The Kindergarten Cookie Caper

by Pauline Campos

It was all about the cookies, I think.

My complete lack of desire to let go of my mother's leg while crying buckets of six-year-old tears until the new kindergarten teacher handed me the basket can't really be otherwise explained.

At least not after the first day.

We moved from Detroit to the suburbs in the middle of my very first year of school. I was the New Girl. And it was terrifying. New house. New city. New neighbors. New faces. It had all seemed very exciting on the walk to the New School on that first day with my mother. It was an adventure! Until she tried to leave.

That's when I screamed bloody murder, wrapped myself around my mother's leg with a force that only the jaws of life could break, and begged her not to leave me. That very memory is the reason I left my own daughter's first preschool drop off stunned stupid that she had run off without a kiss, leaving me happily forgotten, but that's another column.

Mrs. Drapeau, the teacher, knelt down before me, trying to talk me at my own level to make me feel more at home. All I heard was "You...here...Mom...leave...feel better...cookies?" between my wails of agony. I'm sure I made quite the impression on my new classmates.

"Cookies?" I stopped sniffling long enough to blink away the next tear so I could focus. "Who has cookies?"

Mrs. Drapeau stood up, went to her desk, and returned carrying a basket of cookies and juice boxes. She kindly explained that every student took turns bringing in a package of cookies to pass out for snack time each day, and the lucky kid also got to pass them out to the other students! But seeing as I was so upset on my first day, maybe Little Suzie wouldn't mind letting me pass the cookies out for her this time.

I glanced at Little Suzie. She looked pissed. But she was smart enough to force a smile and nod her head. Looking back, I'm assuming that turn of events solidified my future position on the Popularity Totem Pole with Cheerleading Captain Little Suzie graduating from high school still harboring that kindergarten grudge.

Some people's children.

But on that day in 1983, my only thought was Pride in My New Important Job. I was passing out the cookies, people. I was Special. Maybe this place wasn't so bad after all. Maybe tomorrow I would try to be a Big Girl and not cry when Mommy turned to leave and...

Or maybe I wanted to pass out the cookies again.

Every morning I turned on the water works, not even conscious of the fact that I was manipulating the system to increase my own self worth. Pretty impressive for a six-year-old, I think.

Pity, but I lost the ability to cry on cue after I moved on to the first grade. No matter...there were no cookies to pass out.

Pauline M. Campos is a former journalist-turned-stay-at-home-mom to Buttercup. She blogs at Aspiring Mama (Parental Advisory: Occasional F-Bombs Dropped) and can be found on Twitter as @aspiringmama. She has written a book and is currently looking for an agent in the hopes of convincing her mother-in-law that writing in her pajamas  is, in fact, an actual job.


  1. It is a well-established fact of elementary school that classroom jobs are awesome. And clearly cookies are awesome. So the combination must have been immensely powerful!

  2. Cookies can lead to power and world domination. Love it!

  3. Cookies do indeed equal world domination! *whispers in your ear* Now...pass it on!


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