Sunday, April 15, 2012



M's company, because it is awesome, made little wooden birdhouses available for employees to take home for their children to decorate. The birdhouses will be displayed in the employee cafeteria as part of the corporate celebration of Earth Day, and staffers get to vote for a winner. Since the deadline to turn in the decorated birdhouses is tomorrow, and Zoe's father is in Singapore making it rather difficult for him to take the birdhouse into the office and still make his meetings, I'll run it into his work tomorrow so she doesn't miss the opportunity to participate.

She designed the color scheme and painted it herself, and she did such a great job.

I remember the coloring contests a local grocery store used to sponsor. You could get a giant poster, color it in, and return it to the store to be displayed with all the other entries. The store manager would select a winner, and that one was hung somewhere prominent with a big badge declaring it as The Most Awesome Poster Ever.

The winners were invariably completed by the child's parents. The colors were great, and everything stayed in the lines, and usually there was a fair amount of glitter, every speck of which was strategically placed. They were awesome to behold, until you read the entry form at the bottom that said it was proudly done by Skippy, Age 7. WTF.

It used to make me so mad because I didn't have glitter and could therefore never compete. Now it makes me mad because I wouldn't have been competing against Skippy anyway. I would have been competing against Skippy's 32-year-old anal-retentive mother. Not cool, Grocery Store Manager. Not cool to encourage that kind of behavior by consistently awarding those posters finished by SAHMs who had nothing better to do.

So I allowed Zoe to paint her birdhouse with little interference from her thirty-something AR mother, because it's HER project and she deserves to have that experience. The sides aren't perfectly clean and there are some drips here and there, but it's the most beautiful birdhouse in the world to me. She is so proud of it, and she should be. It looks exactly like it was painted by a six-year-old who did a damn fine job.

I'm kind of glad she won't see the other entries at M's work. I don't know if his colleagues are as gullible as the store manager from my youth, but I can only hope they award best birdhouse with age-appropriate decorations in mind. It's not about whether she wins or loses, it's about the fight being fair to begin with.


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