Swap Gone Sour

Posted by: , August 10, 2009 in 3:34 am


musings Swap Gone SourOver a month ago I was swayed into joining my first (and last) online swap.? No, not that kind of swap.? Get your mind out of the gutter.? Apparently mommy bloggers are big fans of swapping goodies with one another.? Especially homeschooler mommies.? When I saw the post promising my child the experience of enjoying a? “summerlong project,” while “learning about another child from another state,” I was intrigued.? I imagined Benjamin being paired with a little boy in another state–a little boy with whom he might become better acquainted over the summer–a little boy with whom he might have a lot in common–a little boy with whom he might end up forming a lifelong friendship.? Then, he was assigned a little girl.At first I was slightly disappointed but then I realized at four-and-a-half neither one of them displays strong relationship-building skills.? How far could this swap really go?? I mean, who was I kidding?? Obviously it would be me and the little girl’s mom who would be preparing most of the swag for this swap.? Nonetheless, I introduced the idea to Ben and I went to great lengths to introduce the little girl to Ben.? Over the last month we visited her mom’s blog often, so he could see her and learn about her.? We saw pictures of her homeschool activities and her home life.? We mentioned her at least once or twice a week around our own household–either while thinking up something to add to her package or simply discussing something I had read at her mom’s blog.? While on vacation we even considered buying her some souvenirs–but decided against it because the goodies to be exchanged were supposed to be coming from each child’s home state.

Upon our return from vacation (in early July), we made a special effort to travel around our town, visiting all of the tourist attractions, etc. so we could collect goodies for her.? We came home with a bag of loot any little kid would love to receive in the mail.? One of the items Benjamin wanted to buy for her was a little necklace, but I dissuaded him because I didn’t want the other mommy to think I was promoting some sort of romance (LOL!).? In the weeks following we collected more goodies–maps of our area, educational resources from some of the field trips we’d taken and other little trinkets.

On Monday, with the mailing deadline approaching (August 3rd) I typed up a letter for Benjamin’s pen pal.? It included all the details he’d dictated to me the week previous–all of the information he wished to share with her and questions about her to which he wished to learn the answers.? I spent an hour and a half typing up the damn four-page letter.? An hour and a half!? I went through all the goodies and organized them and typed up a sort of “key” to go along with it all.? Literally (no exaggeration here!), the moment I saved the letter to my hard drive and checked my email there was as note from the little girl’s mom.? She was dropping out of the swap.? DROPPING OUT!

It turns out she is pregnant.? And, apparently she has been so debilitated by morning sickness she has done nothing, NOTHING, to prepare for the pen pal exchange.? Now, you might think, Aw.? Poor thing. Sure, it’s true.? No one should have to suffer through morning sickness,? I guess.? But, she also never told her daughter she was part of any pen pal exchange.? What?? And…oh…did I mention, she is the co-organizer of the swap.? Yes.? The person who not only created, organized and promoted the swap got her kid assigned to my kid and then…dropped out!

No worries, though.? When I explained it all to Ben he just looked disgusted and eventually, after a long pause, he said…”I was a little embarrased about having a girl pen pal anyway.”? No more swaps for us.? That’s for sure!? Glad we didn’t buy that necklace, too.


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