Dear Future Stella,
Oh man, when you were 4 you had the most epic meltdown of all time. Ok, so today wasn’t the most epic- you have definitely flipped bigger lids, but it was,by far, the funniest.
Today is Tuesday, which means Current Stella gets to bring a lunch to school and she stays longer. This glorious day, for both of us, is called Lunch Bunch. This morning while packing her lunch I decided to opt out of using her usual choices of lunch boxes (Minnie Mouse or Frozen) and for no particular reason, I went with a Cal Poly Wrestling lunch bag that belongs to your Dad. For a brief second I considered the possibility that she wouldn’t be thrilled by this, but I was beginning to resent the sheer number of Cal Poly Wresting lunch bags that we have accumulated over the years and I wanted to start putting them to good use. Every year we get a new one at an annual alumni event that your Grandma and Papa host. I almost have enough to hand out as favors at Current Stella’s next birthday party so my only hesitation in sending it to school with her is that she might lose it, delaying the party favor idea significantly. I dismissed this possibility though because she has never lost a lunch box and I’m a big believer in track record. I packed her lunch (leftover pot roast, carrots with kale, a Babybel cheese, mixed berries and some animal crackers) and stuck it in the fridge before she even woke up.
Fast forward to the moment the lunch box is revealed, roughly 30 seconds before we HAD to leave in order to catch the next bus.
Immediate shit storm. Current Stella is screaming and smashing the lunch box against our wall. She says, and I quote, “I am NOT bringing that lunch box to school. I want my Minnie one. I don’t want the lunch box with the cow on it. I DONT. LIKE. COWS. I want my Minnie one.” Now, it’s important to note two very significant things, Future Stella. One, the Cal Poly mascot is a mustang, not a cow. Two, Current Stella sleeps with a cow, appropriately named Cow Cow, every night and begs to carry the dreadful thing around with her everywhere she goes. So you can imagine my excitement at this arguement. I have a clear victory and there is nothing I like more than proving someone wrong and driving my point home.
Here’s the bag
I open my mouth to begin my condescending speech about how it’s a horse, not a cow, and that she IS, in fact, going to be eating her lunch from it. I couldn’t wait to point out that if she hates cows so much maybe we should find a new home for Cow Cow. Before I could begin my eloquent speech, I looked closely at the obvious horse on the bag and I was dumbfounded that anyone, much less a child who is supposedly ready for Kindergarten, could mistake it as a cow. I decide to hold off on the Grand Slam of arguement victories to give her the benefit of the doubt. I calmly ask Current Stella to look at the bag one more time and confirm what animal she sees.
This enrages her. “I am not going to look at the bag. I don’t like the bag and I want the cow off the bag and I want Minnie to be on it.” She is now squeezing her eyes closed in a defiant move to ensure that no looking at the bag will be happening.
I gave her a shot at redemption but now I must go in for the victory. I tell her, matter of factly, that its a horse on the bag and not a cow. I tell her it’s like a My Little Pony. Boy, was that the wrong thing to say to Pyscho Current Stella.
She takes a deep breath and on the release she shouts, “That is NOT a My Little Pony. It’s a cow and I do not like lunch boxes with cows on them.”
Right then would have been an excellent time to storm back to her room, grab her Cow Cow and duct tape it around the lunch bag in the same way one would tape a victim to a chair. I would bring the bag over to her and say, “Do you like this lunch bag? It has a cow on it.” That would have been amazing and the victory would certainly have been mine but we were late and we had to go.
I started to walk out the door, lunch bag in hand. I knew she would follow me because even in her most irrational moments, she tends to do the right thing. She is trailing behind me, still crying and cow hating.
I remind her of the no crying on the bus rule and she slowly calmed down. I take this time to tell her about the bag and how it’s the school that daddy went to and how her Papa also went there and he even worked there for many years. This peeked her interest a little and she asked if she had a lunch bag with the name of her school on it. I told her that she didn’t. She then said she could like it if it was a baby horse. I lied and said it was a baby horse. She asked, “Mommy, what is a baby horse called?” I hate questions like this. I knew how to spell it- foal, but I didn’t know how to say it. Fowl or full? This tricks me every time so to avoid saying it wrong I lied and said baby horses are called ponies.
Once on the bus Current Stella was happily holding the lunch box. I pressed my luck and asked her if I could take a picture. She started to get worked up again, but remembering the no crying rule, she said I could- but not of her face.
Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, I can’t wait for your birthday party this year. I think it will be cow themed and this bag will be the perfect party favor.