The Newest Member of Our Family: Flat Madison

We just got back in from dinner. I celebrated National Cheeseburger Day with a classic bacon burger at Chili’s. True, I could have gotten eleven McDoubles for that price. I’m trying to think of a word that means “impressive, but ultimately disgusting and off-putting.” Whatever that word is, that’s what the 11 McDoubles would have been. Before dinner, though, the three of us attended the Open House at Madison’s school.



The first thing I noticed was Madison’s name tag with the number 8 on it. “Is your number 8?” I asked her. “Yeah,” she said, smiling. It’s my number, too.

After looking through her desk and work area (Lynnette said it was messy), I wrote a note to Madison which will be included in her memory book for the year. Look, I believe I work pretty hard as a teacher. But I looked around the classroom at all the artwork on the wall, the work stations, the tidiness of the room, then started considering the sheer will it must take to maintain it all. I could not do it. I can barely reason with seniors in high school. I don’t think I’d be able to handle Kindergarteners; I don’t have the patience and my vocabulary is filled with swears.

85% memorization.

85% memorization.

Next, Madison walked us through her version of the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? She did the coloring and filled in a few blanks with writing.

Madison reads and counts using her fingers. When I tilt my iPad a certain way, I can see finger prints in what appears to be a rectangle of intersecting lines which resemble cross-hatching. This is from playing Candy Crush. On my lap top screen, I see similar smudges, but only in four horizontal lines. Those are from Madison doing her online homework. She has to count images. I’m trying to come up with a word that means “endearing and irritating at the same time,” and I suppose that word is “parenthood.”

I love this kid.

I love this kid.

Madison was a tour guide that would have made Disney Land proud. She walked us through her classroom to check out all of her artwork with glee. She led us out into the hallway to guess which work of art was hers based on four pieces of information: age, favorite color, food, and animal. Lynnette and I got to play detective. We started with pink, then narrowed them down by age. There was one with a watermelon and a puppy, but the puppy was pink, not black and white like Abby. Still, that was the best choice, because the only other real option featured a yellow bunny. I am glad we got it right because Madison might have been terribly upset.

Meet Flat Madison.

Meet Flat Madison.

The apex of Madison’s artistry was her self-painting. It looked like her in that the painting was obviously of a female. The hair was a little long, and I am not shocked that Madison included shoes on the self-painting. She always includes fashionable shoes, even in drawings with markers. The heavy use of pink was appropriate considering that Madison’s three favorite colors are pink, light pink, and bright pink.

Madison’s teacher propped up the self-painting with chopsticks, and we sat it in the seat next to Madison’s car seat. I intially called her “Paper Mad,” but Lynnette vetoed me and dubbed her “Flat Madison.” Shocker. Madison thought it was the coolest thing. That wouldn’t last.



Lynnette had a margarita at dinner. Maybe that’s how all of this started. “Can I play with your phone?” Madison asked Lynnette at dinner. “No, I’m going to give it to the Madison in the car,” Lynnette said. For a second, she lost me. Then I remembered Flat Madison. “I’m going to give it to Flat Madison because she doesn’t give mommy attitude in the morning,” Lynnette said. “That’s why I like her,” she added.

As we walked to the car and got into it, Lynnette spouted more things that Flat Madison did or did not do that implied she was superior to 3-D Madison, “Flat Madison does her homework without whining.” I jumped in there, too, but couldn’t keep up with Lynnette. “Stop, you guys!” Madison shouted. “You guys are being mean!”

“I’m disappointed in myself,” I said on the way home. “What do you mean?” Lynnette said. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of using Flat Madison that way first,” I said. It was so emotionally torturous and criminally devious that it seemed like something I would have come up with, but Lynnette beat me to it. “You only came up with because you’re all reeeeep,” I said, trying to approximate a moke’s inflection. “What?” she said. “There’s no way you use Flat Madison to tease Mad like that if you’re sober,” I said. “Stop it!” Mad yelled. She was legitimately defensive. “Sorry, Mad,” I said. “Mom’s a mean drunk.” Lynnette denied it, but it was difficult to make out her words through all her laughter.


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