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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Here’s an update on the Adventures of the Martin Family (soon to be turned into a Major Motion Picture):

- Nick may be regressing. As reported earlier, our new little buddy (that I’m nannying this month) has declared that when he grows up, he wants to be a flower girl. I was given explicit directions from Nick’s parentals to work on this…and where better than in a house full of trucks and all things boy?! We had made a small improvement, sure enough at least now Nick does say that he wants to be a Flower Boy. Unfortunately, the influence of Nick’s five-year-old sister, Sydney will take some time to completely break. While Matthew and Nick were playing pirates, I walked into the room to find that Nick was completely bedazzled in all of the “treasure” – plastic bead necklaces. “Wow, Nick. Look at you!” I said. “Yeah, I’m a pretty princess!” He happily exclaimed. I broke that one to his dad Geoff, as easily as I could.

- Too many. To celebrate Matthew’s birthday, the boys (Matthew, Zachary and Nick) and I walked down to McDonalds and met up with friends for lunch and to play. As we commenced the walk home – Matthew walked while Nick and Zach were in the double-jogging stroller – we walked by the bank. An older woman had just exited. She looked at the boys. She looked at me. And then back at the boys. She shook her head disapprovingly and passionately said, “That’s WAY too many.” “Oh, well just these two are mine,” I said, gesturing to Zach and Matthew. But a second later, it hit me just how rude that comment had been. So what if I did have three kids close together – plenty of people out there do it. Later, when I thought about it, I regretted that I didn’t come up with something wittier to say. I could’ve placed my hand on my perma-belly-pooch and said, “Oh, well, actually we’re working on number 4…and since you said that, I think we’ll go for five!”

- Don’t bite. On Friday, Zachary and I were playing on our bed. It’s one of his favorite pastimes. He throws the pillows all around. Rolls on ‘em, under ‘em over ‘em…gets into general mischievous fun. Thus, we were playing on the bed and laughing away. My mouth was open (it was a good time – it was an open-mouth laugh) when somehow our faces totally collided. “Ow, shi…uuuut.” Escaped from my mouth as I felt my lips and checked to make sure no teeth had been knocked out. Oh, right. The kid. Zach had started to give a good cry. I inspected the damage and low and behold found that I had indeed left my mark on him. Right on his cheek – next to his nose – were two teeth mark gashes. One a top tooth and one a bottom tooth indent. Bad mommy. Don’t bite your children! People have asked when they see the little scabs, “Oh no! What happened?” And I mumble my answer: “I bit him.”

- Preschool trauma and drama. Somehow, I’m going to make a LONG story short. (Right, good luck with that one, Oh-Me-of-So-Few-Words). Matthew has been enrolled for preschool at the Renton Community Center (RCC) – same place he attended last year – since last Spring. This year he’d go Tues/Thursday mornings for 2 ½ hours. Andrea (also planning on doing the program for daughter Brooke) informed me that they were switching to the YMCA because it was a.) closer – a LOT closer and b.) longer – 3 hours instead of 2 ½, but I’m sure that the extra half hour makes all the difference in the world. We both withdrew from RCC and registered at the Y.

Last Wednesday night was parent orientation. The kids would have their first day the following morning. Andrea and I walked into the church basement room (where the Y is currently renting space) and found ourselves in an oversized storage closet – not a preschool classroom. And CERTAINLY not a classroom prepared to have 17 three and four-year-olds show up the next day for their first day of school. The place was crusty and musty, barren and blah. The teachers were kind of the same. The restrooms and nearest running water was down a long hallway. 40 minutes out of the three hour class schedule was allotted to shuttling kids to the potty and to wash hands. That’s 40 minutes of peeing and washing that we’re paying for! The teachers didn’t have answers to fairly important questions like, “So, there’s no running water in this room, do you have water for the kids to drink? What about drinking water for an emergency?” There response was, “Yes, there’s water in the emergency/disaster bins for …..hmm, I wonder where those are. We had them at the old building. Huh.” They were so not prepared and I was BEYOND not impressed. I could go on and on about all of the things that they didn’t seem prepared for. I could also go on and on about how unprepared I was for jumping into a new preschool without doing more research….but, whatever. Andrea and I walked out and looked at each other. “I think I need a drink,” I said.

After a lot of discussion we decided there was no way that Matthew would be going there. I pulled him out the next morning (when he should’ve been attending his first day). I called RCC to see if there was any chance there was still a spot for him in their class. Right. We’re 17th on the waiting list. Not going to happen. Don’t hold your breath. So, right when I was coming to terms with the fact that Matthew might not be in preschool this year, I might have to have him home with me ALL the time, I might have to actually start paying attention to him, maybe even attempting educational activities with him…I had a sudden thought! I remembered a preschool that one of my former music students had told me about. Actually, she dropped out of class because it conflicted with the preschool. I thought, any preschool that’s worth dropping my music class for, must be phenomenal! I called and found out that they’d had a cancellation THAT very morning. She’d hold it for a couple of hours but then she’d need to give it to someone else. I immediately jumped in the car to go see the facility and meet the teachers. (I was going to do some more in-depth research this time).

The teachers were all there – cleaning and organizing and decorating!!! Already a major improvement! One of the teachers spent nearly 25 minutes with me telling me all about the curriculum (they go on three field trips a year and have many special guests come throughout the year: musicians, magicians, firemen, policemen, etc.). She answered every question I could possibly think of and many that I never would have thought to ask. She knew her stuff and was definitely on top of things. And the bathrooms were RIGHT there! They have a fantastic playground for sunny days (including a sandbox and a vast toy truck supply – a requirement for Matthew) and they have a huge room for indoor play (on the many Seattle rainy days) equipped with tricycles, climbing equipment, tumbling mats, etc. Check out the website too: – a website! With information! Imagine that! I’m sold. Wait, it gets better! It’s cheaper than the Y program PLUS an additional day! Matthew will be there Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 9:15-11:30am. That’s three mornings a week he’ll be gone. I’m sure Zachary and I will just sit around twiddling our thumbs until it’s time to pick him up! (Mike has already asked, “So, that’s three mornings a week that you’ll only have one kiddo, what are you going to do during that time?” Translation: Don’t spend it “running errands” also known as “spending money.”)

- Crazy-Busy. So, I’ve gotten you all caught up on our lives. Oh, no wait. I forgot something. We walked down today to the Newcastle Days (little town fair/festival). Both Matthew and Zach went on a pony ride and loved it. Zach barked at the pony the whole time. (According to Mr. Genius Zachary all non-human mammals bark including deer, rabbits, squirrels, sometimes ducks and ponies too, it turns out).

I may be MIA for a bit. Matthew starts preschool – his AWESOME three-day-a-week preschool – this week. I’ll also be watching Nick Tues-Friday, and I start up the Fall session of Little Ditties music class on Friday. SO I need to plan for that, and we’re trying like crazy to finish painting in the entryway and down by the music room -slash- laundry room before class rolls around. And because of school starting up and Nick arriving early, Andrea and I are now meeting for our MWF runs at 6am! Crazy-Busy, indeed.

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