How Kathryn’s new friends almost involved the NLRFD
Kathryn started second grade earlier this month at a new school. She was apprehensive and was afraid that she wouldn’t make new friends there. She’s a very social child, and I had no worries that we would. I consistently assured her that she already knew a few kids who went there, and has never had an issue with making new friends.
A week into school, a girl she’s already been friends with for two years started at her school and low-and-behold, became a member of her class. Kathryn was right as rain.
I work nights, so I sleep while my child is at school. While sleeping, my phone is turned off, so not to be disturbed. I woke spontaneously last week a few minutes early and heard my phone ringing.. a lot. I checked the caller ID and it was the school. Oh dear, my child was either sick, injured or in trouble. I just knew it. I called them back, and was told something I didn’t expect to hear. “Mrs. Spurrier, your child has head lice.”
I dressed quickly and picked up my child, and her new friends, from school. We stopped at the store on the way home and spent $50 on treatment for the whole family, just in case.
Once home, the process started. We stripped all the beds. We removed all stuffed animals, blankets and pillows in her room and piled them into the dining room to be bagged up or washed. I explained to her that these were NOT the kinds of friends we wanted in the house to try and get her motivated. My daughter also has a fear of bugs. Once I explained that part to her, the migration of stuffed animals from her room to our dining room took all of five minutes.
While stripping down her room, I noticed a $5 on the kitchen table. “Kathryn,” I asked, “Where did this money come from?” She stumbled for an answer and that alone told me there had to be some trouble or guilt. “I traded a nickel for it with (insert friend’s name here).” Now, part of me wanted to laugh hysterically at the deal my daughter brilliantly made. The other half of me needed to teach my child about honest negotiations.
I halted all prevention measures and piled the child (and her new friends) into the car to return the $5 bill back to (insert child’s name here) and reclaim her nickel. The way I saw it, not too many seven-year-olds come to school with a $5 bill unless it had a specific purpose.
We arrived at (insert friend’s name here)’s house and I made Kathryn ring the door bell and hand back the $5. “I’m sorry I traded with you.” The child’s mother heard the conversation and said “(Insert child’s name here), go get Kathryn’s toy that you came home with today”. Toy? So it wasn’t a nickel? It was a toy?
“Mommy? I’m sorry I lied. I’m really sorry I lied. Momma I’m sorry,” said my now-caught seven year old. I said nothing, but she knew she was in trouble.
(Insert child’s name here) handed Kathryn’s Littlest Pet Shop toy back her and Kathryn gave back the $5, which apparently was lunch money. Kathryn’s bargain was still brilliant. She sold a $.33 cent toy to another girl for $5, but still…
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Kathryn’s stuffed toys were still piled up against the wall in our dining room waiting to be bagged.
The whole process of returning the bill took about 45 minutes and we came immediately back home (while stopping at the store to get one more item of ‘friend-prevention’ just in case). When we returned home, Kathryn immediately
started complaining that her toys smelled like rubber sprayed by a skunk. I didn’t smell it at first, but after a few minutes I was sniffing around everything I could find. I sniffed our fish tank nearby. I sniffed her shoes. I sniffed our fridge. I sniffed the table, and still couldn’t locate the source of the foul smell.
In the meantime, I had Kathryn start loading her stuffed animals into plastic bags to take out to the garage. When she pulled her Pillow Pet Puppy away from the pile and found a long string of plastic from the puppy to the wall, we then figured out what the smell was. There was little left of the night light that was plugged into that wall. I had forgotten it was there. There was also a golf-ball-sized hole in the pillow pet. The smell was now unmistakably melting plastic. The nightlight was a goner. The puppy may be repairable.
In the end, we filled seven garbage bags with bunnies, puppies, teddy bears and kitties. They’re now relocated to the center of our garage armed with a corona of spider and insect deterrent. We spent two hours treating and combing remnants of these new friends out of my child’s mane, and several more hours washing all the laundry in the house, all blankets and bed linens, as well as the removable covers from our sofa. It’s confirmed by her school nurse that she’s friend-free now and has been for almost week. She even decided to announce so in the ice-cream parlor this afternoon. I’m sure everyone there was relieved to know that.