As if I didn’t have enough on my mind with tomorrow’s trip to Boston with The Wedding Date, E.T. is sad at me.
I know this because one of my beach balls, a particularly verbose three year old, turned to me at the end of his daily creative movement class earlier this week, pointed his chubby finger at the familiar extraterrestrial depicted on his t-shirt and declared “E.T. is sad at you!”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Because he didn’t get a star!”
“He did get a star,” I corrected. “He got a little star.”
“But E.T. wants a BIG star!”
“Well, E.T. can’t get a big star until he gets ten little stars.”
I know that reasoning with a three year old is an exercise in futility but this is the way it works. And this is the way it’s worked ever since I decided that my beach balls needed an incentive to keep their more malicious bumbling in check earlier this year.
Each class has a behavior chart, and each student’s name is on the chart. One day of good behavior earns a little start and ten little stars earns one BIG STAR in a color of their choosing from the stack of foam “DANCE SUPERSTAR” pins I made thanks to yet another splurge at the dollar store.
Because E.T. didn’t get a BIG STAR and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t convince his owner to stop being “sad at me” (or to stop talking in the third person) and to concentrate instead on being a “better listener” so that maybe— just maybe— he and his alien friend could earn their tenth and final little star in class the following day.
Mind you, most of the students earned their big stars well before the holiday break, so it’s just my extraterrestrial friend and a few of his more delinquent compatriots who have yet to earn their “DANCE SUPERSTAR” pins.
(Because let’s face it: little stars are awarded based on attendance more than anything else. It’s hard to deny stars based on behavior when you’ve got suicidal beach balls hurling themselves into the walls in protest.)
So cross your fingers for E.T. tomorrow; I don’t like people—let alone aliens— being “sad” at me.