It's been four years since I told you about my very first school fail. It was spectacular. Since then I have continued to miss the mark - usually going over or under expectations. At issue is the question of "How awesome does this need to be?"
Annabeth is currently in her last year of preschool. A month ago she received a card stock page with a turkey on it. The directions given were to "Let the whole family help" disguise the turkey so he wouldn't be eaten for Thanksgiving. Translation: Make it awesome. Before I had a chance to explain to Annabeth what our project was, she found herself a pencil and a fading purple marker and went to town. I'm already laughing like a hyena just writing this. I had every intention of asking for another copy to start over with, but my girl ended up with the flu and I missed my chance. So her first day back at school after being sick was the day her Hide the Turkey picture was due. Fun times!
Of course, I remembered she needed this about 10 minutes before it was time to leave for school. So I found one of Jackson's National Geographic Kids magazines and cut out a koala face. I turned that into a mask by adding a strip of black construction paper to look like a stick. It doesn't matter that a turkey couldn't actually hold such a mask. I glued that baby down and BOOM. Turkey hidden.
My child was thrilled! She thought it was so beautiful and amazing. Curtis took her to school and later told me how happy she was to give it to Ms. Kari. Bless her, Jesus. Later I got to see all the kids' turkeys displayed (in the hallway!) and let me just say, one was not like the others. My poor child. She told me she liked hers until she saw everybody else's. Worst mom ever.
So the Monday after Thanksgiving I was tucking my big second grader into bed and he started telling me about a CONTEST at his school in which "the whole family" must decorate a cookie (a cookie!) in the likeness of a book character (a book character!) and you could win a gift card to Willie's Ice House or to a pottery painting place. I started hyperventilating immediately. Oh, dear God in heaven, thou hast not gifted me with the ability to bake tasty nor beautiful treats for my child to display proudly at his place of learning. Deliver me from this destiny, Lord! He said it was due on Wednesday and there would only be two winners in the whole school. What he didn't know was I had a women's event the next night and I wouldn't even have time to come up with greatness, much less execute it. I promised I would take him to Willie's AND to the painting place, but please understand that Mommy is a terrible baker/cookie decorator and there's no way we would win. No amount of his whining was going to change my mind.
I took to Facebook to discuss my lame mom status with my friends. Some of them laughed with me and some of them were horrified at my lack of motivation to try. A teacher friend clarified that I actually had a week to come up with a plan and that there would be more than 2 winners. It was my lovely friend Faylinn who basically threatened to come down to Houston and kick my butt if I didn't make an attempt. She sent me some pictures of ideas and when I turned them all down because of their difficulty, she finally gave me an idea that the kindergartners at her school do. So I have her to thank for what happened next.
But first I want you to see the 100th Day of School t-shirt I made for Jackson last year.
It was an over-the-top idea...
...that performed below expectations.
My poor children.
Here is the idea Faylinn gave me - a hot chocolate mug made out of an iced oatmeal cookie, a campfire-size marshmallow, a candy cane hook, melted chocolate, and mini-marshmallows. The most advanced skill it required was melting chocolate chips. This I could do (after consulting Google)!
We printed out a picture of the mouse from "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" and glued him onto the hot chocolate mug. The contest was inspired by the book.
My happy son.
I made two of these bad boys so that if we ruined one on the way to the after-school contest, all would not be lost. I knew it ended up being pretty cute but I prepped my son that we would not win. But isn't it great that we tried? And aren't you proud of Mommy? A friend who had already seen all the cookies let me know that there were some truly amazing ones. And indeed, when we dropped it off I was amazed! At least we tried!
The winners would be announced the next morning. I reminded Jackson on his way out the door not to be disappointed. About 20 minutes later a friend who works at the school called me, squealing that Jackson's name had been called out on the morning announcements as a winner!
It was a Christmas miracle! Our cookie was The Most Creative!
This was one of the greatest days of my entire life. I told Curtis I was going to need to talk about it a lot. I couldn't wait to see Jackson and experience his joy, so I decided to take him lunch that day. He was so happy and filled with love for his mom. I hope I never forget the sweet look on his face when he was telling me all about it. He said his class clapped for him. When they lined up for recess he kept waving to me and as they started walking outside he was hopping up and down. This is what we call "making Jackson too happy." I thought he might run the risk of getting in trouble that day because of his extreme happiness, but he did fine.
My mom expressed her great joy that generations of women in her line had been vindicated and redeemed through my triumph in the school baking contest. I had to remind her that the cookie we made actually required no baking whatsoever.
I will leave you with this video clip of Steve Carrell in Get Smart. It best expresses my feelings about having a winning cookie.