- This afternoon I picked my middle kids up from school like I do every day. My son came walking out of school dragging his backpack along the blacktop like he does every day. Then he told me, "My backpack's all wet. My water bottle leaked and I have a World Book Encyclopedia in it."
I thought my son dragged his backpack along the ground in an effort to put holes in the bag and make me crazy, but perhaps it's just because he has the habit of checking ENCYCLOPEDIAS out of the library. Yes, my son likes to check out encyclopedias. How else can you can absorb large quantities of knowledge on a given letter of the alphabet and build up your biceps carrying it to and from school at the same time? Then another thought hit me. "Great! Because I didn't spend enough money at the library yesterday, now I'll have to buy an encyclopedia!"
I asked him, "Did you take your water bottle out?"
"Jackson!" I rummaged in his backpack, looking for the leaking water bottle. I didn't find any water bottle. Instead I found a leaking carton of chocolate milk. I pulled the soggy, disgusting carton out of the bag and held it up. "WHY do you have this in your backpack? Did you really think you could save unrefrigerated milk all day long?"
"I don't know," came his well thought out answer.
"Ugh Jackson." I pulled assorted papers (not in his folder, but just crumpled in the bottom of his bag) and books out of his backpack. Nice. Everything was soaked in extremely smelly chocolate milk.
When we got home, we went through the papers and tossed most of them in the garbage. His reading log was completely waterlogged. The encyclopedia, thankfully, didn't have a drop on it! I left the backpack outside and told Jackson to hose it down and wash it out with dish soap, then, envisioning him spraying the whole front yard until it was foaming with soap, I decided to clean it out myself.
I carried the offending carton of warm chocolate milk inside and went to pour it down the sink. However it didn't pour. Chunks of brown, cottage cheese looking, spoiled, nastiness plopped out of the carton. (I might add here that I'm extremely proud of myself for not throwing up, although I'm feeling a little queasy just remembering the scene.)
"Jackson! How long was that carton in your backpack?!"
Again came his famous answer, "I don't know."
With four kids in school, I don't make a habit of going through their backpacks every night. Obviously. They pull out their homework and any papers for me, I help them with their homework if they need it, I check it, I sign their homework journal, and they put everything back into the bag. I guess, from now on, I'll have to ask, "Do you have any homework? Do you have any papers for me? Do you have anything that needs to be signed? Do you have any cartons of chocolate milk in your backpack?"
Oh, yes, how could I forget? Among the papers marinated in spoiled milk, was an invitation to a birthday party. A party being held tomorrow.
"Jackson, how long have you had this invitation?"
"I don't know."
"Ugh, I have to RSVP and explain why I'm calling the day before the party. How embarrassing." I didn't even know this mom because the birthday girl is new to our school this year. I phoned the mom of the birthday girl and explained why I was rudely calling the day before the party to thank her for inviting my son and to say that we already had plans and he wouldn't be able to attend. She was very nice and understanding. I was ready to wring Jackson's neck after she told me that she'd sent the invitations out THREE weeks ago. Then she informed me that her daughter has hearing problems, wears hearing aids and was just mainstreamed into our school and didn't really know anyone. Her daughter had told her that Jackson had gone out of his way to be nice and help her out in her new school.
I just love hearing stuff like that! It almost makes up for the nasty Bag O' Curdled Milk. Almost. Ok, not really.
Oh yeah! Thanks for the wonderful suggestions of carrying a spare diaper and wipes in my car. I actually do this. I've done this for years. Do you think I remembered that I had a spare diaper in my car yesterday? Noooooo! (Well, what can you expect from 14 functioning brain cells)