Once Upon a Nope

17 October 2012

It recently occurred to me that maybe I needed to provide Julia with more structure in her day. After all, she is two mature years old and maybe she should be given some purpose-driven tasks and a little bit of responsibility aside from throwing diapers away, dutifully telling me I look "cute" when I change out of my jams, and putting the dirty silverware back in the drawer while chanting "helper!"?

destined to be the only high schooler with a bottle tucked into her Dora Trapper Keeper. 

I don't know. I'm a super novice and a real sucker for feeling guilty especially after hearing about the kinds of impressively inventive activities my fellow parents put together and execute on the daily for their little scholars.

So I left a sleeping Sebastian with a sleeping Simon yesterday and took Julia to the library's preschool hour. What? If that doesn't scream "impressive" and "inventive" to you I don't think we can even be friendly acquaintances. I had big plans to wash and fold an enormous load of whites (the most fun and not tedious kind of laundry) but I put my selfish wants aside and made the breaths-away-from-an-adolescent's needs a priority.

My mind's little wheels churned out questions. So many questions:
would 45 minutes would be enough time to quench the pupil's thirst for learning?
if not, should I make tentative plans to go to another preschool hour the next day at a different library?
was it important to mentally prepare Julia for the education voyage she was about to embark upon?
do my purpley-black toenails scream 'trashy mom'?

Let's cut to the action.

I felt triumphant after successfully getting Julia out of the van without her blankie (tag always tucked tightly under her nose) and bottle and even let the scholar walk into her domain although I always welcome a chance to carry her instead of her butterball boulder of a brother. 23 seconds in and things were looking sparkly. Then we strolled into the children's area of the library to be greeted by literal preschoolers with their little army of teachers and nary a parent in sight. My infant refused to join the gaggle of 4-year-old giants on the magic carpet and sat dependently on my lap while the nice librarian started talking about Halloween.

When it was Julia's turn to share her name the exchange went exactly like this:
Librarian: and what is YOUR name?
Librarian: do you have a name?
Julia: Joo-wee-uh
Librarian: Drew! and what is Drew going to be for Halloween?
Julia: (whisper) doodle-doodle-doodle-do
Librarian: oh?  do you have a Halloween costume?
Julia: birthday!!


Then the actual storytime started just as Drew spotted a huge display of Barney DVDs and couldn't stop gawking and squawking about the goldmine. She suddenly became aware of the fact that we were in a large room filled to the brim with packed shelves of books she had never ever seen and curiosity eventually slayed the kitten and she pulled 14 books off the lowest shelf before I could inhale deeply enough to give me enough momentum to heave my hips out of the 10-inch-tall primary colored chair.

We lasted 18 eternal minutes before I ducked out with the prodigy bidding a loud farewell to Barney while pinned tightly to my hip.

I took advantage of being a one kid gig and fulfilled my overachieving aspirations by braving Trader Joe's to purchase frozen vegetables for a healthy dinner and a decorative mini pumpkin for a festive table.


We'll try again in a year or three and pray that her brain doesn't rot by way of Basher bossing, free-range play, and unscheduled days in the meantime.


  1. Oh Drew. Maxwell is in the most scholarly good company.

    I'm convinced our children are so socially inept in comparison to others because they haven't been practicing in daycare from the tender age of 6 weeks...but that's just how I comfort myself.

  2. what means schedule?
    also, the whites load is fun because it smells like bleach, which makes me believe it is clean. it is the little oasis of clean in the whole house, right there, in that dented-up laundry basket.

  3. Maybe try Toddler Time instead of Preschool, if you can? I kept Simon in BabyTime forever and then in Toddler Time forever. Nobody expects much out of babies and toddlers. They just run around, tear books off the shelves and cause trouble. Julia would fit right in!

  4. heyyy i have purpley-black on my fingernails. trashy? hopefully not haha

  5. Sounds normal. I'd try again. My boys came to love library story time. Wish I worked less and could take them more. They know if they go near the DVDs before its time to go, were not renting any ;)

  6. Structure? Would it make you feel better if I told you that I don't shower until at leeeeeast 10am, and in the meantime, the child and I perch upon our couch and rot our brains with television? I can't drink magical coffee, so I am doomed to veg until I can move.

    Then, Ellen watched me shower, takes a nap (she is currently the captain of her own naptime...), and then I consider getting out of the house for some sort of selfish errand.

    We have scheduled activities 3x a week so I can justify my laziness...

    The fact that you're up and showered and ready for the day hours before I can peel myself, you're winning.

  7. The dialogue between the librarian and Drew-lia had me rolling! So cute! What WILL she be for Halloween this year?!

  8. what is it with toddlers and the tags of their blankies? my youngest sister had about 4 blankies, and the tags of those blankies had permanent residence under her nose. being the generous soul she is, she would occasionally offer to dab your nose with the once-white-now-brown tag. how sweet.

  9. You know, from your lack of an air-tight schedule for Drew, I can clearly tell that you don't love your children.

    Also, nail polish on mothers- of any color!- means that they should immediately be subjected to a CPS investigation.

  10. I hate it when only daycare centers come to the story times! Yeah, I would try a different one labeled "toddler time." Or just let her go to the library whenever and tear books off the shelves. Better than when my kids go and want to spend the whole time playing computer games.

  11. I have always been horrible with the whole structured, play-with-your-kid thing. I was thrilled when Gianna was able to start pre-school at 4 because she finally had some structure and something to do besides watch tv and occasionally play outside! Don't feel bad, Gianna is fine and I'm sure "Drew" will be too! That little conversation had me laughing out loud "Do you have a name?" You should have said No, we just called her "girl". And kept a straight face the whole time. LOL!

  12. Hilarious. I am laughing out loud at work. For the record, my mom thought I was perhaps "challenged" because I couldn't do a 4 piece puzzle in kindergarten class. I also sucked my thumb until I was 10, so there's that. Maybe a first girl thing? I'd like to hear your childhood secrets, Grace.

  13. Seriously.....Drew?? Hopefully she was thinking Drew as in Barrymore and NOT thinking Drew as in boy's name. *sigh* some people.

    Hey, at least you have been there, don't that, and got the t-shirt. Better luck next time (or not). :)

    Love the boot/dress combo on J, btw!

  14. My two year old still takes a bottle. In fact, I've kept all of my kids on the bottle for as long as possible because it makes my life easier. Maybe now you feel better about yourself as a parent?

  15. Structure is boring. My son asked me today at McDonald's (I am such a great parent) if I was going to send our two year old twins to preschool. Um, probably not. It's just too hard with 5 total, 2 year old twins and a one year old to boot. They'll probably just wander around the home causing mischief until I realize that being five they should probably be in Kindergarten. And seeing that you now have to read by the time you are finished, the teacher will take one look at my kids and probably think to herself what a moron of a mother. My oldest could practically read at this point, my 2 year old daughter holds her doll by her feet and says "upside down". But hey, at least she knows what upside down means. I just tell people we are "unschooling".

  16. I have yet to even acquire a library card to use our library because the task seems too monumental. However, I did just find out that our library checks out toys. Isn't that awesome? They will be lost in the giant navy bucket immediately.

  17. Haha...love it! This is totally life with a two year old!!! LOVE it!

    Btw 2 year olds can still do lap time at the county libraries in STL and I highly recommend them bc they're allowed to run around the whole time if they want. It's awesome.

  18. Oh that sounds a lot like our experiences and why we dont go to story time anymore. Can someone please explain to me WHYYYYYY you would store the expensive library AV equipment in the room you use for TODDLER STORYTIME?"?!?!????? Twins = disaster time.

    Plus i just bought purply black nail polish the other day......big spenda!

  19. That is such a pretty photo of Julia. You Pattons and your enviable facial structure... :)

  20. We tried story hour 3 times before I promptly enrolled Asher in Gymboree Play - they didn't mind him running around like a headless chicken. Even easier now that he's in "school" - someone else gets to wrangle him for 3 hrs a day...Age 2 will age me 15 years before it's all said and done

  21. I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday about play. She's an anthropologist (or something smart like that) and she did lots of research about the way that parents have interacted with their children throughout the years and her discovery, along with many other smart people, have discovered that play is children's work. That's how they learn, that's how they become functional people that will someday run society. She really got into the details.

    So I wouldn't worry too much about Drew, she should turn out okay and if all else fails she'll be bilingual... "hola, my name is Dora"

    I'm done now, I promise to never comment in an intelligent fashion. It really ruins my vibe man.

    Oh and I like wearing trashy nail polish. I imagine people saying to themselves "sure she's got a ton of kids and a cart filled with food by-products but check out her black nails, she's totally a bad-ass".

  22. I think you and I might have been separated at birth.

  23. Adorable picture of Julia!

    I started taking Finn to storytime at 3ish years old and it was a while (year?) before he would sit on the carpet without me down there with him.

  24. I think scheduled playtimes are fine to have, but as a supplement to a more "free-range" approach, as you mention. So no worries about your lack of scheduled activities for the kids! As I see it, it's not my job as a parent to entertain my kids (though there are certainly times when I like to play with them, and do). I really think we do them a favor when we force them to learn how to make their OWN fun.



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