You should know by now that there is a big difference between my oldest two children: Big E has never been a social person, for the most part. I wanted him to participate in things, make friends, have a life, but he balked at all three. He is content to sit in his room and talk to people he’s never met, and either kill them or conspire to kill with them, via online gaming. Tween C, on the other hand, wants to be a part of everything. She’s got a lot of friends, and anything and everything that’s available to her she wants to participate in. It’s been a lot of fun, helping her to get ready for different events, field trips, parties, school dances.
Last week she told me that this past Friday there was a “Mardi Gras Dance” at her school. It was casual attire, so there was little preparations to make. However, two of her friends didn’t have rides to the dance, so she asked early in the week if they could ride the bus home with her and I bring them all. I agreed. But no one was spending the night. Their parents could either pick them up from the dance, or I would fight the traffic to pick them up and their parents could pick them up from our house.
Later in the week, she said that they wished that they had sparkly Mardi Gras masks to wear to the dance…and I agreed to go and look for some. One of my coworkers even brought a bag of great Mardi Gras beads for me to give to them to wear to the dance. Friday, when I got off of work, I went to two or three stores and finally found the masks that they wanted. They were awesome. Purple, green and gold glittery things, and they even had elaborate feathers galore. They set me back about $20, but I didn’t mind. The last store I went to and finally found the masks was conveniently located next to a pizza place, so I was able to pick up a few pizzas to bring home with me so that they could eat before the dance.
I texted Tween C while waiting on the pizzas: “I am sooooo good.” Despite her texting questions and handing off her phone to her friends to wart me as well, I gave no further details. When I got home, they squealed with delight over my choices. They ate pizza, and we were off. I noticed that Tween C’s friend, Tween J, was wearing some white glittery eyeshadow and a little lip gloss, which is only noteworthy because I’d not seen her wear makeup before.
I dropped them off, gave Tween C $5 for snacks, and went over the plan again: “Okay, so we are all clear…I will be parked right over there at 9:00 p.m. I am picking all of you up, not your parents, right J? Right S?” “YEP!” Okay.
8:45, I get a text from Tween C: “Mom, J’s parents can’t pick her up at our house, so we can just bring her home, will you bring her stuff?” Hmmm. Okay. “Will her parents be HOME?” “Yeah.”
Odd, but whatever. “Okay. I’ll bring it.” “Thank, mom! :)))”
At 9:00, I picked them up, asked how their night went, and was told lots of things about who danced with who, who got mad at who, who went with a date and didn’t stand next to them the whole time, etc. Overall, it didn’t sound like very much fun to me at all. I had managed to leave several of J’s things at home, so we had to stop by our house to get them before I could bring her home. Big E was in the house “watching” Little A and Little B, who were sleeping. I went in, turned off the alarm, looked for her things, came out, turned on the alarm, and got back in the car. Still, I’d managed to forget something. Tween C went back in and got it. That’s 5 series of alarm dings so far that the little ones managed to sleep through. Grrr.
On the way to J’s house, there was a lot of whispering in the back seat between the girls. I ignored it. Tween C asked J aloud, “Why couldn’t your parents come and get you, again?” “Um, my dad had to go and get my brother, and my mom won’t be home until later.” But when we got to J’s house, there were two cars in the driveway. “Oh, they are both home, I didn’t know.”
When the door opened for her to get out, she said, “Oh, man!” and some more whispering occurred, then finally Tween S said, “Does it look like J has any makeup on?” Oh. okay.
“No, it doesn’t. Maybe a little glitter. Just tell them that it came off the mask you wore to the dance.”
“Okay! Thanks!” And she grabbed her stuff and flitted out of the car. I waited for her to go in. But after she rang her doorbell, she remembered that she left something, so she ran back to the car to find it. While she was digging around in the backseat, her father (whom I’d never met before,) came out and walked over to the car. “Hi!”
“Thank you so much!”
“Oh, not a problem at all.”
Then he said something that I didn’t understand. The family is Vietnamese, and his English wasn’t quite clear enough for me to get it. I assumed he said, “What is she looking for back there?” and I responded, “I think she left her iPod in the backseat.”
A moment later, we were gone.
On the way home, Tween S said, “Ha. What did you say to him when he asked “How was the birthday party?”
“What? No, he asked what she was doing….”
Wait a second. Back the effing truck up.
It all became clear to me in a split second. Actually, it took me a few minutes to put all this together. The look on Tween C’s face explained a lot.
I had been played. Big time.
Tween C had mentioned a couple of times that J’s parents were very strict….She was a straight A student….she couldn’t spend the night at friends’ houses….I now knew by my keen powers of deduction that she was not allowed to wear makeup. Soooooo. Duh. She wasn’t allowed to go to dances.
The story they told her parents was that there was a birthday party for Tween C at our house. I had been an ignorant facilitator in the plot of a group of 12 year old girls! How DUMB was I???
To say the least, I was incensed! Zohrhubby and I struggled with whether to call J’s parents the next day, but Tween C’s quick text right before I took her phone away was this: “J! My mom found out!” This struck the fear of God in her, because she texted three times, “What did she say?!” minutes passed…”WHAT DID SHE SAY?!!!” and finally, “WHAAATTTTT DIDDDD SHEEEE SAYYYYYY????!!!!!” Finally, I guess she figured out that C had lost her phone…so she stopped. I imagine that the fear that she felt the entire weekend was punishment enough. I don’t know her parents, and though I agree with ZH that they had a right to know, I was just thankful that nothing had happened and she made it home safe, considering she was in MY CARE and CONTROL for the evening!
Tween C, on the other hand, didn’t escape this fiasco unscathed. In addition to losing her cellphone for an indeterminate amount of time, she was put to work BRIGHT AND EARLY Saturday morning to pay back the $50 I spent on the dubious evening before. She scrubbed bathrooms, did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and cleaned floors. In addition, she had to endure two separate tongue lashings, first from me, Friday night, and again from Zohrhubby the next morning.
My new policy (beginning NEXT year, as there will be no more dances this year for dear Tween C) is this:
I will personally bring Tween C to and from all events. She will not ride with anyone. And secondly, anyone who comes over to my house will have to have her parents CALL ME to go over everything first.
I had to write that down, you know, because I will forget my standing policy next week.
Tween C’s a good kid. She felt terrible about it once she got caught. I went from feeling like Mother of Year to Dumbass of the Moment.
Oh well, life goes on. Thanks for listening to my long story. 🙂