I feel bad for people who don’t have small children in the house. They actually have to wait until they get out of bed in the morning for the adventure to start. In our house, at least one major conflict needs to be addressed before my eyes flutter open.
This morning, it was Box Tops. If you’ve never woken up to a four year old at your bedside with a cereal box and a pair of scissors pointed at your face, you’re just simply not living.
“Mom! Is this a box top?”
Without contacts in, I vaguely recognize a small white rectangle that could indeed be a box top. After her prediction is confirmed, Ella runs out of the room (presumably with the scissors pointed down, because obviously we teach safety in this house) to cut out her box top.
I pause here because I just realized that some of you do not know what box tops are. Well, somehow these tiny white rectangles found on dry goods packages from the grocery store earn money for schools. I don’t know what kind of voodoo magic or tricky marketing scheme decided that parents should buy sugary cereal so that their kids’ schools can become more profitable, but, alas, here we are.
Anyway, and I’m still in bed, mind you, I then hear Harrison yelling to Ella that it is not HER box top; it is his. I think he surmised this because he poured the cereal, but I cannot be certain of his logic. Ella was more of the nature that since she cut it out, it was hers. This goes back and forth until I yell out to remind them that they attend the same school, so the box tops will, in fact, be going to the same place.
A short quiet pause followed, then Harrison said, “No, Mom. It matters. It matters because someone’s class has to WIN.” And this is one situation where I believe in the “everyone gets a trophy” theory. Otherwise, there will be families everywhere with multiple children in the same school fighting over box tops first thing in the morning and this world really has enough problems as it is. I’m really not sure what to do here. I have so many choices. I could distribute the box tops evenly. I could call the school to see who’s class is ahead and put all of our eggs in one basket and contribute to the class that has a chance at winning (winning what, I still am unsure). I could let the kids battle it out themselves (although, with sharp scissors in the mix I am pretty sure this is a bad choice). I really thought that with my thirteen years of public school teaching, I would be a pro at parenting school-age kids. This is an untruth. Nobody tells you before you have children that there will be certain unforeseen obstacles such as this.
I have no idea who won the box top battle this morning, because the kids were onto a different dispute by the time I reached the kitchen, over whether or not the small white tube found in the junk drawer was glue or paint. And this, my friends, is why coffee exists.