Thursday, April 21, 2011

That Damn Hippo

As soon as I saw the stuffed Hippo in Aiden's arms at preschool pick up on Tuesday, I knew that I was about to embark on the emotional, absent minded roller coaster than accompanies his class mascot's visit to our home.  As adorable as Aiden's huge smile of joy was at being able to take Hippo home, I felt impending doom. 

Each time Happy Hippo stays at a class member's home they are to write in a journal about the Hippo's time with them.  I really suck at this journal entry thing.

I do think this is a cute way for the kids to share their home life with their friends.  I also love the idea of encouraging journaling starting at a young age.  I also think it has the potential to be a very interactive and engaging project to do with my just doesn't usually turn out that way.

I immediately felt my usual anxiety over being responsible for something else, particularly a stuffed animal that probably is carrying the germ equivalent of a public restroom floor.  Why must my child cuddle with that thing? 

First order of business with Happy Hippo at our house is a healthy shower of Lysol.  I really hope this doesn't break any stuffed animal rights rules or violate something kids in the class are allergic too.  I feel OK with her presence only after this has been finished.

A few of the other parents have mentioned the expectation that Aiden's journal entry is going to be fun, possibly even humorous because I am a self proclaimed writer with a real life blog...those are only for the top tier of writers you know.  I also have had two, yes TWO, real life articles that were published in the way back section of the local Austin newspaper. 
But, I am the writer, not Aiden.  I do actually try to get him to tell me what to write.  (I am a fantastic mother.) Unfortunately he usually wants to include random and irrelevant facts just to make himself sound cooler to his friends like the mention of his Lego Firehouse he built or how he found four rolly pollys under the rock on our neighbor's driveway, but unfortunately these have nothing to do with Hippo and I'm not that good of a writer to work it in and convince anyone that this makes sense as part of the Hippo experience. 

I usually end up suggesting things and he finishes the sentence or lays his head on the table and whines about how he "doesn't know what to say!" and wishes I would just let him go play so he can just see his work completed later rather than having to really do it.  Me too buddy, me too. 

This is also a problem because I can't figure out how to write in this journal.  I'm all sorts of confused about whether or not I am supposed to be writing it from Aiden's perspective, my perspective as the Mom, or is the Hippo writing this?  Or, is it supposed to be a third person, all knowing sort of perspective? 

I usually give up and write a combo of all four of these, possibly creating a hodgepodge of story telling which is so convoluted that not even the preschoolers want to listen to the entry because it gives them a headache just trying to figure out who the hell is talking.

Sorry kids.  I have a few things going on, I'm easily confused by this project.

Though Aiden is very excited to have Hippo come home with us, his excitement does not usually translate into him actually remembering to take her with us anywhere.  This really jacks up the material available for our journal entry.

What our entry usually turns in to is a big fat lie, creating quite a predicament for me as an allegedly "good" parent.  In an effort to not make Aiden's entry look like his family sucks at participation in all things preschool, we usually pretend that Hippo went along with us on all sorts of things that we did, or stretch the truth a little as I like to call it.

A few parents use this Hippo experience as a chance to showcase their scrapbooking talents, but unfortunately that isn't happening for us, and I really wish it were. Not only do I not know what voice to write our journal entry in,  and can barely remember to include the Hippo in our life, I am also incompetent at even printing pictures for this event. 
Where are the pictures of Aiden and Happy Hippo you ask?  Aiden and I can't remember to take the Hippo anywhere which makes it difficult to photograph.  For some reason my printer also refuses to print any pictures from my camera.  It hates me, clearly.

I do have three pictures of Aiden and Happy Hippo on a bike from November that the CVS automated telephone reminder calls to remind me about every two or three days, but let's be honest, it's April, I'm not picking those up and cutting them to fit in to the journal. 
So, here is what I should have probably written this week...but I didn't because I don't like to scare small children or tragically disappoint my son.  If this weren't the last time to have Hippo this year, I would personally swear to do a better job with the Hippo next time. 

Oh well.

Hippo came home.  Sat in the van and would have died if she was actually a child due to extreme heat. 

She was sprayed with Lysol. Then she got shoved to the floor under a giant toy boat in the playroom. 

My daughter dragged Hippo around the house then crawled on top of Hippo and looked sort of inappropriate .  My apologies for any long term damage done to Hippo.  

She then spit up on Hippo and chewed on his leg. 

Hippo went to the garden and sat in the dirt, while we all pretended to care about which plant was a carrot and which was a weed. 

Hippo was strangled and fought over in the bathroom when my kids were supposed to be brushing their teeth, but had decided it was OK to instead ignore my shouts of fury and go ahead and wrestle with a stuffed animal.  I may or may not have violently thrown Hippo out of the bathroom.

Hippo slept with Aiden where sometime during the night she ended up under his bed where she stayed until we were 10 minutes late for getting into the car for school and I happened to remember that we had to haul the giant Hippo back to school so as to not disappoint a room full of 5 year olds.

The end.

This entry would be accompanied by a small sketch I drew of a Hippo being assaulted by a can of Lysol or thrown across the house, because kids love comics.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

I detest that skool crud where you are supposed to “take the thing home” whether it’s a stuffed toy, a live gerbil or the trophy for ...

who am I kidding, I never won a trophy til I started drinking and even then it’s not a trophy we could tell five-year olds about.

Great post, Leslie. happy Weekend.

aggiemommy said...

Oh my!! Laughing out loud here... Thanks so much for that one. I guess we can be thankful that the boys didn't decide she needed a haircut or major surgery though, right??? ;)

Katie said...

HATE the bring-home germy stuffed animal and journal. Ours was a monkey last year, and the first thing I did was Lysol it, too. I contemplated throwing it in the washing machine, but was scared I'd ruin it. I don't think it ever left the house, and we ended up making up stories. Awful, I know.

Anonyvox said...

I think that would be pretty annoying, to have to write an entry on behalf of your child. I kind of get what the school is trying to do, but the whole journal thing is a little much if the child isn't going to be the one writing. What about drawing a picture? It sounds like the whole thing is more of a parent competition than anything else.

Sorry, I'm not usually such a negative Nelly, but compulsory participation in outside-school activities annoys me. I can't wait until the first time my daughter's school suggests she has to go sell overpriced cookie dough.

me said...

I love this blog entry! i am a kindergarten teacher and for the first time in 9 years i am/was thinking about doing one of these take-home stuffed animals. I see now that it's probably not the best idea!

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear. would it matter what size the animal was? i was thinking of sending a disposable camera in the bag so I will take care of the pictures. Would it be any better if I had a 2-3 sentence frames and you just had to fill in the blanks?

I really don't want this to be troublesome to the parents and a drag to kiddos.

Thanks for the help!