I need to write and run today. Littleb has big plans for me. The other day, as we were leaving his after school enrichment program, we noticed a book fair going on in the Atelier. Littleb has been enrolled in this school since he was 6-months-old and during that entire time, I’ve intended to look up the word “atelier” but I still haven’t done it. As far as I know, an atelier is a room where educational institutions trap unsuspecting parents and make them buy things to raise money for said institution with the remaining two bucks they have in their wallet after paying tuition each month; the two bucks they were saving towards a weekend macchiato. An atelier is a lot like a spider’s web-you can’t easily extract yourself from it and before you know what’s happening, you’ve been sucked dry. And what’s especially heartbreaking about the atelier is its location right next to the one exit in the building that’s not alarmed.
No, there’s no escaping the atelier. Just try it sometime. Here you come, swooping around the corner, nearly homefree, when you see the brightly colored posters and all the books, and you curse to yourself because you were so close you could nearly smell the flame-broiled burgers from the Burger King across the street. But not close enough, because now your kid is in the atelier eating free crackers and looking for the Captain Underpants section. Free crackers. That’s how they they entice the kids who aren’t moved by piles of things that need purchasing, like Littleb.
Every once in a while, you’ll see a parent trying to wrestle their kid past the atelier. It’s always the rookies. You have to have a little sympathy for the rookies. They’ll soon realize that it’s easier to wrestle a salmon from the teeth of a rabid grizzly than it is to maneuver an over-tired 3-year-old past the atelier during book fair week. I know you really wanted that macchiato, friend, but get in here and fork over all your money like the rest of us. Welcome to the Atelier. Here’s the list of books that the toddler class needs. That’s right. Not only are you buying books for your kid, you’re also buying books for the school. It’s quite a racket they’re running in the atelier. Entirely voluntary, though. Here. Have another free cracker.
Littleb couldn’t find any Captain Underpants books but he did find a kid’s cook book which fired every creative neuron in his twitching, over active little boy body. And that’s what he has in mind for me today. He’s got a grocery list a mile long and plans to recreate such juvenile delicacies as ice cream bon bons and cheesy bacon popovers. I’m no rookie. You can bet your sweet patootie that I tried to buy that book for the class so that they’d have to cook with my kid and buy the 600 necessary ingredients, but they were too clever for me. It wasn’t on the list.
So, if you need me, I’ll be spending my 401K at the grocery store and spending the rest of the day explaining the difference between folding and mixing. As if I know. I don’t even know what an atelier is.