Friday, January 25, 2008
My son, J, likes those little Baby Bell cheeses wrapped in red wax. We buy a mesh bag of them at Costco about 3 times a year. About a year and a half ago, he ate one and was having fun rolling up the wax into a little ball. This gave me the “fun mom” idea of saving all the wax to make one huge wax ball. Our long-term goal was to have a ball the size of a basketball. We started out rather quickly, because both kids were excited, but my daughter soon realized she didn’t really like the cheese and that I didn’t appreciate anyone opening up the cheese just to get the wax. Slowly, the wax ball grew, by about four blobs a week.
This fall my son was eating lunch and at clean-up time, he still had his little wax blob on the table. When a lunch mom told him to throw it away, he refused. Aargh. She told him again. Nope. Soon he was visiting the principal for a discussion about obedience. The wax went into the trash.
When he got home, we talked about how he needed to obey those in authority. I asked if he had tried to explain why he wanted to keep the wax. I hoped this would make him look reasonable and articulate, rather than disobedient, and make me look like a good mom. No dice. I gently suggested that if he were to put the wax in his lunch bag immediately after opening the cheese, this problem wouldn’t occur again.
My pride was hurt. Now I had moms and the principal as witnesses to this stubborn act. I mean, what kind of kid refuses to throw his trash away? Perhaps there was discussion in the hall afterward. I wanted somehow to work our wax ball into casual conversation the next time I went to the school. I wanted to absolve J of wrongdoing. Yes, I knew his rudeness was wrong, but deep down I felt that he had “taken one for the family.”
News of his wax collecting spread through the third grade table and part of the first. Every once in a while my 6 year old daughter, M, would come home w/ wax given to her by a generous friend. All was quiet on the wax front for a while.
A few weeks ago it happened again-- same issue, different mom. When I asked J how he had responded, he said he threw the blob away immediately. Whew. A show of obedience. No principal’s visit. No reason to be embarrassed when passing this mom in the halls. Still, I felt a little sad, and our wax ball looked a little lopsided that day.