The Pampered Pig
"The Pampered Pig" is an excerpt from Amy Wilson's book When Did I Get Like This? The Screamer, The Worrier, the Dinosaur-Chicken-Nugget-Buyer and Other Mothers I Swore I'd Never Be (amazon.com).
There are a few moments that are among the proudest in any mother's life: watching a baby take her first steps, for example, and then in a blink, watching that baby walk down the aisle to graduate or wed. For me, perhaps the most bittersweet of milestones occurred just this past spring, when my 6-year-old son, Connor, was chosen, out of everyone in his kindergarten class, to be Person of the Week.
It was near the end of school, so every other child, to be honest, had already had a turn. Each had to provide:
- a collage of family photos
- a list of his or her favorite foods, books, and activities
- a secret number of delightful objects to fill the classroom "Estimation Jar."
All this was on top of the usual kindergarten homework: a list of words that started with the Letter of the Week (in this case, Z) and the procurement of a household object starting with said letter. But the biggest payoff for being Person of the Week, as far as Connor was concerned, was that he got to bring home the classroom mascot -- an unassuming and sort of dingy stuffed animal named Penny the Pig.
"I got Penny in my backpack, Mom!" Connor yelled, in almost manic spirits, when I picked him up from the bus stop on Friday afternoon. "Great!" I said, grabbing the Estimation Jar. Hoisting Connor's backpack for the rainy walk home, I noticed that it seemed kind of heavy. But it was only when we got home that I noticed an overstuffed binder crammed inside.
"What's this?" I asked.
"Oh," Connor said, dumping out a hamper of stuffed animals so he could make introductions. "That's Penny's scrapbook. We have to show the class everything she does with us this weekend. Can we have a party?"
Here, laid out before me on the kitchen counter, was the chronicle of Penny's adventures with all the other families in Connor's class: photos of an autumn camping trip; Christmas in Vermont; a beach vacation in St. Barts; casual sushi-making; and an elaborately choreographed jewelry heist, complete with sets and costumes, in which Penny was the sleuth who saved the day. Each family's entry was scrapbooked beyond anything I had ever imagined. One mother had spelled out "MEMORIES" in mock-quilted sticker letters. Another mother had mimicked, in typeset and story, the award-winning children's book If You Give a Pig a Pancake. I never made pancakes, ever.
Amy Wilson blogs at Motherloadtheblog.com. She learned to play tennis, ice-skate and downhill ski -- all in an attempt to keep up with her kids.