Introducing The Esteemed Ms. Tutu

How I Was Unwittingly Pranked By A 4 Year Old

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

I am going to mix things up a bit and share a quick story with you about a moment of total embarrassment that my 4 year old inflicted upon me today. If he was older and had masterminded it, I would give him some massive props. However, he just lucked into one of the bigger pranks that have been played on me in quite a while. And it all revolves around the upcoming Teacher’s Appreciation Week and trying to decode a 4 year old’s brain.

As parents around the country know, we are quickly approaching Teacher Appreciation Week. And given how each teacher has taken a boulder and a half of burden over the past year navigating this pandemic, they deserve it. My emails have been full of coordination emails amongst the other parents in my 2 children’s classes. Themes, sign up lists, updates, coordination of each step have flooded my inbox and brain for the last 3ish weeks. But we are almost there and like a pack of lemmings, we are rushing for that finish line to show our gratitude. And I am incredibly fortunate that both of my children have AMAZING teachers. 

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Now let me back up for a moment. Given Covid Protocols, things have changed at my kids’ school for safety. The class sizes are smaller and classes that used to have 2 teachers, may now only have 1 as a result. In addition, each class has specific substitutes and helpers that are allowed in the classrooms to keep everyone safe. Back in February, my son was going through his Valentine’s cards and gifts from his class and we came across the one from his wonderful Teacher and “Ms. Tutu.” I asked my son, “Who is Ms. Tutu?” since I didn’t know a teacher or staff member by that name. Especially given it is a name you would remember. My son, very animatedly tells me, “Oh! Ms. Tutu watches us when our teacher is out. And that is her cat!”

I am appeased by this answer and assume she must be a new addition at the semester. A few weeks later, my son mentions Ms. Tutu again and I ask about her cat. He says she is good and we move on. I start looking around the school for a new teacher/staff member so I can figure out who she is. I even browse the school staff website (twice!) to see if anyone has been added. Everything looks the same. I just write it off as either she hasn’t had time for her photo to be taken or maybe she is not parent facing enough to be on the website. Plus, my son mentions her only in passing so I assume she just isn’t in the classroom all that often.

So fast forward to Teacher Appreciation Week and I am buttoning up the last bits of my tasks. We have signed up to bring his teacher lunch for one of the days and sent her an email to get her preferences. I realized this morning that I hadn’t seen Ms. Tutu mentioned on any of the emails. Which would not be surprising given she is just an occasional helper. But with the spirit of appreciation and celebration for our amazing teachers, I decide that I needed to ask his teacher if we should be including her for lunch. And if so, would she mind getting Ms. Tutu’s lunch order for me.

The following is the conversation I had with his teacher at pick up.

Me: *general chatter to my son and teacher about how the day went* “Oh! I sent you an email about lunch next week. Would you mind letting me know what you want?”

Teacher: “Oh! You really don’t have to do that. But I appreciate it and will get that back to you.”

Me: “Also, I realized we didn’t include Ms. Tutu on the order. And (son’s name) mentioned that she helps you out when you need to step out for a minute…”

Teacher looking at me like I suddenly started barking instead of talking.

Me: “He said like when you have to go to the bathroom or just need to step out…” my voice trails off and my friend who is waiting for her daughter starts laughing out loud. I think I heard her say “Oh I know who Ms. Tutu is!” between coughing and fits of laughter.

Teacher looking at me like I have 3 heads says, “You know who Ms. Tutu is, don’t you?”

Me: Staring there dumbly as the realization hits me that Ms. Tutu may not have a cat, but BE the CAT…

Teacher: “Do you see that picture over there on the wall? That is Ms. Tutu. She is my 14 year old CAT.”

Photo by Koda on Unsplash (Not the real Ms. Tutu)

We all start cracking up and my son just looks at us all bewildered on what is so funny.

She explained that she talks about Ms. Tutu to the class and graciously tells me, that “No, Ms. Tutu will not be needing lunch next week.” But she would be sure to tell Ms. Tutu that I asked.

I, with a beet red face and giggling from my embarrassment, took my son to the car. He has still yet to admit that Ms. Tutu is a CAT.

And now, I will be looking for a cat toy to add to the end of year Teacher’s Gifts. I mean, we can’t forget to include the best SubstiCAT in school.

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to go crawl under a rock for a bit. 

Photo by Callum Wale on Unsplash