Super Baby: The Super Hero Project was…

One five-finger pinch on my hand, and I turned into Cruella de Vil. Fitty Cruella de Vil

With what seemed like inches of fabric down, up and back, I hauled my own wet sheet out of the trampoline room on Monday, and set up the display I’d been struggling to make work so far.

It was the sort of presentation I dream of presenting in a classroom, in front of an appreciative audience of second-graders. But it just wasn’t going to work out that way this week.

Two hours before school, I’d met with my mother and a few colleagues at the school to discuss how I could do a presentation that the teachers had been considering giving. The teachers had said they wanted to show kids first-person and hands-on experiences, and they had always had graphic novel presentations they had discussed and used in class. The stories themselves seemed to have been immensely popular. They’d seen the pictures on the walls of my father’s comics store, and for many kids they were about all they knew about superheroes.

I can’t say that all of the teachers had liked the presentation I’d done of myself in superhero profile. I did have a crew that seemed like a perfect crowd for such a thing, though, and I had a whole story plan in mind about how I wanted to do it. When I called my mother in on Monday, we worked out a scheme. I’d return home from work on Tuesday afternoon, and we’d return to the classroom and set it up. She’d be at home, watching the kids come down the steps from the neighborhood. I’d do my presentation, I’d whisper in the voice of the hero who seemed to win a lot of hearts with her moments of kooky candor. But during her family’s meeting that day, she’d noticed my daughter, and commented something along the lines of “you’re missing your little sister.”

Oh my God, I said to myself. How was I going to propose to a roomful of kids without her? But I looked at the sheets from my box, and I’d found a piece of paper with the yearbook photo of my sister on it. I got the idea. I’d have my sister come in on Tuesday night, and then at night I’d let my mom take the kids home. I’d walk in and say hi to my sister and introduce her to my classmates. We’d sit in the school auditorium, and my sister would read part of her story from her notebook. And when the kids were done with the story, I’d tell them my story, and I’d tell my sister’s story. Then we’d go back to my room, where I’d hold up a piece of paper from the yearbook to my sister’s picture, and show it all off to my classmates.

I did it. So did my sister.

But things never got to that point. When I went back to work on Wednesday morning, the kindergartners were already ready to go home and my school day was ending at 2 p.m. So what I went to try to do, and what I’d planned to do, was totally derailed.

I hate not being able to pull off great things because I don’t have the time to do them. But I hate even more not being able to pull things off at all. So this week I did the only thing I could do.

I couldn’t reschedule the assignment and go back to it. I couldn’t run a new idea around my friends, because they all knew how good of a sales pitch it was. I couldn’t present to my sister, because her daughter was watching.

I had one arm tied behind my back with the other dangling to my side. I had to go talk to them myself. And that’s what I did on Thursday, in the commons area of my school.

This week is not how I had envisioned the Super Hero Project. I’m just going to try to keep doing what I could. Because even though I made so many mistakes in trying to pull this off, I think the kids liked it.

And besides, there’s still another chance.

Jeff Creel is the mom behind the East Bay’s popular “Super” series of children’s books. His Web site is www.jeffcreelbooks.com. For more on Super Superhero Project, email Creel at [email protected]

 

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