At the end of kindergarten, Mary started talking about what kind of backpack she wanted for first grade. At which point I crushed her dreams of owning an overpriced Target princess special by reminding her that she had in her possession a very nice, very durable pink backpack from LL Bean that had practically cost an internal organ and had her name on it.
I began to wonder if I was in the minority until a friend Facebook messaged me asking if I was planning on buying the kids new backpacks. My response was a swift “nope, she’s got a really good one.” My friend’s response was something like “thank you!” - because apparently her son was also vying for a new backpack, though probably not in a Sofia the First or My Little Pony theme.
Mary mentioned a new backpack a couple of more times, but I held firm in my resolve. When the backpacks went to $12 on clearance, I was momentarily swayed, but it wasn’t until I was in Target this weekend and saw Miss Sofia, in all her purple, plastic, glittery, probably poorly made glory, beaming at me from a backpack reduced to $4 that I caved. I stuck it in my cart and was pleased to have gotten a jump on my Christmas shopping.
Of course I forgot to take the stupid thing out of the car and when I got Anna from preschool, I heard a joyful “hey! A Sofia the First backpack!” from the backseat. I had forgotten Anna’s love of searching the “way back” for cast off toys before buckling into her booster.
“Oh, that’s a Christmas present for Mary,” I said as I started the drive to Mary's school. “We can’t tell her about it, ok?”
I picked up Mary and the girls spent about a half an hour on the playground before we walked back to the car.
“Now Mary, don’t look in the back,” Anna said when we got to the car.
“Why can’t I look in the back?” Mary asked, as I opened the back and deftly moved some things to cover up the gift.
“Anna’s just being silly,” I said, and started buckling Lily into her seat.
“We don’t want you to see your new packpack,” Lily offered brightly.
“Silly Lily, Mary’s ‘packpack’ is in the front seat!” Mary was eying me skeptically.
“Lily you ruined the surprise!” Anna said indignantly. “Well at least she didn’t tell her who was on it.”
At this point I was seriously considering banging my head on the side of the car when I remembered that Mary’s birthday was in a few days. I hadn’t forgotten, exactly, but she wants to go see a musical instead of having a big party and because the tickets aren’t on her birthday…okay, I may have momentarily forgotten. I reached in the back and grabbed the backpack.
“Look what your sisters got you for your birthday!” I exclaimed. Mary beamed.
“Wow, thanks guys!” she squealed, examining it from every angle.
“You’re welcome Mary,” Lily said.
“I’m so glad you like it,” Anna added. “I picked it out myself. And I painted that picture on the front for you too.”
“Anna, stop it,” I said.
“Yeah, okay. Mommy painted it for you. Not me.”
“You did, Mommy?!” I should point out here that the front of the backpack is not even remotely painted looking.
“Well I love it!”
“I’m so glad, Mary. Happy early birthday.”
So the lessons I learned today are:
- You can’t half ass hiding the presents anymore.
- Anna is an awful secret keeper.
- Lily is worse.
- Anna is apparently really, really good at making up stories off the cuff and Mary is apparently really, really credulous. This does not bode well for their teen years.