Cooper came home with Penny’s scrapbook, showing her adventure’s at everyone ELSE’s house all year, what else was I supposed to do but teach myself how to use iremember scrapbooking software at 9 pm last night? Was I going to let Cooper be shamed for having a subpar scrapbook to show off this morning? Of course not, because it wouldn’t reflect badly on HIM, but on his uncaring mother. And so I spent oh, a few hours crafting this masterpiece:

That’s page 4 of 7. I haven’t worked as hard on anything since my senior essay at college.

And then this morning, when we got to school, Cooper didn’t even take it out of his backpack.

MOMMY: (hoping to be congratulated on her exceptional mothering skills) Cooper! Aren’t you going to show Ms. Truman your Penny scrapbook?

COOPER: Oh. Yeah.

He pulls it out and hands it to her. She lay it down on a table nearby. End of story.

I wanted to throttle this childless woman and say, “Do you understand I spent HOURS on that thing? Do you understand I had my teething-times-four toddler crying on my lap and pulling my hair while I ignored her and typed so I could meet this deadline?”

My husband would have skipped the Penny scrapbook entirely. “Oh yeah,” he’d say, if Ms. Truman inquired. “We left it at home today.” And it would never have been mentioned again. Dashing dads can get away with that.

This has given me a preview of what the 6th grade science fair will be like. For ME. I’m going to plan ahead this time, though, and start hoarding the styrofoam and posterboard now.