This is a story about my lovely, youngest daughter Lindsey.
My sister-in-law – Jamie once said (of Lindsey) – “That kid just oozes personality.” I don’t think I will ever hear of a better description of Lindsey. She did then and she still does “ooze personality.” She is, like her sister, a completely different individual, who has from a very young age marched along happily to the beat of her own drum.
This event took place in December 2000 – When Lindsey was two years old at First Baptist Learning Center in Downtown Dallas.
It was a cold day in early December and I was taking the kids to school. Casey went to kindergarten and Lindsey was in the two-year old class. As we were walking through the foyer we saw a large red and gold chair wrapped with green garland and lights, white floor covering and small trees placed around by the chair along with a few wrapped gifts. Today the daycare had announced they were bringing in Santa for pictures for the kids. As we walked by Lindsey pointed to the display and said, “what’s that?”
I said, “I think you are going to have a visitor.”
We walked on through and dropped Lindsey off at her class. All the kids were dressed in their best Christmas outfits. Lindsey and Casey had on red matching dresses, white tights and black shoes. Lindsey immediately ran and got on a Big Wheel and started paddling around the classroom.
I walked on and took Casey through to the next building to her class. The kids were making snowmen with cotton balls and black felt. Casey was excited. She loved kindergarten.
I waved to Mrs. Penny (the principal) and went downstairs and across the street where I worked in Lincoln Center.
It was about 10:30am that something occurred to me and suddenly I had a sinking feeling. The day before the daycare had another visitor. The Crime Dog, McGruff. He had come by to talk to the kids about “stranger danger.” He was very thorough and even included a part about staying together at the mall. The kids had spent the night before coloring the books he had handed out. “I’m sure it will be okay,” I told myself.
By the end of the day I had not received a call from Penny so I thought things must have went well. After I got off work I walked back to the Learning Center to pick up the kids.
I was met at the door by Mrs. Penny. She looked at me, shook her head and motioned me into her office. Uh oh.
“I need to tell you what Lindsey did,” she said.
I sat down.
“First of all, Lindsey acted really well this morning. She was well-behaved and kept her dress nice and clean. She behaved so well that Ms. Eva made her the leader for the class when they brought the kids down to take pictures with Santa.” She smiled.
I breathed a sigh of relief. (Lindsey had a habit of stripping if she got too hot.)
“Lindsey led the class in a straight line down the hall and the stairs. She even helped the teachers tell the other kids to be quiet when they went by the baby rooms.” She went on. I was feeling better. This was a good thing!
“Then the teachers opened the glass doors…Lindsey marched through and slammed on her brakes..pointed her finger at Santa and yelled…’STRANGER!’” she tried to look stern, but her lips were quivering in a hidden smile. “She then screeched at all the kids behind her yelling ‘STRANGER STRANGER!!’ Until she had all of them yelling with her. They turned and ran back up the hallway, up the stairs and back to the room, where Lindsey turned the latch and locked out both of her teachers.”
“I am…..soooooo sorry,” I whispered.
“So not only did the entire class NOT get their pictures taken with Santa, but we had to make a trip upstairs with the key to open the door, which wasn’t easy since the kids were all leaning against it because Lindsey was telling them to keep the stranger out,” she went on.
“Oh gee,” I said.
“Your daughter is quiet a leader,” she said.
“Um, yes,” I replied, “she seems to be that.”
“Don’t ever let that go away,” she smiled.
“But….aren’t you mad? I mean, none of the kids got their pictures taken with Santa and she locked the teachers out,” I replied.
“I will have to explain to the parents that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea for us to have invited Crime Dog McGruff over to do the stranger talk the day before the Santa pictures.” She agreed, “Then I will tell them that the class really paid attention, and that they should not be frustrated, but pleased that the children learned a lesson, even though it caused them an inconvenience.”
“Thank you,” I said.
On the way out the door I asked Casey if she got her picture taken.
“I did!” Casey replied and produced a couple of candy canes. “I even got one for Lindsey cause she ran away.”
Lindsey stopped and looked at her, “You took CANDY from a STRANGER!!”
Casey – “Lindsey, it was Santa! He comes and brings toys in the house on Christmas Eve!”
Lindsey – “OH MY GOSH!! I’m gonna stay up and watch for him!”
“Well, you can leave him cookies,” I said.
“WHAT?! YOU CAN’T LET HIM IN MOM!! HE’S A STRANGER!! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!” Lindsey continued to yell as we went down the hallway. “HE’S NOT COMING IN OUR HOUSE!”
“Mom, is Lindsey going to get coal?” Casey whispered.
Cherry Coley (c)