Wednesday, November 19, 2008

retitled: is nothing sacred?

On the days that the children have swimming lessons immediately after school, I will bring them in to the dressing room to get ready. But sometimes, if I'm in a pinch, I will get them in to their bathing suits while we are still in the car, before heading in to the YMCA.

Yesterday, I was feeling a little frazzled, so I dressed them while we were still in the parking lot. I had just finished putting Carolyn and William in their suits, and placed them outside of the car, while I tried to finish getting a very difficult Elizabeth ready.

Just then, an elderly woman walked up to the car next to us and opens the trunk.

Instantly, she was descended upon by four-year-olds who talk and talk and talk.

They wanted to know her name. They told her their names, their full names. They wanted to know if she was a girl or a boy. They wanted to know what she dressed up for at Halloween. They thought it was important to tell her, as they stood beside her and sized her up, that she would make a really good giant. They wanted to know if she was their Grandmother. They wanted to know if she had a baby in her tummy. They wanted to know what she was having for dinner. They wanted to tell her that they were four-years-old, not three, and they stood there in their little bathing suits and shoes, awkwardly holding out four little fingers.

"This many. This is how old I am."

William told the woman all about his imaginary friend, Tresiam. Elizabeth pointed out her new bathing suit. And Carolyn felt compelled to tell this absolute stranger that mommy was angry and she spanked Elizabeth because Elizabeth kept kicking her shoes in to the parking lot that mommy had just put on and mommy said, "YOU KNOCK IT OFF!"

All of these conversations were happening simultaneously.

She was being bombarded by four-year-old chatter.

It was outrageously funny for me to see the dazed look that washed over the woman's face. She didn't know who to listen to or what to say. She just stood there, gripping her cane tightly and saying "Oh, my dear Lord! Oh, my dear Lord!"

Tomorrow, I'll be dressing the children in the locker room.

"That's it. Close the door and be very, very quiet!"

With all that has been happening with preschool, for the past several days, I've been telling the children that I don't want them to eat the food that the school provides. I've even gone so far as to tell them that I am thinking about taking them out of school and teaching them at home. When I've asked them what they think of that idea, William will get excited and say, "Mommy! I'd love it if you teach me!! You teach me, Mom?!"

So this morning while we were at school, the children stride up to the front gate, and while I'm holding a fussy and wriggling Henry, William tells the Director that he doesn't eat JUNK, Carolyn tells the Director that mommy was angry and spanked Elizabeth for kicking off her shoes at the YMCA, and Elizabeth pipes up that mommy is going to teach us at HOME.

I really must temper what I say and how I act around these children. Soon, they'll be telling the whole world that mommy had wine and ice cream for dinner last night and let the baby eat yogurt straight out of the carton.

And then almost all of my flaws will be revealed.


  1. Jen. I love it. I've learned that ANYTHING, and I mean, ANYTHING that is said is repeated. Do you want me to call you a streetwalker?????

    But I'm glad to hear that they told their Director that. Good for them!

    That elderly lady sounds just like Greg's mom acts whenever she's here. They've nearly blown her ear drum out!
    Just out of curiosity, are they picking up any Spanish?

  2. You are a real mom, doing the hard work, and I love coming here every day and reading. We have the same number of children, but the similarity ends there. My big 3 are old enough to help with the caboose baby, it's like he has 5 parents.

  3. LOL. I love it. I've had several kindergarten teachers send home notes at the beginning of the school year saying, "If you don't believe half of what your child says about school, I won't believe half of what you child says about home." How funny when the crazy embaressing things they say are TRUE!

  4. Just don't get any pictures for proof!

    I still can't believe that they won't let you observe in the classroom. That is unacceptable! Take some time and find another school. I have talked with other moms and not one said that they've ever heard such a thing! No one believes me about the junk food, either... Find another school!!! DO IT NOW (in my great Arnold Schwarzenegger accent)!

  5. That TJ's Vanana yogurt is so yummy-- I don't blame him!!

  6. You'd make a great giant! That's classic.

    About the preschool, have you considered unschooling? I know most people hear the word and think it's the most ridiculous thing in the world, but I think you should do a little research into it. You would have the kids home, but they would be learning. You would provide them the type of love and nurturing that you always had. There would be no junk. Just natural learning.

    Here is a link to some personal accounts:

    I think it would also help with Carolyn's confidence and her and William's trepidation with making friends. They are in such contrast with Elizabeth in that area, it seems like it would provide a safe place (as your home is) all the time. Unshooling means learning is playing and playing is learning. It allows things to happen naturally.

    I was thinking about your struggle with the decision to keep them in school or not, and since Winter break is coming up, I figured you would have enough time to do some research on alternative schooling options and could test them out over the break. In previous posts you've talked about all of y'all taking a very long walk in the park and you telling them about the different kinds of trees. That could be a whole afternoon. Plus all that walking would lead to a nap and some peace and quiet for you.

    Hope everything works out. I enjoy reading this blog a great deal.