our weekend with Chocolate Chip


This past weekend, we were scheduled to celebrate Fergus’ 5th birthday on Friday afternoon, my (guess what milestone) birthday on Saturday night, and host fourteen for brunch on Sunday afternoon. Let’s just say, our dance card was full, and so I couldn’t believe my bad luck when Cooper greeted me at the first grade door with the news that we were also in charge of his class mascot for the weekend. I did NOT have time for this.

Mind you, this mascot is not alive. He is a stuffed bison answering to Chocolate Chip. But do not let that fool you: weekends with the class mascot are exhausting, as I learned the hard way when we hosted Penny the Pig for the weekend just this past May. You’re supposed to show this stuffed animal a gay old time, and then render the memories in adorable scrapbook format by Monday morning. This is a tall order for a mother whose own family photos have been piling up on Shutterfly and in shopping bags stuffed in high cabinets since about 2003. And an even taller order for a mother who had planned to celebrate her impending mortality with a few cocktails and sleeping in the next morning.

But there Cooper was, handing me this journal, and so excited that we were the privileged family for the weekend. I am ashamed to say that I did not react in kind, at least until I opened the journal and saw the new rules, now that Cooper was in first grade:

1) the student had to do all the writing;
2) it could be as brief as three sentences;
3) drawings (by the student) were an acceptable substitute for actual photos.

If these rules had been in place in kindergarten, I’d have seventy two hours of my life back. That’s not so bad, I figured. Cooper would do all the hard work! Of course, I was forgetting that getting a six and a half year old boy to sit down and write three sentences would require so much haranguing on my part I could have finished it myself eighteen times.

But I did find the end result particularly pleasing, and so here it is: our weekend with Chocolate Chip.

On Friday, Cooper’s dad and grandfather were both on hand to pick up Cooper and two of his friends and deliver them to Fergus’ birthday party. As you can see, this is a very long first sentence, and I had to work to whittle it down even that far. Cooper balked at writing out “Chocolate Chip,” and so came up with the “c.c.” nickname on his own.

Above is a photo of Chocolate Chip lying on Cooper’s bed. I am sorry to say that is a quite accurate representation of where he spent the weekend. Note his horns and goatee.

Here is an example of invented spelling gone horribly awry, although I did like the idea of me not having to sit there while Cooper wrote it all. (I was putting on makeup for my own birthday party at the time). Here is a translation:

“C.C. Was Being Bad So I Had To Put Him In My Back Pack.”

That’s a little six and a half year old humor. Cooper came up with that on his own, as well as the idea that every single word should be capitalized. I tried to give some gentle constructive criticism on that part and brought Cooper to tears almost immediately, so I dropped it. It’s very A.A. Milne, don’t you think?

“On Saturday We Went Ice Skating.”

This morning I brought the journal in to Cooper’s teacher. “Would you like me to tell you what this says?” I asked. “No, I’m good at translating,” she said, and she was, right up until this sentence. “Iies Sguadiegn” would stump the best of us, I am sure. Let’s give Cooper some credit: he knows the “ing” sound, it’s just that he thinks it’s spelled “ign.”

And then, in the last sentence, we go completely off the rails. Give it a shot on your own before reading translation below.

“On Sunday Like 11 People Came Including My Uncle Mike.”

“Including” is spelled “In Cklotgn.” I think I’m going to stop trying to generate humorous material and just post Connor’s work from here on out.

“But cc. Just Sat On My Bed. Connor.”

Strong finish wouldn’t you say? Somehow he got every word in the last sentence right.

I’m thinking there is probably an interesting psychological study on why every word in the whole story got capitalized EXCEPT the ostensible subject. Poor c.c. Anyway, the rest of us had a fun weekend.