Sunday, October 05, 2008


So one of the yearlong projects that the kids in Cal's class has is taking turns bringing home the "classroom pet," a blue stuffed something of indistinct phylogenic origin named "Juanita." Juanita also comes with a journal, and we (the parents) have been instructed that we are to help document Juanita's adventures during her visits home with us in words and pictures, all the better to share with the class at large the day of Juanita's return to school before being whisked away to another family's waiting arms. The determination of who gets to go home with Juanita is apparently determined by raffle, and when Cal's name was picked (he is the second kid in the class who is getting to visit with Juanita so far this year), apparently all the kids cheered and started yelling his name, which made Cal very proud, after which a good deal of the rest of the afternoon strutting around with her. So that part was fun. However, when I started to look at the rest of the assignment--the photojournalistic element of it all, along with the fact that my three year-old (I don't know about yours) has dubious grasp of the intricacies of actually taking photos and writing words, this seemed like this was turning more into a homework assignment for me than for him.

Also, when I picked up Juanita's journal on Thursday evening, I noticed that the first family that had taken Juanita for the week had apparently also happened to take a trip to DISNEYWORLD that very same week, so Juanita's journal entry from her visit with them was filled with photos of the Magic Kingdom and mentions of rides and balloons and More Fun Than You're Going To Have This Weekend. Curse you, other family. Way to set the bar so high. DISNEYWORLD, for chrissake.

Anyway, we hung out with Juanita this weekend. And Cal had fun with it all, talking to her like she was alive and dragging her around everywhere. Even to Ikea, where, it turns out, Juanita originated. It somewhat took the mystique out of the endeavor to find that one and only Juanita was, in fact, mass produced by the Swedes, and could easily be purchased by the armful from an endless bin. However, given that it was what I would consider the equivalent experience of seeing twenty Salvation Army Santa Clauses sitting around McDonalds with their beards half pulled off, eating burgers, Cal seemed nonplussed.

Full photo set here.