In all the madness of moving, Owen’s school has decided to gift us with the opportunity for him to participate in a time-honored program designed to teach children responsibility….
I remember this particular activity well. The child is entrusted with the responsibility of “caring for” an egg, which arrives in the classroom adorably swaddled in Easter grass and nestled snugly inside a small, easy to tote around box. Everywhere the child goes, the egg is supposed to go along, and their tandem journey is to be recorded in an “egg journal”.
The whole program is oh so adorable, and rich in layered lessons as well as a healthy dollop of language arts. A wonderful lesson.
At least, in theory.
The reality of this exercise out in the trenches, however, is that an eight year old boy, no matter how well-intentioned and enthusiastic typically has about as much impulse control as your average squirrel.
I knew I was in trouble when Owen came sprinting out of the school on day one of his Egg Odyssey simultaneously cradling his precious egg in his hands (“mommy he is so CUTE! I will call him batman!”) and plotting with his friend Nick about how they were going to pimp out his little eggmobile. This poor egg, profoundly adored by its guardian was to be the focus of all of Owen’s energy for the next week.
I shuddered as I thought of the potentially scrambled ramifications of my son’s devotion on something as fragile as an egg, and decided that I was grateful that his teachers had at least thought to hard boil the eggs before sending them to their foster homes.
My conviction that this project was probably not so appropriate for a bunch of second graders was reinforced when after testing the aerodynamic properties of his ovoid charge he decided that his planned modifications of his egg box needed to be revised to accommodate wings.
Alarmed that the project would end even before the first journal entry was made, I discouraged further flight testing.
Owen’s serial attempts to modify the egg box he was sent home with eventually resulted it its complete disintegration, and the egg spent the remainder of its ordeal in a recycled egg carton. As can be expected this egg became almost as much my responsibility as it was his. Supervising a rambunctious 8 year old supervise an egg seemed an impossible, if not cruel task to set to any parent, much less one trying to coordinate a long distance move on short notice.
The week of the egg odyssey eventually came to an end, and he did manage to bring most of the egg back to school on the final day. I was somewhat comforted when I saw some of the other bedraggled specimens, with their cracked eggshells held together with band aids, being brought back on that final day.
I do wonder, however, if all the children were as honest as Owen was in his journal. Several of his entries simply read “mom put egg in the fridge”.