Medium had a pretty bad day at school today.
When your extremely kindhearted middle child comes home from school, dutifully does her homework, and then asks you how to spell loser, this is what we call "a clue."
And, as it turns out, the reason she wanted to know the spelling of that particular word is because one of her tablemates in kindergarten, whom Medium considers a friend, called her that today. And said she needed to bring him a piece of paper tomorrow with the words "Medium is a loser" written on it.
I refused to allow her to do that, and she skipped off to play, dashing inside and out and having a good time.
I, meanwhile, emailed her teacher. I do not want to be one of those helicopter parents who emails over every tiny little thing, but this is not the first issue we've had with this particular student. I understand that he's a six-year-old boy, and he will act like a six-year-old boy, but it's really hard to explain six-year-old boys to my kind-hearted, loving middle child who has never met anyone that she doesn't like. And who doesn't have problems making and keeping friends...except with this one kid. His waffling between "I like you and you're my friend for always" and "I don't like you and you'll never be my friend for always" confuses Medium. She doesn't know why he acts this way (I have my suspicions, but they're not exactly explainable in this situation; Medium is also my elephant, and I don't need her repeating my thoughts to the kid in question). But calling my child a loser is unacceptable, and telling her she needs to write that about herself—an request she wouldn't question, since it came from someone she considers a friend—is even more unacceptable.
Especially when it's not true.
I copied my husband on the email that I sent to Medium's teacher and then went back to reading a book and listening to the kids play outside with a couple of the neighbor kids.
Combined with the heat (the high in my backyard peaked at 91 today), running around and playing outside in the heat (and thus, the humidity), the fact that bugs live outside and bees fly near people in their search for flowers (no, honey, the flowers on your shirt are not attracting the bees), and hunger, Medium harrumphed back into the house just as I was starting to make dinner. She plopped down on a stool at the kitchen island, started talking, and soon had dissolved into tears about how this little boy has been telling her that he likes her and then that he doesn't like her, and nearly came unglued when I told her I had emailed the teacher. She said that would just make it worse; the boy would lie, and she wouldn't be believed, and he'd say she was mean. She said that, when he called her a loser, he meant that she was mean. Did I tell her teacher that? No...because I just found out.
"Take the email back!" she wailed.
I gently explained that I couldn't.
This did not go over well.
Medium sniffled and gulped and tears spiked her lashes. I grasped her chin gently. "You are not a loser. You never will be. You are my Medium, and there is no other Medium in the world like you. You are special and wonderful and kind and loving." I wrapped my arms around her as tears dripped over and she sniffled some more. I held tight and made a mental note to email the teacher back when she responded, to let her know that Medium was worried she would not be believed.
And given the circumstances—heat, humidity, hurt, and hunger—I was not at all surprised when Medium's panicked concerns switched to high school. "I don't wanna go to high school."
Now, I've told all this backstory for a reason. Namely, Medium's determination that she didn't want to go to high school. Or middle school.
Hold that thought.
Here, it's important to note that I am not nearly the cook my mother is. Or that Hubby is. I can bake like nobody's business. I can decorate cakes and have them not be Wrecks. But cooking is something of a different matter, and I'm not nearly as good at it as my inner Mom Manual says I should be. I have a handful of dishes I make well. It's also very hard to mess up a crockpot meal when I can simply throw in ingredients from a list and leave it alone. But I'm not Alton Brown or Pioneer Woman fabulous. Hubby tends to do more of the cooking here.
I'm cooking dinner while letting Medium gripe herself out. She doesn't want to go to school. Not high school. Not middle school.
"I jus' wanna stay here an' do what you do. I wanna stay here an' cook."
I was shaking soy sauce into the deep skillet where I had cut-up chicken cooking when she said that.
I'm glad I wasn't doing anything dangerous.
I think I made some kind of comforting, reassuring noise.
Medium felt the need to say it again.
"I don't wanna go to school. I jus' wanna stay here with you. An' cook. Jus' cook. Like you."
After a few more gripes about the fact that I was putting squash into the stir fry (the bag of veggies came like that, honest), and me promising no squash on her plate, she hopped down and headed out to play.
I just wanna cook like you.
Oh, honey. I hope you end up a much better cook than me!