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Monday, August 02, 2010


Here was my to-do list when I woke up this morning. It was a short list, but a big one.

1) Get Noelle de-wormed. She has come down with worms for the second time this summer! So in the midst of this big move, the poor thing has had upset stomach, diarrhea and a very sore behind. I blame the dogs she was snuggling right before we left Indiana.

So first thing this morning, I took her to Rite-Aid and bought her that chalky, minty medicine that kills pinworms.

Second on my list was:

2) Find a preschool for Noelle. She is so ready. There is no doubt in my mind that it is absolutely the right move for her. I'm not sure how many days or hours a week I will choose to have her in preschool, but I can see in so many ways that my little girl is ready for the new challenges and opportunities preschool will bring her.

Western Washington University provides a Child Development Center to it's employees and students, but it's very hard to get into. The wait lists are up to a year long. So I went to the CDC today with low expectations. I was hoping at least to get a referral to other preschools in the area.

One of Dwayne's supervisors very kindly offered to take me to the Daycare so that I could meet the director and talk with her personally. This was a wonderful connection. And so around lunch time we met Dwayne's supervisor, picked up her daughter from dance class and then went over to the CDC.

As soon as we walked through the doors Noelle was off like a flash. She ran into the classroom and began playing with the toys, perfectly at home in this new environment. I observed with pride how independent my little girl is. "She's ready," I thought to myself as I turned to shake the Director's hand.

"I think they're about to take a nap," the Director said craning her neck around to see Noelle. "Your daughter..." she waited for me to catch the hint.

"Certainly!" I piped up and rushed in to pull Noelle out of the way.

The Director escorted us back to her office, and of course Noelle was squirmy. She was anxious to get back to the classroom.

"Mommy, I was making you a sandwich!" she announced and fidgeted around the seat uncontrollably, lifting her legs and feet up underneath her, then twisting around to grab everything on the coffee table. She found a red foam apple.

"Yes, you can play with that," the Director said walking into her office with a pleasant smile.

I turned in my seat to face her as she sat down behind her desk.

"So, you're interested in our school?" she asked pulling a yellow sheet of paper out of her desk.

I heard a long low squelch beside me, and turned to see Noelle trying to EAT the foam apple.

"Noelle, don't eat that!" I retorted and pulled the apple out of her hand.

"Oh yes, you don't want to eat that!" the Director said in that same pleasant and unflappable tone. "Lot's of little hands have been all over it."

She went on to kindly explain to me that the preschool has a very long wait list, but if I filled out this yellow paper, they would give me a call perhaps in the Spring if there was an opening next Fall.

"We really can't guarantee what our availabilities are going to be," she finished.

I heard a crack beside me and turned to see Noelle bending over a mirror. She had found it behind the chair, pulled it out and dropped it on the ground.

"Oh!" the Director jumped up and picked up the mirror quickly. "You don't want to play with that!"

"Noelle," I hissed as the Director stepped out to put the mirror away. "Sit down on your bottom!" The director walked back in and Noelle begrudgingly shuffled up onto the chair and slumped down into it's corner. She sat with a look of flat irritation. It was past lunch time now, going on nap time.

I handed her a cookie. She crossed her brows and slapped it away from me. I felt a small flag of panic unfurl deep in my gut. What do I do with this two year old???!! She was completely misbehaving and I had no recourse. I needed to finish this meeting but where could she go? What could I do? There was no one to watch Noelle for me, and I had no idea how to threaten or distract her into good behavior. I was feeling lost in more ways than one.

I straightened up and turned toward the Director, who tried to look like she had not seen my daughter defy me. "I'd let her go in the age-appropriate room, but their about to take a nap," she explained meekly.

I nodded my head and took the yellow sheet from her. "Well, I was hoping you might be able to refer me to other preschools?"

The director smiled that same implacable smile and said, "We're not supposed to refer people to preschools, but here you can call the Opportunity Council..." and she stopped mid-sentence to write down the phone number.

And then Noelle spoke:

"I have worms." It was clear as the sunny days we've had here in Bellingham this weekend.

The Director choked on a laugh and then looked up at me. A deep blush crept up from my neck and I felt the heat of it to the top of my head.

"I have worms. I have worms. I have worms." It was almost deliberate and calculated. Noelle sat slumped into the corner of her chair watching the Director quietly, measuring the reactions around her.

"Well that's not what you're mommy wants you to tell me!" The Director laughed again and then turned to me. "Yeah, there's no chance of you getting into the school this year. And a slim chance you'll get in next year, but just give us the sheet and we'll call you."

We shook hands and I scooped my daughter out of the office.

Outside she screeched at the top of her lungs when I told her it was time to go home. "But I want to stay at preschool!" she sobbed and her whole body stiffened like a board so that I could hardly pick her up.

"Please honey," was all I could whisper as I followed Dwayne's supervisor back to the car and lumped her into the car seat.

Back at the apartment, I quietly prepared quesadillas for a late lunch. My own inner antagonist taunted me. "She's not ready for preschool. She's a savage! She's hardly civilized enough to be with other kids. What have you done wrong? Where have you failed her?"

Noelle carried her blue princess dress up to me and pushed it into my thigh. "Mommy, I want to wear this."

"Okay" I reached down and helped her put it on.

"I'm going to go lay on my belly, okay mommy?" I have been coaching her to do this when her stomach hurts. She walked down the hallway and disappeared into our bedroom.

I cut the avocados, and carefully spooned them out onto her plate. Things were quiet down the hall. Usually when Noelle is quiet, it means she's concentrating very hard on something she knows she should not be doing. Like rummaging through my purse, or pulling all the clothes out of the dresser drawer, or yanking on the blinds.

Though I was enjoying the peace and quiet, I knew I needed to check on her, so I walked back to our bedroom and pushed on the door.

This is what I found.


Blogger Amanda said...

Tin, I'm so sorry that I laughed when I read this. Had I been in your shoes I might have had a different reaction.

What a character! Something tells me she'll flourish in preschool!

Love that little personality.

5:04 PM  
Blogger Michele Kohler-Ho said...

Priceless! Had a good chuckle over that one!

5:32 PM  

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