In order to prevent a repeat of yesterday’s hair fiasco, I stirred Madison from her slumber before Lynnette left for work. “Dad!” she said in exasperation. “I didn’t have enough time to sleep in!” Ever one for starting fights with my daughter before breakfast, I fired back. “Well, then you can take a nap later and make up for it,” I said in overly cheery voice. “No, dad!” she shouted with her eyes closed. Ten minutes later, she was just as sleepy, but had very pretty hair.
Lynnette did leave us with Madison’s library card, so that was first on our list of activities for the day. Well, technically, we stopped at Target first so I could pick up a bean bag for Madison. I had hoped to get her something to plop down on when she read the books we were going to pick up. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans: sometimes when you take the best laid plan up to a price scanner and it reads $47.99, you ask your daughter if she wants an Icee instead. We ended up at the playground just outside of the Kapolei Public Library and Madison seemed to forget all about the pink beanbag. Phew.
The first thing we did when we got into the library was find a nice table where Madison could begin her work. Lynnette’s curriculum is only slightly less demanding than my own in English class, and Madison is only slightly more engaged my than my own students. I feel like that’s about right. Right? Honestly, I have to give Mad credit because she’s been very good in terms of doing the work. In fact, she asked if she could do some extra work tonight, and we did a whole section of math just now. Relax, it’s only single-digit addition and subtraction. I can handle that, you clowns. Once Madison finished her work, we took a stroll around the the children’s section and she picked out a few books to read check out. After I did the same thing in the graphic novel section, Madison said she wanted to read a book to me. Why not? It was air conditioned and we didn’t have any place to be just then. The book she selected is titled Mama, Don’t Go! by Rosemary Wells. The short story is about a kitten named Yoko who does not allow her mother to leave her at Kindergarten. About halfway through the book, Yoko was established as a kitten who would cry if her mother left, would whine and complain if her mother even hinted at leaving. “Does anyone we know do that?” I asked. “Abby!” Madison shouted. “She always cries and barks when we leave!” I suppose that’s not entirely untrue, but it is entirely self-serving. Perhaps I should have further qualified my question so as to ask Does any human girl we know – maybe even in our family – behave that way? Kids… gotta protect the ego.
When we got back home, the sky above Mililani Mauka was gray. Just the one shade. It intermittently drizzled. “It doesn’t look too good out there, Madison,” I said. She ran to the window and peered into the sky. “There’s blue over there,” she said, pointing to a corner of sky closer to Waipio than the rec center. We waited it out.
Eventually, the sky got a few shades (just the two or three) less gray and we took off for the rec center. I am thrilled to report to you that Madison is now swimming across three lanes of the pool – from the long wall to the plastic lane dividers – by herself. She swam the length of the pool in six or seven segments yesterday. It was fate that we bumped into Madison’s old swim teacher today.
Madison asked if I thought one of the lifeguards was her old swim teacher. I told her to ask. She was too shy. “Why don’t you ask her partner, then?” I asked. Mad promptly got out of the pool. She came back excited. “It is her!” she squealed. “Can I talk to her?” she asked. I told her she could talk to her right before we left. Madison reintroduced herself to her teacher. “You’re so big now!” she said. It was two summers ago, just as Mad recalled. The lifeguard asked how Mad was doing in the pool. I told her. I also told her that she was probably the reason Madison got so brave toward the end of that summer. Madison thanked her for being a good teacher. It doesn’t matter what you teach, that’s always a big deal.