When I came to school to pick up my daughter, the teacher pulled me aside.
“Do you have a princess ring?” She asked glancing at my daughter.
I blinked. “Um no.”
“Well, she says you forgot her princess ring and she’s been upset about it all day.”
We have many princess apparel items and princess accessories, but my three-year-old owns no princess rings. Nor did she mention wanting a princess ring. Nor has she ever mentioned wanting a princess ring. I shrugged at the teacher. “Look, I have no idea what is going on.”
My daughter lives in her own world, with her own rules and her own requirements. On any given day, I am met with a list of demands and rules that constantly baffle me. No one wears black on Mondays. Princesses only drink milk at lunch. Dresses with foxes on them are only for the library. Syrup doesn’t belong on pancakes. Or on planet earth. We don’t have enough beans. Socks have to go inside out. And mom is not allowed to sing any songs that appear in the movie “Frozen.”
She declares these rules with a toss of her head and just the tiniest hint of an eyeroll. Like I should obviously know that spiders only play the tuba. DUH. How could I not know that?
I wasn’t kidding when I told the teacher I have no idea what is going on. Because I don’t.
At school, when I fished my daughter out of a group of her friends, she smiled at me and told me that she didn’t miss me at all because she was too busy having fun. In the car, I asked her if she wanted a ring.
“What ring, mom?” She said, her eyes wide.
“Didn’t you ask your teachers for a ring?”
She shook her head and started singing a song about baby chickens who want to go to Wisconsin on vacation. Then, when we got home she asked me to pick up a giant, imaginary jewel off the ground. When I mimed picking it up, she frowned. “No, you got a baby chickie!” I went through this mimicry four times, before I gave up. “Get your own jewel,” I said.
She began sobbing. If she didn’t get the jewel she would get eaten by a Jaguar and it would be all my fault. I gave her a hug and put her down for a rest.
Sometimes, parenting feels like watching over someone who is just high on drugs all the time. Or being a nurse in a mental institution. After a while, I forget who is the sane one and who is the three year old wearing underwear on her head. Look, I don’t know much about life, but I’m pretty sure that it’s not a good idea to feed the baby dried macaroni and sequins. Rest time, is when I get to recalibrate. Remember that life is more than just chickens, jaguars and Wisconsin. So, while my daughter warbled a song from her room, I sat on the couch to try to get some reading done, but I made sure to make some room for all those baby chickies.