The Very Hungry Caterpillar…on Tuesday he ate through one camera…

My daughter is learning about being the third wheel, the odd man (girl) out, three’s a crowd at a very young age.

I asked her who she played with at recess yesterday and she said, “My friend, Mr. Caterpillar.” She didn’t seem upset or disappointed the other girls had told her she couldn’t play princess because she simply “wasn’t a princess” and another friend telling her she would be happy to talk to her on the bus but once they got within the school boundaries, she was no longer her friend, until of course, tomorrow’s bus ride.

As a parent, it’s heartbreaking when your child is left out of the group and has to find a caterpillar to entertain her on those breaks between dissecting a human cadaver and philosophy 101.

I can’t get too worked up over a couple of days she’s not included. I guess it’s just her turn.

About a month ago, she came home with a drawing of several kids playing and laughing and then a group off to the side, in a cage, crying with sad faces drawn below them. She explained those were the kids that weren’t part of the “club.” Are they really already forming cliques in grade one? And I’m glad I asked for an explanation of her rendering because she gets her drawing abilities from me and I thought it was clowns riding cheetahs through a forest of gummy worms.

I’m not suggesting she didn’t deserve to be impeached from said club. She may have forgotten to pay her daily allowance to the keeper. I have been watching with great interest to see if she will attempt to smuggle any of her favourite toys out of the house, never to be returned as a membership fee to whomever the Godfather is that week.

A couple of weeks ago, she was fumbling with something in her backpack and I asked her to show me what she was playing with.

She pulled a pink, digital camera out of her bag. It was a real camera. It took real pictures. It had real gigs and memory and pixels (what?) and most importantly, it was not hers. A girl in her class had given it to her if she would play with her at recess. Yikes!

When I was a kid, I’m not saying we didn’t bribe the odd kid to do what we wanted. I would have traded my home for someone’s fruit roll-up, thank God those are no longer permitted on school property, or my trampoline might mysteriously go missing, but a camera?

It took her three days to return it after one final Mommy-threat telling her I would have no choice but to call the school and turn in the entire gang, leaving them all with nothing but a healthy snack and a caterpillar to keep them company.

Look out grade two, we might need to clear a wall for that big-screen after all.

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