Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Okay fine. It's ANNALS.

Normally I look forward to being the parent helper in Madeleine's preschool. It allows for a glimpse of her standing with her peers, her behavior in groups, her interests outside of our own toy box. This year has been slightly different because her teacher is a micromanager, hovering over my shoulder as I try to get Luke to cut a circle or to keep Charlie from gluing his arms to the table. She's always there. Always suggesting. In a super-soft, admonishing tone. As if I'm leading these young minds directly into purgatory by allowing them to write their names on the front of their paper-plate turkey faces.

Today I was already in the doghouse because I forgot my onion. Even though Julie was kind enough to run home to get one in less than 10 minutes, it was brought to my attention no less than 4 times that said onion was not there on time. I typically shrug and ignore. Shrug and ignore, shrug and ignore. That's what I do with hovering whispering people. But today we were making soup. Soup made from ingredients brought by each one of the 15 children. Soup that was made by vegetables cut by each one of the 15 children. With sharp knives provided by the hovering whispering teacher. Fuck.

At age 4 kids mostly want to do everything grown-upish by themselves, which includes stirring 10 gallons of boiling liquid and wielding super-sharp knives for cutting carrots. Carrots are not your most stationary vegetable, but only three kids were bleeding by the end of the day! I include this, as well as the fact that Hovering Whispering Teacher is not bleeding, two major successes of my Parent Helper Day. In fact, I was feeling pretty good about myself as I washed the 18 tiny red cups after snack according to the 18-step program I was made to memorize at the start of my day. Then, when the clock rung 12, Madeleine was in hysterics for no discernable reason, my hands reaked of onions and bleach, and I was apparently still on the permanent shitlist for the Onion Incident of 2006. The day in which Madeleine's Mommy Forgot the Onion. And three kids bled under her care. Today is the day Madeleine's mommy will go down in the preschool anals, catalogued under Shitty Parent Helpers. Anals? That can't be right...

Addendum: Today our house went off the market, and while I was Parent Helper the realtor came and took all of the material and data sheets off of our front table without telling me. Which meant the house was locked when I got home. I live in a Missoula suburb and don't even know where our front door key is. Madeleine had dog shit on her boots which I threw in the grass to be forgotten and cleaned next spring, so she was standing on our front porch crying with freezing feet and Quinn was trying to push her into the bushes for fun while I shimmied through a partially open basement window. The bright side? I'll get back to you...

Second Addendum: Just now I briefly edited this post and realized I've been neglecting this important part of writing. Which is funny, because in my other real-life writing I'm terribly anal about spelling and grammar. Isn't that hilarious?

Song of the Day: Save Me, Aimee Man (howling to this in the car makes me think Me Sing Pretty One Day)


Blogger SUEB0B said...

Oh man. I'm so sorry for your day. That teacher sounds like a piece of work. My sunday school leader is a bit like that, micromanaging me to distraction "Well, usually we try to set out an EVEN number of chairs..." but fortunately my gig there is only one Sunday a month.

I can't believe you forgot the onion.

11/15/2006 6:40 PM  
Anonymous LetterB said...

Um, I think "anals" is appropriate for both that teacher and your day in general.

11/15/2006 7:23 PM  
Blogger Ortizzle said...

With any luck, perhaps Madeleine's teacher will have her very own annus horribilis, just like Queen Elizabeth. Or maybe she'll skid on an onion skin on her way out the door. (And anyway, do four year-year-olds really want an onion in their soup? I wouldn't have thought it would be their favorite ingredient. Laffy Taffy Soup maybe... or M&M Chowder... Mars Bar Broth...) ;-D

11/15/2006 9:01 PM  
Blogger Arabella said...

I swear, Mignon, you get funnier and funnier.

If they don't give you a column, then there is no justice in the world.

And I think you showed incredible restraint around the teacher, especially given the close proximity to sharp objects and boiling liquids.

11/16/2006 6:13 AM  
Anonymous wordgirl said...

This would make the perfect newspaper column on parenting...if only A CERTAIN NEWSPAPER WHICH SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS HAD BEEN SMART ENOUGH TO HIRE YOU!! I'm just saying. Damned if I know why someone isn't paying you good money to write about how you forgot an onion on Stone Soup Day. (It was Stone Soup, wasn't it??) I hate it that your house is off the market. I want someone to buy it, but I absolutely don't want you to have to move (as we did) one week before Christmas. If that happens, remind me to buy you a new hip flask.

11/16/2006 7:40 AM  
Blogger Mignon said...

SueB, I got dinged for that too! The chairs DO NOT go around the snack tables until it's time for snack.

LetterB, yes. Anal is one of the first buzz words I learned in college (along with wasted, "from hell", and wicked), and I have a special place in my heart for it.

Ortiz - I know! Almost every single kid was bawling when I was cutting the onion and I'm all, "What the fuck? This onion is from hell."

Arabella, thank you. Although I'm afraid a lot of stuff I write is not for public consumption. It's a small town. And I swear and make fun of upstanding citizens easily recognizable at the Farmers' Market.

Wordgirl, thank you and YES! Is it in the by-laws that this soup must be made in sadistic preschools everywhere? I also had to take part in a completely plot-less bizarre puppet show describing how stone soup was made. The kids were totally confused so I just made faces and pinched Charlie with my dinosaur puppet, because I had no speaking lines. I'm sure I was very helpful.

11/16/2006 7:51 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

Wait... What do you mean off the market? As in, for good? Or as in, you have a contract? Did the Realtor not want to renew? Are you going to hire someone else?

Am I annoying you with all these questions yet?

11/16/2006 11:32 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

Did anyone actually eat the soup? Because unless the other 14 ingredients included nothing but egg noodles and finely diced chicken, I can't see a bunch of 4 year olds standing in line to try it.

Also, I was thinking the same thing as Arabella as I read this post and I had the same questions about your house situation as Tink, so there you go.

Additionally, since I already used the word "twat" as a descriptor once on this blog, we'll just say Madeleine's teacher sounds like a real pain in the anals.

11/16/2006 2:19 PM  
Blogger Orange said...

Sheesh, Ben's preschool class made chocolate milk. They stirred chocolate syrup into milk. End of project. (It would have been a lot better if I'd remembered to bring an onion, of course.)

11/16/2006 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, you're a really shitty mom/helper. I think you should probably let someone else have your kids now. Forgetting an onion?? You are right to be ashamed of yourself.


For real though--soup and knives?

11/16/2006 9:24 PM  
Blogger meno said...

I was watching CNN when the Onion Incident scrolled across the bottom of the screen. I feel so proud as i almost know you.

11/16/2006 10:00 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

Good Lord you crack me up!!!

I have to bring the cooked and seasoned hamburger meat for today's Stone Soup at school. If David's teacher hovers over me she will get bitch slapped.

11/17/2006 5:42 AM  
Anonymous kathie said...

Hey Mignon, I'm laughing at your expense. The entire post, depicting each phase of your misery makes me chuckle. Only because I'm right there with ya sister. I dare you to leave those boots in the yard all winter. I forbid you to touch them...

11/17/2006 6:22 AM  
Blogger Feral Mom said...

Hovering, whispering teachers can fuck off. When our girls were in daycare, there was one that suggested giving our girls Tylenol if they were teething. Thanks, genius! I never would have thought of that one! Ahem. Sorry that your place is off the market.

11/17/2006 8:31 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

I'm also laughing at your expense.

The soup project sounds pretty involved; what's next, hovering teacher? Homemade liverwurst?

11/20/2006 11:26 AM  
Blogger V-Grrrl said...

They're discussing the Onion Incident all over Europe. I heard people talking about it in Italy (where they wondered if you forgot the garlic too) and in Belgium, where they recommended leeks.....

And "Me Sing Pretty One Day"? You rock.

11/26/2006 1:52 PM  

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