Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mother's Day In

So, we've made the decision to send Emma packing this year. While praying about how to allocate our homeschooling budget, we came to the conclusion that sending her to a mother's day out program two days a week would provide her with a fun opportunity to play with friends and do messy crafts, while providing the boys and I with a quiet and My-Pretty-Pony-free environment to focus intently on school.

Not that we have anything against tutu wearing, fancy hair-do sporting equines, you understand. :)

In anticipation of this highly significant event in her life, I promptly placed my order for sufficiently cute and stylish day school necessities. I'm all about a sassy monogrammed bag, and Emma was over the moon for her new "yunchbox", which arrived several months ago in the mail. It has been waiting patiently on the pantry shelf, and we've had frequent and exciting conversations about the day when we will fill that box and head off to a new school. Even though she is a fourth child, I steadfastly reserved the right to fully indulge in certain delights of toddlerhood, such as monogramming and accessorizing.

Last week was orientation at "big girl school", so Buzzard and I combed all our gray hairs neatly into place and trotted off to fellowship hall with all the other hip and young preschool parents. We dutifully sat while the MDO director spouted instructions for cutting grapes and labeling sippy cups. Then, somewhere between learning about potty training policies and the community snack basket, all my hopes and dreams were dashed.

In a mass collaborative effort to make MDO run smoothly and efficiently, there is a strict policy regarding food and bedding receptacles. No monogrammed bags or yunchboxes allowed.

Every kid has to take the same blue tote to school every day, so they will neatly line up in the hallway. The teachers don't want to mess with backpacks and zippers and buckles and snaps. Or yunchboxes, apparently, because each kid was also issued a basic Rubbermaid divided plate with a lid. The plate goes to school each day in the blue tote. Don't even get me started on the standard issue nap mats.

I'm all for making the life of the sainted woman who will be finger painting with Emma and cleaning up her animal cracker crumbs as easy as possible, so I decided to swallow my disappointment and embrace the possibility that a few paint pens and a spool of ribbon could really take the divided plate and canvas tote to the next level. I even decided to let Emma do her own homework, which was coloring a zebra to hang on the bulletin board. I fought every single powerful urge I had to overtake the project by gluing colored macaroni and hot pink glitter all over the zebra stripes. It was clearly a display of unparalleled restraint.

Today was the long awaited first day of Mother's Day Out. By mid-weekend the tote was packed with an abundance of personal items and I had taken a Sharpie marker to nine tenths of her belongings and tagged them with her initials. We were ready.

Then, in the saddest turn of events ever, Em got sick. She ran a fever most of yesterday and woke up this morning completely congested. Double drat. So, we pulled out the My Pretty Ponies and settled in for a day at home. Poor thing. (I'm referring to myself, of course.)

On the upside, it poured down rain the majority of the day, which made for great snuggling and reading time. We got a lot accomplished in homeschool, and since Emma was slightly under the weather, she was very mellow and lazy. The boys were begging for a little energy release by mid morning, so they talked me into a run in the rain. They had a ball, although I'm sure the neighbors thought I was out of my mind. I just think that puddles are one of life's simple pleasures.

The sick and feverish had to stay and observe from the porch, which was unpopular. But hey, you can't always get what you want out of life. Just ask any preschool Mom with a spiffy totebag and designer lunchbox. :)

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