Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dashing Dreams

"Find the 10 things that are i- ima- imaginary on this page and circle them..."
Isabelle sounds out the directions on her last page of homework for the evening.

I waffle from room to room, cleaning up dinner dishes and wiping down the dining room table where she sits, wiggling her little body back and forth, sitting on her knees, bum propped on her heels. I check her spelling and secretly double check her math on my fingers & toes...

I rinse dinner plates and file them away in waiting racks of the dishwasher. I clink glasses accidentally (having only recently even entertained the thought of letting the kids use anything other than plastic-kid-ware for dinner... I click and clack along until isabelle calls for me uncertainly.

"Mooooommmm, I need help," she calls plaintively
"Yeah, sweets?"
"I'm supposed to find 10 imaginaries here and I can only find niiiiiine" she admits worriedly.
At six-years-old she stresses about odd things like her homework and the color of her headbands and the order of her colored pencils in the box. I'm half afraid I'm raising a little OCD child, but not so worried that I'd do anything about it.

I wander over to the table and look over her left shoulder.
She's circled a leprecahuan, a fairy, a face in the tree trunk, a dish & a spoon running hand-in-hand, a pegasus, a dragon and a few other odds and ends.
Standing, dead center in the page is a unicorn. Uncircled.

"Sweetie, what about the unicorn?" I ask her and gesture vaguely toward the page.
"No, Mom, it's imaginary things I'm supposed to circle" she retorts
"But, Isabelle..."
She looks up at me slowly, the very image of her father at that moment, blue-purple eyes bright in concern, little forehead furrowed up.
"But I thought, I mean, but" she stutters. and my heart slows to a pulsing thud. At that moment I hate her homework. I hate the teacher that assigned the homework and the school that hired the teacher and the superintendant in charge of it all. I hate them for making me kill this for her.
"Aren't unicorns....?" she starts and doesn't finish.
I shake my head, once. "No, sweets" I murmur

She swivels back to her homework, grips her pencil and puts a hard, dark lead circle around the unicorn.
A big fat teardrop splashes down on her page.
I pat her awkwardly on the back, but she shrugs me off and hunches her shoulders, stuffing the page back in her red folder.
I feel like the worst parent in the world.


  1. ! I can only hope I never have to go through that with Lil'. Maybe the saddest realization ever.

  2. I call bull shit. Sorry. Unicorns are real. End of story. How else would the entire internet be based on glitter and unicorns? That teacher has no heart.

  3. Oh no! My 6-year-old girl believes in unicorns too. And Santa and the Easter Bunny and leprechauns. And I greatly dislike anyone who tells her those things aren't real.

    Believe as long as you can!

    My motto.

    (Came here from @ooph!)

  4. Noooo! They're totally real, and photographers all over are proving it - search for "unicorn mini sessions" on Facebook!


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