‘A Friend In Need’ – Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico


*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story about our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. His backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!


Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and…’Good Luck Charlie!’  Here is his story:

It was Friday morning and Baby Frederico was shivering as he stood at the bus stop waiting for his best buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper and the school bus.  The weather was cold and snowy, but not cold and snowy enough to close school and Baby Frederico was disappointed.  He knew that it would only take Grenelda and her funny stories to make him feel better.  Why was she late this morning?  If she didn’t arrive soon, the bus would come and leave without her and she might have to miss school.

Baby Frederico couldn’t stand the thought of it.  He was in the Third Grade and he didn’t have too many good friends to sit with at lunch or play with at recess.  Grenelda was his best buddy and she was great at it.  She knew just what he was thinking and laughed at the same things that he did and, when math was too hard or he didn’t do well on a geography map test, Grenelda was always there to help.  She was especially good at math and knew where every continent in the world was without even looking at a map anymore!  She was also the happiest friend he knew and she enjoyed reading and running and playing music and making up stories, just like he did.  No wonder they were friends…and no wonder Baby Frederico was worried that she was not going to get to the bus stop in time to make it to school.

Suddenly, there was the big yellow bus coming to a stop in front of him, and Baby Frederico could not see Grenelda anywhere.  When he climbed up the steps to look for a seat on the bus, his favorite Bus Driver smiled his usual great, big toothy smile and said, “Baby Frederico!  How are you doing on this bright and sunny day” (which he said even when it was not a bright and sunny day)?

“Not very well,” Baby Frederico grumped.  “Grenelda didn’t make it this morning so I am going to have to sit all by myself.  I’ll have to eat lunch by myself and play at recess by myself.  Why don’t you just take me home instead…”

The Bus Driver smiled and said, “I have just the solution to your problem my little green friend!”

With that, he looked in the long mirror above him and motioned to someone in the seat behind him.  It was a little green frog and he smiled timidly as the happy Bus Driver introduced him to Baby Frederico.  He said, “Baby Frederico let me introduce you to your new friend Noah.  This is his very first day to ride in a school bus and his very first day at our school.”

The Bus Driver turned to Noah and said, “Baby Frederico is something else.  He knows which seats are the softest and which windows are the easiest to open on my school bus, and he even knows all the shortcuts through the hallways and how to open just about any lock on a locker!”  He laughed as he pulled the big yellow school bus back onto the road.

Baby Frederico sat down beside Noah and introduced himself.  They talked and discovered all kinds of friend things about each other.  They both liked Avengers comic books and they were both in the third grade and they both even liked being green.  Baby Frederico thought to himself, “Maybe this day won’t be so bad after all.”

And guess what….he was right.


Third Grade is for Third Graders

Though I try to write with a greater focus on the role of books throughout this website, sometimes there are stories, mini-books if you will, happening right in my backyard that are so important to me to write down and remember that I just can’t help but tell you about them. This is one:

Third Grade

Our 8-year old broke down in tears just a couple of days into this new school year. She had spent the night with my wonderfully accessible mom, who speaks and listens to her grandchildren with a focus and presence that is unlike most anything I have ever seen between an adult and a child. And I think her grandchildren know this about her and so save up at least some of their worries and fears and concerns and anxieties just for her.

My mother is a notoriously early riser and can make breakfast for one or one-hundred at the drop of a hat, and one grandchild in her home is all the encouragement she needs to be up and going and cooking and reading and talking and listening on any given morning. On this particular morning, she and our youngest had just ended the perfect grandchild meal and were talking about school. All seemed well and my mother left the room to put on her makeup. Then, without a bit of warning, she heard the unmistakable sound of tears. She ran into the kitchen and there was this child, this third-grader, this creative, curly-headed, smart, funny, energetic little person bawling her eyes out.

When my mom asked what was wrong, the words from her granddaughter came fast and furious and with such a pained expression that the world simply had to stop for a minute…and, of course, that’s when a world-class conversation between an adult and a child ensued:

“I’ll never be able to do third grade work,” she said. “I just know it…”

“What makes you say that honey?”

“There are just so many things that are different about this year. There’s math and spelling words and vocabulary definitions and and and…,” she was crying too hard to continue her list of worries.

“Well,” said grandma, “third grade has only just begun. This first week is just giving you a roadmap for the year ahead. But more importantly, if you already knew how to do third grade work, you would be in the fourth grade.”

That was it, the one sentence my daughter needed to hear. My mother knew her granddaughter, for she recognized the simple and clear logic that was needed in that discussion. She also knows this little girl very well and so knew it fit her personality. That 60-second conversation nearly immediately stopped her tears and squashed her anxieties. She was so relieved to hear that third grade is for third graders!

Her tears stopped and her smile returned and they were off to school and a new teacher and a new classroom and third grade – just the place she was meant to be.