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I was driving K to preschool this morning and she started singing a little song about one of her teachers. I don’t remember (neither could I understand) all the words, but it seemed to be about how much she loved, and how much she enjoyed playing with Miss Michelle. My sweet little girl.

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She never sings songs about her Mommy.

So when we got to preschool, I made sure to tell Miss Michelle, a very nice middle aged woman with an 80’s mullet (that I would guess had been in residence atop her melon since the 80’s) that K had been asking for her. You know, suck up a little so she likes my kid best.

I said: “K has been asking for you all the way to school today. Usually she asks for Miss Jenna, but today it’s been Miss Michelle, Miss Michelle…” Miss Michelle laughed.

Here is where my brain should have stepped in and told my mouth:
Sadly, there is nobody riding on my brain train whose job it is to turn the shut up valve.
So next I delivered this line; sure to brighten anybody’s day:

“I think she’s happy she can finally say your name.”

What? Why did I say that? In what dimension is that okay?
I really didn’t mean to ruin it like that. What I meant was:
“K loves you so much she learned how to say your name properly” or
something like that; Jesus, anything except “I bet she’s only saying your name because it’s coming out right.”.

Worse, I didn’t realize what an asshole I had been until I was back in the car driving home. I just popped her compliment bubble, turned around, patted myself on the back for having been so nice, and hopped in the car.

I had just potentially robbed this poor woman (who makes 10 dollars an hour for wiping my kid’s ass) of the only joy she could possibly derive from her job, and now I am stuck thinking about it till I pick up my kid later.
(Because this is all about my feelings)
So NOW what do I do? My first stellar plan is this. When I go back for K, I pull Miss Michelle aside and say:

“Hey, Miss Michelle, remember this morning when I said –I think she’s happy she can finally say your name? — And you might have thought I meant that K didn’t actually want you, but was only practicing saying your name? And you might have construed what I said as rude, and not the compliment that it was meant to be? Because K was actually singing a little song about how much she loves you and enjoys playing with you? And yeah, ummm… I didn’t mean it that way.”

Smooth, naptimethoughts. Real smooth.

Or I could call, and be that asshole who calls on the phone and says the exact same thing, only by phone…

Window of opportunity: missed.

So, as it always does, it came time for me to go get K at preschool, and I walked in to find Miss Michelle playing with my kid.
Of course she was.
During the hours in between drop off and pick up I had formed this, my one and only plan:
“Pretend like nothing happened”

I said: How was she today?

Miss Michelle: she’s always good.

Me: I’m so glad she got to play with you today after she sang a song about how much she loves you on the way to school.
(Oooooh naptimethoughts, you are sooooo slick.)

Miss Michelle- without missing a beat: I thought she was just happy she learned to say my name.

Well fuck. I could hear my miraculous save shot all to hell right in front of me. Time to change tactics.

Me: WHAAAA? That was just a by-product. She was singing a little song about how much she loves you and wants to play with you.
(Because I simply can’t imagine how Miss Michelle could’ve thought any differently. She must’ve imagined it. It must’ve been ALL in her head. Her very feathered, hair sprayed, business in the front, party in the back, head.)

Miss Michelle: She’s a sweet girl.

Me: She was happy she could finally say your name since she loves you so much.

Miss Michelle: ———————

Me: See, because she wanted to impress you. (Beads of sweat are forming on my forehead)

Miss Michelle: ————————

Me: Well, I guess I’ll just have to see what adorable songs she comes up with on the way home! I’m sure she had a super fun day!

Miss Michelle: I’m sure she needs a nap.

Me: I’m sure she does! (I tend to be full of exclamation points in uncomfortable situations.) Another full day with her favorite teacher!

Miss Michelle: ————————

Me: Okay! Bye!

Miss Michelle: See you tomorrow.

Me: We’ll be here! Since she loves it here so much!

I walk out without her jacket or lunch box.
I have to go back in.
I put K in the car first and try to be stealthy. The door alarm beeps as I go in, (Damn them and their concern for the safety of my child) I hunch my shoulders to try and be shorter than the cubbies to my right and my left (a totally natural look for me) and K’s cubby is empty when I get there. As panic washes over me, I can actually feel Miss Michelle rounding the corner (in slo-mo) with K’s coat and lunchbox. She hands them to me.

Miss Michelle: Forget something?

Me: Yep, thank you.

Miss Michelle: See you tomorrow.

Me: OK.
I am not stealthy.

At least I handled the whole thing with grace…
GRACE I tell you.
Looks like I’m baking cookies this week.

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I am not a good resource.