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The alphabet and the stinkin’ cards

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published Sept. 24, 2007, thehive.modbee.com   

I should have learned long ago, sometime around the start of the Mufasa Bridge phase, to be careful what I start with the guys.

At least I can blame my lengthy detours to see the lions guarding the Seventh Street Bridge on an accident – we drove that way one morning to avoid a train, and I wound up taking that route for weeks. Even Little Guy joins in on the pleas – “Fasa Ridge, Mommy!” – and the only thing he knows about “Lion King” is “Thimba.”

This latest insanity, though, was a deliberate action on my part – one of those “seemed like a good idea at the time,” and it would have been if I’d just kept it simple.

But, noooooooooooooo! Instead, I have to get cute.

It started after my back-to-school night freak-out,  when I realized that preschool had reached the Serious Stage for Big Guy. The wee 4-year-olds are marching through the alphabet arm in arm with “Zoophonics” characters such as Allie Alligator, Bubba Bear and Catina Cat.

And Big Guy has been having a bit of trouble early on, largely with paying attention and penmanship. The penmanship issues, sadly, are partly the fault of bad genes. Mine. Back in the day when I actually wrote checks, cashiers would ask me if I were a doctor.

So the next Tuesday, I decided to scribble a brief note on his napkin. The letter B, followed by a quick drawing of a bee. I stuffed it in his lunch box, only to remember five minutes later that I can’t draw, either.

Not even stick people. Not even a straight line if you spot me a ruler.

Faced with those failings, I wadded up the napkin and did what any penmanship/artistry challenged mom would do – I booted up the computer and opened Microsoft Publisher.

Microsoft Publisher and I have been friends for years – we go so far back that I can remember when it used to be a low-end $30 desktop publishing program. Powerful for its price, but no industry leader. The price has inflated to the $160 range now, but I keep upgrading because I’m addicted.

It’s seen me through engagement invitations, wedding programs and two sets of baptism invitations. I haven’t bought a birthday card or gift tag in 12 years.

And now, it’s become my way to keep in touch with Big Guy, as well as to push, in a non-pushy way, education into his little head.

The basic design is simple: The letter of the week, a word and a piece of clip art on the front of the card, with the same repeated on the inside. I “sign” it with a typed “Love, Mommy.” I kid you not, folks. My writing really is  that  wretched.

The execution can be a pain in the rear. Basically, I have to come up with eight words a week beginning with the letter of the week. OK, that part’s not so hard, except they have to be words Big Guy will know. And they have to be words that I can illustrate with available cute clip art, my stock of which has seriously deteriorated over the past few years.

And then some nights, I actually forget. Thursday, I bolted upright out of bed when it dawned on me: Arggggggghhhhhh! I haven’t made the stinkin’ card yet. Uh, I mean, I haven’t carefully and lovingly crafted the note that my beloved oldest son so looks forward to in his lunch every day.

And he does look forward to it. Last week’s set is posted on the bookcase in the kitchen, and heaven help Little Guy if he even looks like he’s thinking about touching it. 

And Big Guy runs the list at least once a day. “Bee. Bear. Baseball. Balloons. They’re all B words!”

So my evil plan is working. Which makes me feel really whiny and small for ever thinking of them as “the stinkin’ cards.”

And at least with Little Guy, barring a computer meltdown, I’ll already have a full alphabet set. It strikes me as a little wrong though – poor thing even gets hand-me-down “I love yous” from Mommy. 

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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