She begged and pleaded to bring her (my) favorite metal flashlight that twists on and off. I was tentative to send it with her because I was 98% sure it would be misplaced and I would never see it again, but I figured I would have to be willing to make some sacrifices if she was ever going to learn to be responsible.
"Do not lose this, okay? As soon as you are done with the shadow lesson, put it back in your backpack. And don't take it out during the bus ride home. I mean it." (Why do I always say I mean it anyway? What the hell else am I going to say? "Oh, ha ha. Just kidding. I didn't mean any of that. You can lose it if you want to. It doesn't matter.") She assured me several times that she wouldn't lose the flashlight, and went to school with a smile on her face.
As soon as she got home, I was in a hurry to go back out the door because we were going to lunch at her favorite restaurant, Noodles & Co., and then had haircut appointments. I quickly went through her backpack and was 2% surprised to not find a flashlight inside.
"So, did you leave the flashlight at school, or were you playing with it on the bus?" I figured she already knew that she didn't bring it home, so I might as well just get to the point instead of asking, "Did you lose the flashlight?" Well, duh, yeah.
"What? I brought it home. It should be in my backpack. It isn't there? Well, that's weird. Huh. I thought for sure it was in there," she said, while quickly glancing around at everything in the room except me. My daughter is a terrible liar.
"It must be at school. I'll email your teacher and ask her if she'll look around your table."
"No, you don't need to ask her. Please don't ask the teacher." Now she looked at me, and there was fear in her eyes. At this point, I couldn't type the email fast enough.
Sure enough, her teacher replied within two minutes saying: "I have the flashlight. It got taken away from her because she did not put it away when she was supposed to. It is on my desk. Sorry about that."
And now comes my least favorite part of parenting, besides the part where you sometimes get poop under your fingernails. I was pissed because she had already failed to tell me the truth as to why the flashlight was missing, and now I knew that the teacher was ticked which makes me even more pissed, which leaves me with the following options:
- Ignore the truth and accept the lie, but get angry because she was irresponsible and lost the flashlight.
- Force her to tell the truth, and then get angry anyway because not only did she lie, but she was naughty at school.
- Tell her I know the truth, but that I need to hear it from her, and then when she confesses, yell like a lunatic.
- Send the teacher a case of wine and an apology note.
- Suck it up, maintain composure, and drink the wine myself.
I tried to access the calmest voice possible, and then said: "I know what happened at school, so you have two choices: If you don't tell me the truth, then we won't go to lunch, and I will be really disappointed and pretty angry. Or, when you tell me what happened and apologize, I won't be mad, and you can go eat mac 'n cheese."
She's sorry, ate all but three bites of the mac 'n cheese, and I'll get the flashlight back tomorrow. Oh, and being a parent is hard, but wine is tasty.