My wife recently returned from a 5 week class out of state. For the most part, things went smoothly while she was away, but there were days, oh, there were days. I don’t know what it is about being on your own that sometimes makes life a little bit more stressful, even though your work load doesn’t really change. I’m the type of person that can handle bigger stressors without blinking but little ones sometimes really throw me for a loop. It’s the little stuff that sometimes gets the best of me.
Case in point, Jar Project: The bane of my existence in the month of December. Our #3 came home from school with a note asking that a jar be sent with her back to school. Our daughter is a pretty particular kind of girl and she follows the letter of the law. She said it couldn’t be a mason jar, and that it probably needed to be a pickle jar.
We didn’t have jars saved up except mason jars, so I went digging in the fridge to come up with a pickle jar. Now, I love teachers, and I love their exuberance and I live in awe of them, that they can handle 20 children all day and not go completely bonkers. But, I hate projects that involve work on my part. Maybe it’s a little laziness, maybe it’s in objection to being made to still do school work when I’ve served my time. Maybe it’s that even little tasks add up in a hurry when you multiply it by 5 kids. I don’t like these types of assignments. But, being the dutiful mom that I am sometimes, I scoured the fridge to see if we indeed had any pickle jars. I found a good substitute (relish?), dumped the relish out and washed it out, only to be informed that it really needed to be 16 ounces and not 12, like this one was. Back to the fridge, where I found an adequate jar of salsa. After convincing our daughter that although it was not a pickle jar, it was 16 ounces, and would suffice, I dumped the salsa into the rejected relish jar and washed out the salsa jar. I made a pretty big sacrifice here, committing to eating pickle-flavored salsa for the next week. Like I said, I’m dutiful. I handed the jar to our daughter only to be informed that the label had to be scrubbed off. Keep in mind, that while she’s the most responsible 8 year old on the planet, she still has the kid knack for bringing things to parent’s attention while you are busy doing 40 other things.
This label was the clear sticker type, the kind that doesn’t actually ever come off. You can’t soak it off, scrub it off, and once you remove the sticker, the sticky it leaves is forever. Now, I’ll admit the first day I did kind of a half-assed job trying to remove the sticker. I searched for goo-gone, knowing we might have some somewhere, but came up empty-handed. I handed the jar to #3, and told her it was the best I could do, and maybe the teacher could help her. This sent panic into her little heart but obediently put the jar in her backpack for the morning. A day and a half goes by, and that next morning, before school, she brings the jar out of her backpack, and claims the teacher said it wasn’t good enough, that the sticky had to be fully removed. (I have doubts it made it to the teacher, I believe she spent the day worried sick it would be returned, leaving her mortified that her mother forced her to not follow all instructions).
Of course, this is about 10 minutes before she has to get her butt out the door, so I give it the old college try again. I tried everything, from soaking, scrubbing, hot water, scraping, all to no avail. I hand the jar back to my doubtful daughter and push her out the door, once again patting myself on my back for attending to this frustrating task and doing the best I can. Out of sight, out of mind. Until the next morning. “Mom, teacher says I REALLY need to get the sticky off, and maybe use goo-gone.” (OH? Teacher says? Did teacher even see this? Why doesn’t teacher have goo-gone for all the moms that are too frustrated to get the sticky off???) I try again. I learn that the jar doesn’t need to be to school for days, so we soak it overnight, and I spend a good portion of the morning scrubbing the label off. While I get 1 other kid to school, and am loading up #2, #4, and #5 for an ortho appointment that we have to leave early for, as it’s in another state, 60 minutes away. By this point I’m getting angry at Jar Project. I don’t know if Jar Project will earn me Best Mother of the Year or Worst Mother of the Year. I mean, clearly I am the only mother that struggles with these types of projects, right? This shouldn’t be hard for me! A good mom would run to the store to by goo-gone, right?
Finally, with all the kids loaded up at 7am in the car, I successfully remove all the gooey stickiness from this prized jar. My daughter dries it off and thanks me as she starts loading it into her backpack for the ten-millionth time. And drops it. Onto the ceramic tile. Shatters. We both burst into tears and I MAY have said some bad words. And then start cry-laughing. She’s in a panic. I’m running late. I open our glass jar drawer (yes, we are the only people on the planet that have our glass drinking jelly-jars in a drawer, due to limited cupboards and reachability for little people). Lo and behold! A jar! With a lid! And a paper label!
I soak the label off in record time, hand the jar to #3, and as I’m headed out the door she yells, “But is this jar 16 ounces?”
“How do you know?”
“I just know!!!!!” I yell. I’m certainly winning MOTY now. I race out the door, leaving her to get to school, probably in tears, doubting her mother’s trustworthiness on jar sizes, imagining her own mortification when her teacher turns her jar away. Oh well. I tried, right?
Days go by and no word on Jar Project, so I assume Jar #3 was the right call. How did this jar become the bane of my existence?
Fast forward to Christmas day: I open a present to Mama and me from #3. Inside? A hand made snow globe with our daughter’s picture in it. Inside a 16 ounce jar. Best Christmas present ever.