I didn’t want to get up this morning. I’ve got the last of a cold – it’s in my chest now, which, as far as I’m concerned, is the least fun of all the various respiratory areas a cold can visit.
But anyway. Also, it is Monday, and I had a great creative, productive weekend and I didn’t want the fun to be over. But too bad for me – it’s Monday anyway.
I woke up reluctantly and hit the snooze button a couple of times more than I should have. While Bill was in the shower and the kids were still asleep, I curled up in a fetal ball under the covers and clutched at sleep, my eyes shut determinedly.
To no avail. He got out of the shower, the alarm went off again, and I had to get up.
The rest of the morning was typical weekday morning chaos ("Alex, put your pants on. Alex. ALEX. Put. Your. Pants. On. Yes you can. Yes, you CAN.")
It was also COLD this morning – I actually warmed up the car before bringing the kids to daycare and me to work. Winter is coming.
We got to daycare and I lugged Julia, her lunch bag, her pillowcase with sheets and blanket for nap time…and Alex’s 80 ton backpack that I carry because we move along faster as a group this way. He carried the toy panda that he decided to bring along this morning.
First stop – Julia’s room. Put her stuff away, hung up her coat, and persuaded her to allow me to leave.
Next, down the other end of the hall to Alex’s room. The Preschool Room. The doorway to the big wide world, apparently.
We went in and I asked Alex to go take his coat off and hang it up while I signed him in and put the cold things from his lunch bag into the little fridge they have. I brought his backpack to the other end of that side of the room (it’s a big room, roughly divided into three smaller room areas.). As I was putting his pillowcase of bedding on the stacked-up cots and putting his backpack (which contains at least two changes of clothing, including underwear, socks, and shoes) in the box with all the others, I heard a voice behind me.
It’s his teacher – I think she’s actually in charge of the entire preschool world there, but it seems like she is also specifically in charge of the group of kids Alex is with. (There are three groups, identified among the teachers and parents by color. Alex is in the red group.) She is not a whole heck of a lot taller than Alex, really, and I don’t know how old she is, but she is kind of intimidating. She’s old school. She commands and everyone obeys. I think she’s a good person and has good intentions, and when Alex told me he didn’t like her I figured it was because she’s not as cuddley and babysitter-like as a lot of the other teachers there.
But this morning she pissed me off. And if I hadn’t been all congested and murky-minded with this stupid cold, I probably would have spoken up more at the time, but I sounded kind of like a soft-spoken Elmer Fudd this morning, and would not have been able to argue effectively.
So here’s what I’m irritated about. She asked me if, at dinner time, we all sit around and talk about our day. So I’m thinking, obviously it’s been a while since she had small children at home (if she had any at all – I don’t know) because our dinner time conversation involves a lot of talk about the food on the table, how much more Alex needs to eat or wants to eat, and assorted "anh! anh!" noises from Julia indicating that she wants MORE sauteed green peppers and onions (no, really, this was part of last night’s dinner) and someone really needs to put them on her tray NOW. Dinner is a fast-paced sporting event with little time for conversation. Bill mostly focuses on eating his meal before it gets cold, and I suck down what I can while it’s hot and reheat the rest later while I’m doing the dishes.
So, no, we don’t really discuss our day at the table.
But of course the BAD PARENT BAD PARENT light started blinking on and off in my congested head and so I said that he and I talk about the day on our ride home from daycare.
I had no idea where this was going, but I immediately sensed that I am doing something wrong as a parent and he will be scarred for life if I don’t mend my ways. So I waited to find out which of my ways need mending.
Turns out she was bringing this up because when Alex grows up he wants to be an elephant.
He doesn’t want to train elephants, he doesn’t want to feed or care for them or operate on them if they have appendicitis.
He wants to be an elephant.
So apparently I need to ask him more open-ended questions (?????) so he will…I don’t even know…DECIDE ON A CAREER PATH BEFORE HE TURNS 4????
It was weird. And like I said before, I was all congested and couldn’t talk like a smart-sounding person, so I just watched her talk up at me and nodded my head and (to my credit) pointed out that maybe he DOES want to be an elephant. When I was his age I wanted to be a cat, after all.
She "reassured me" that at his age she wasn’t really worried about it – but then why bring it up at all? Just because he didn’t say the normal things, like "I want to be a fireman" or "I want to be a baseball player" or "I want to be a stockbroker on Wall Street" or some other clear and accepted career path? He’s a 3 year old child!!! I sure as hell didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up at that age.
And Alex’s idea of what people do when they grow up is summed up by this little observation, which he said to me the other day:
"When I’m a grown up I can touch eggs!"
(The whole raw egg thing there…I figure by the time he’s an adult he won’t touch raw egg and put his fingers in his mouth…something he’s quite likely to do at this age. Why? BECAUSE HE IS A SMALL CHILD!!!)
But anyway, so my son wants to be an elephant when he grows up. And apparently this is of some – not much, but clearly SOME – concern to his daycare teacher.
Of course, there is also the distinct possibility that he misunderstood what she was talking about and thought she meant what did he want to be for Halloween, which is a popular topic of discussion at the moment. And for Halloween he is going to be an elephant.