Daycare was where I got into the most trouble. I had this board game called ‘Pretty, Pretty Princess’ that included plastic jewelry and rings of different colors: pink, yellow, light blue, and lavender. Up to four people could play, and the idea was to go around the board by spinning the wheel and collecting all the pieces of jewelry in your color. When a player had collected all her pieces, she had to spin the wheel and try to land on the Crown square. If she did—and she had all her other jewelry—she’d earn the Crown and win the game. There was, however, a black ring that was the bane of any player’s assortment of jewelry. If you landed on the Black Ring square, you had to wear the black ring; if you had the black ring, you could not earn the Crown, even if you landed on the Crown square. Effectively, the black ring blocked any player possessing it from winning. The only way to get rid of the black ring was to have someone else land on the Black Ring square and take it away from you.
Another girl in daycare also had ‘Pretty, Pretty Princess’ and one day she brought it for everyone to play. Sometime earlier, I had lost the black ring from my game, so while she was outside playing, I went to her cubby and stole the black ring from hers. She knew I also had “Pretty, Pretty Princess” and when she discovered her black ring missing, she (correctly) accused me of stealing. The daycare counselors were brought in to mediate the situation and I vehemently denied any wrongdoing, even after they found the ring in my backpack.
“That’s the ring from my game!” I exclaimed.
The counselor didn’t believe me. “Now, listen, Viannah; stealing is wrong.”
“I didn’t steal anything. That ring is mine!”
“Yes she did! One of my friends saw her hanging around the cubbies while we were supposed to be playing!” the other girl accused.
“I hate you!” I said. I turned to the counselor, “And I hate you, too. You don’t believe me.”
“Well, it is a bit suspicious, don’t you think?” the older woman reasoned.
“That ring is mine!” I wasn’t going to be swayed. I’d stolen it fair and square, and I wanted my game to be complete; I didn’t give a rat’s ass what happened to the other girl’s game.
I didn’t get the ring back, and the girl and I were never friends.
That counselor and I never really had a good relationship, either.
There was an after school festival with carnival-like activities, and each kid in daycare handled one of the booths; the more difficult-to-handle booths (and the more difficult-to-handle kids) had adult supervision, but mine wasn’t one of those. I started eating the candy I was supposed to give out for prizes—Tootsie Rolls, mostly—and the same counselor walked by and caught me slipping a piece into my pocket.
“What are you doing?” she asked, her eyes narrowed like she already knew.
“Nothing,” I said. “Sitting at the booth, like I’m supposed to. Waiting for someone to come by and play.”
“No, I saw you just take a piece of candy.”
I rolled my eyes. She didn’t like that.
“Did you just take a piece of candy?”
“No, that was a piece I won before.” I rolled my eyes again like it was obvious.
She pulled me out of the booth and into the shade to the side of the festival. “Don’t lie to me. I saw you take that Tootsie Roll. You haven’t left that booth since the beginning; there’s no way you could’ve won it ‘before’.”
I rolled my eyes again. “It’s my candy.”
“I saw you steal it, you little—” She stopped and took a deep breath to avoid calling me some bad name. “And if you roll your eyes at me one more time, I’m going to pull you from this festival and call your parents.”
I rolled my eyes before I could help myself. She growled, pulled me by the arm back toward the daycare classrooms, and set me in a chair while she called home. I don’t remember what she said, or what they said. I pulled the Tootsie Roll out of my pocket while she was across the room on the phone and gleefully unwrapped it. She watched me, warning me with her eyes, but I ignored her. I put the candy in my mouth and tossed the wrapper on the floor. She hung up the phone.
“Spit that out right now,” she said, holding her hand out underneath my chin for me to comply. I chewed, chewed, and swallowed before spitting Tootsie Roll juice into her hand. She pulled away in disgust. I rolled my eyes; she was such a teacher.
She’d about had it. “You’re not leaving this seat until your parents come to pick you up.” That was fine by me; the festival was boring anyway. I crossed my arms over my chest and hunkered down to wait.