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This week, Olivia’s preschool teachers told us they were going to send a slightly larger than shoe-box sized plastic tub home with a couple of kids a week. In the little tubs, the children were to put a toy into it, write three clues and bring it in so everyone in the class can try to guess what it is. A “guess the item” show and tell.

This is something new and the teachers are hoping it will stop the children from bringing toys to school. Since the various emails, letters and verbal requests haven’t done any good for some of the kids who are apparently stealth toy ninjas, because no parent would knowingly allow their children to bring toys to school when they’ve been asked not to, amirite?

Olivia was one of the first two children chosen for this, so on Wednesday, we dutifully took a purple tub home with a pillowcase inside (to further hide the item). Her first homework assignment!

We discussed it on the way home from preschool.

“What do you think you want to bring in for show and tell?”

“Um, I want to bring my tag reader!”

“Well, that involves two things; the tag reader and a book, to show everyone how it works. You’re only supposed to bring one thing, so we don’t want to do that.”

Maybe I was being inflexible, but they did say ONE item…rule breaking is for eating cake for breakfast, not basic instructions for a homework assignment. (Yes, I was one of THOSE kids).This would come back to bite me in the ass when Olivia came up with her next idea.

“Ooh, how about my R2D2? I can bring the little one, since the big one has two parts (it is a remote controlled R2D2; and yes, I know you are jealous).

“Well, I think it would be okay to bring the big one (because even though it was two parts, it seemed like THAT would be okay. And no, I can’t explain my logic, so don’t ask me to).

“No mama, you said I couldn’t bring a toy with two parts, so I’ll bring the little one!”

Damn. Caught in my own illogical rationale by my 4 year old.

“But, the little one could get lost! It’s very little!”

“Yeah, that’s true. But I still think I want to bring it.”

“Why don’t we think about it for a little while and then decide.”

“Mama, that sounds like a good idea. But remember, it has to be small enough to fit inside the little bag on top of the box.”

“Yes, I’m aware.”

“Because it can’t just fit in the box, it has to fit in the bag on top of the box and then also the box.”

“Yes, Olivia, I know. You just said that.”

“I know I just said that, I just wanted to make sure you know.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

Fast forward to Thursday afternoon. I have been fighting with both girls all damn day to clean their room. When they finally started to clean, I remembered we had yet to do her homework.

“Kiddo, what toy should you choose to take to school?” I scanned her room and my eyes fell on her Gabba Boombox

“Perfect!” I thought. Not too big, not too small, and something fun to share.

“Hey, Olivia, what about bringing your boombox?”

“Yes! It’s perfect!” she squealed and handed it to me. “We just need to make sure it fits in the bag AND the box. I’m not sure it will.”

It fit.

Then we had to go about creating three “clues” to help her classmates guess the item.

“Olivia, if you were to describe this item to someone who had never seen it before, or didn’t know what it was, what would you tell them?”

“Um…it makes noise.”

“Good! That’s a good clue! What else?”

“Well…it needs batteries.”

“Yes, this is true. But, when you say something makes noise, it usually needs batteries, so let’s try something different. Where do you see the boombox?”

“In my room!”

“If someone couldn’t go to your room, where would they see it?”

“In the living room.”

“No, I mean, if they were at THEIR house, how could they see it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is it on TV?”

“YES! You can see it on TV! On Yo Gabba Gabba!”

“Okay, let’s write that down. But what else can you say that describes this?”

“It’s gray.”

“Yes, this is true, but lots of things are gray. We need something more helpful as a clue. Who carries this boombox?”

“I do!”

“Who else?”

“Sophia does!”

“Yes…but, on TV, who carries it around?”


After a half hour of going back and forth in this fashion, we ended up with the following three clues:

  1. It makes noise and plays music.
  2. You can see it on a TV show.
  3. DJ Lance Rock has one too!

I’m sure I was leading, but I really tried to help her reach the clues without coming out and telling her. I know that this was a softball lobbed in my direction and there will be days when I want to pull my hair out because of her homework, but yesterday it was fun. I saw her little gears turning while she tried to figure it out.

My baby! Doing homework! It may have only been choosing and describing a toy, but for me, it was amazing and extremely bittersweet.

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