This year, Will is in Mrs. A.'s class. We love Mrs. A., who was also Jack's first grade teacher. We actually requested her for Will and were very pleased when he was assigned to her class. Mrs. A. is the quintessential first grade teacher. She is pretty and sweet and has amazing dimples, but she's no pushover. Mrs. A. runs a tight ship.
It wasn't until last week, crammed into little first grade seats on Back to School Night, that we remembered Brownie the Bear. Mrs. A. was going over the curriculum when her dimples got extra dimply and she pulled out the canvas tote bag with Brownie embroidered across the top.
The Man and I looked at each other in horror. Brownie! We'd forgotten all about Brownie!
Brownie the Bear is a journaling bear, which is to say, each day a lucky child in Mrs. A.'s class gets to bring Brownie and Brownie's journal home. He or she spends the afternoon and evening recording all the fun things Brownie sees and experiences.
I know, I know, it's a charming idea. In theory, I love it. My first Back-to-School night with Mrs. A., way back in 2000-whatever (I'm too lazy to do the math--Danielle, when did our guys start first grade?), when Mrs. A. brought out Brownie the Bear, I swooned. What a wonderful way to get the kids interested in writing! Everyone thinks this. How could they not?
And then comes the day when your child brings Brownie home.
Brownie never comes home on a day when there's nothing going on. Brownie only seems to appear on very busy days, Cub Scout days, taekwondo days, dentist days. Now, on the one hand, that gives your little first grade journaler a lot to write about ("We took Brownie to my big brother's basketball practice, and Brownie got run over in the parking lot!"). On the other hand, have you ever had the pleasure of helping a first grader journal? It takes forEVER. Bath time be damned! Bedtime? Nevermind. The journal must be written in, and the only way out is through.
And because we're all overachievers at Our Fine School, our little ones don't just write; they take pictures, too. So you better have ink in your printer when Brownie comes over, and batteries in your digitial camera. And, oh yes, make sure that you don't allow any pictures of Brownie to be taken on the couch the dog has been slowly eating over the last two years. Because, believe me, the kids won't be the only ones looking at the pictures taped into the journal.
So, anyway, guess who got to bring home Brownie first?
Brownie went with us to the middle school to pick up Jack after intermural volleyball. Brownie played lacrosse with Will, and met all of Will's "guys"--his insanely huge collection of stuffed animals, all of whom had to be dragged out of their special basket and arranged on Will's floor (where they still remain, of course) to have their picture taken. Brownie got to hang out with Travis the dog, who thought Brownie was an interesting new chew toy.
Brownie made it back to school this morning, and is now torturing Win's family. But he'll be back--in roughly three and a half weeks. And then again three and a half weeks after that. And again. And so on. And each time, we will have to think of new things for Brownie to do because being the overachievers we are at Our Fine School, each journal entry will have to top the last, until Brownie is flying on a plane to Paris for spring break while drinking champagne out of a stewardess's shoe.
How on earth could we have forgotten about Brownie?
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