Friday, November 7, 2008

Flashback Friday: A Kindergarten Tale

While digging through one the boxes of stuff from my childhood, I came across the remains of this book:

It's a story about a little girl who's getting ready for the first day of school. Of course, on that day Katy does not want to go. She puts on her oldest dress and refuses to brush her hair.

My own 4 year-old self did not identify with this part of the story. I remember being very excited to go to school. I did feel that I was similar to Katy, however, in our shared "hair the colour of butterscotch taffy." Anyway, Katy's mother tries to make her feel better by slipping a little surprise in her pocket.

It is important to note that Katy's mother tells Katy about the surprise. Katy goes off to kindergarten, of course has a wonderful day, and on the way home remembers to check for her surprise: a new pencil.

Her friend Sandy tells Katy that she can use the new pencil at school. And that's where Katy's story ends, as the rest of the pages and back cover are long gone. I'm sure Katy shared her love of school with her mother and thanked her for the wonderful surprise.

My own story version of this story is a little different. I remember this book well, so I'm sure my mom and I used to read it to get ready for school. But apparently I wasn't yet very good at making associations.

One day at kindergarten, it was time to get our snack. I went back to my coat (or bag, I can't remember which) and to my surprise, I found a little bag full of miniature marshmallows!

Was I thrilled that my mom had clearly left me my own surprise, just like Katy?

Oh no. I was very concerned that I had found something that did not belong to me. What were these marshmallows? How did they get inside my coat? Another child must have misplaced them! What should I do?

I gave them to the kindergarten teacher and told her they were not mine.

I was pretty proud of myself too. I might be a girl with "hair the colour of butterscotch taffy" but I certainly did not take things that didn't belong to me. No sir!

That afternoon when I came home from school my mom was very excited to see me. She wanted to know if I had found my surprise.

My stomach dropped. I felt awful. Those marshmallows were for me? I still remember all the emotions from that moment: I was disappointed. I was embarrassed. I felt so bad because I could see that my mom was disappointed. It was horrible.

I'm not sure about the lesson in all of this, but it is one of the most vivid memories from my early childhood. And it seems to be one of the origins of my ongoing fear of being wrong, or making a mistake. But it was just a mistake. No big deal. I wonder if anything could have been said to make me realize that it wasn't a terrible thing. Just a little mistake.

No comments: