"The green bag on the credenza." she stated frantically. "I nee-eed it!"
"Is it something you can take to school tomorrow?" I asked taking my foot of the gas just in case I had to pull back in.
She shook her head back and forth very slowly and mouthed the word 'NO". I asked her what was in the bag a second time and she sat frozen in her booster seat looking flustered and stressed.
When I started pulling out of the driveway she screeched franticly, "It's for my teacher!"
"Does she need it today?" I asked impatiently. Her reply was a pained nod with a one sided shoulder shrug.
I watched as Noelle slowly trudged through the snow and half-heartedly make her way through the glass doors into the school. Her narrow shoulders were rounded forward and the straps of her Spongebob backpack had slid down to the crook of her arms. With every step Spongebob awkwardly bounced off her butt. It was a sad, sad sight.
Yep. I did it. I went home, grabbed the forgotten green Giant shopping bag, loosely tied it shut so the stuffed animals wouldn't flop out and drove back to school. Noelle was so happy and grateful she was speechless. She gave me her christmas morning smile - so big that she tried to hold it back. It escaped.
I left that school walking tall because I was obviously the greatest mom in the universe.
The truth was I was a patsy. A dupe. I had been conned.
"I'm sorry - she did what?" I asked the women on the other end of the phone.
Noelle's raggedy stuffed animals were not for her teacher. They were for her best friend, a fellow 8 year old. Noelle had sold them to her for a whopping $12. Additionally she was trying to make a deal that sounds a bit like a pyramid scheme. Luckily her mom called me before her daughter turned over any cash and Noelle's business was thwarted before it expanded.
Noelle got into 'big girl' trouble for the first time and it wasn't because she was trying to earn some money by selling her animals. She lied knowing full well we wouldn't approve.
I grew as a mom that day and learned something important about my daughter. She has a tell.
That slow head shake (or nod) coupled with the pained look in her eyes gives her away every single time.
Don't try me again little girl. I got your number!