Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Torture Me Tuesday

Toddler Tuesday is a weekly form of punishment for adults that lasts for seven weeks.

Due to the fact that everyone else only has one toddler, they take their punishment in stride by sitting on the bleachers and talking on cell phones. Some even have the nerve to bring books. Occasionally a parent will realize the teacher can't possibly keep all the toddlers running in the same direction, so they'll get up long enough to corral their toddler who has gone astray.

The class is open to children ages 2 to 5, so there are a couple of older male bullies in the class. I swear one is at least 7. I don't know why he's not in school. He's a discipline problem, so his mom may have taken him out of public school before the teachers accidentally lost him on a field trip. And I don't know where she was today because he was freely picking on the younger children with no reprimand. I felt sorry for the mom having to protect her child. She kept saying, "If he hits you, you just have to walk away."

I was glad Ironman wasn't there. If that were happening to our child he'd be saying, "Kick his @ss!" Last night Ironman was teaching our son to say, "I love my cods." I was mortified as always, but no matter how much I shriek in protest, he still thinks it's funny. Nobody else does, but he does. Suddenly when our daughter started saying it today, it wasn't so funny to Ironman and the rules changed so that no one was allowed to say that word anymore.

That's the thing about Ironman. He teaches them to do really stupid things--like stick things in the ceiling fan--but he eventually sees the error of his ways and tries to unring the bell. It doesn't always work, but I'm just grateful he's not so stubborn that he sticks to his guns and lets them get their arms ripped off or something--which he swears can't happen just from sticking the empty plastic wrapping of an over sized Pixie stick into the blades.

Anyway, I speak bitterly about the parents relaxing on the bleachers because I'm el preggo mom on the court trying to encourage my shy daughter to participate and my son from picking up the obstacle course. I'm the one hopping on dots and crawling through cones as I pant like the out of shape blob that I am. I'm the one running and freezing like a statue in the Red Light/Green Light game. I resent the heck out of it. I can't believe I paid in advance for this.

I thought my children would benefit from being around other children and getting out of the house since we have almost zero experiences like that. The first week Teacher Steve threw a bunch of balls on the court along with random items like rubber chickens and told the kids to play to their heart's content. My 2 year old son loved it. The girls were great.

The second week started getting more structured. My son didn't want to do anything that Teacher Steve wanted him to do. He just wanted to play with the balls like the week before. The girls were ideal. They followed directions. Alex just wanted to play on his own.

The third week was really bad weather, so we skipped. Also, Ironman accidentally took my keys, so we couldn't have gone anyway.

Today was the fourth week. Skipping one week was a big mistake on so many levels. For one thing, Lindley regressed. She was suddenly scared to go out on the court. Could be due to the fact that Teacher Steve accidentally whacked her upside the head, and two weeks later her cut is still noticeable. I'd be scared, too. Alex saw his favorite ball on the court--the ball of many colors. But he wasn't allowed to play with it. Actually, it wasn't used for anything today, so I'm not sure why it was on the court. Just a temptation that became torture for both of us as we battled it out. I eventually won which I hear you're supposed to do if you engage in a battle of the wills with children. It took a lot of punishing before Alex finally realized I'm more stubborn than he is. Meanwhile, Lindley is following me around and refuses to participate.

We were the three idiots performing for all the parents. Thankfully Gracie was being angelic and following Teacher Steve. I can raise one child right!

I finally convinced Alex and Lindley to join me on the court with Gracie. That was only after Lindley agreed to do it if I would hold her hand, and Alex refused to go with us and screamed on the bleachers. I kept motioning for him to come over and join us, but he didn't want to. Finally a mom was nice enough to walk him over. We went from one week of playing simple stop and go games to a very complicated obstacle course.

This is what my two and three year olds were expected to remember and then follow through with. Keep in mind, I feel grateful if I can give them two things to accomplish and they manage to accomplish one.

Sit by the wall until it's your turn. Walk over to the blue square. Stand on it. Walk ten feet over to the orange hurdles and step over them. (They were crotch level for almost all the kids, so they were being knocked over almost every single time.) After getting over about ten hurdles, hop down the row of dots. Follow the arrows around the court until you see more dots. Hop on the dots again. Duck down to go through five hoola hoops that are propped up on flimsy Styrofoam. (Once again, kids can barely get through them without knocking the entire set up down.) Crawl like a baby through the red cones. Walk backwards on the stars. Roll on your side from one end of the gym mat to the other. Walk to the purple square and stomp on it. Return to the wall where you started.

This got almost every parent off their butts. Finally I wasn't the only one out there.

There were toddlers totally confused going every direction, tripping over obstacles, and of course--my son--picking up the stars, dots, and arrows saying things like, "Look mom! Itsa lellow star!"

I thought that was quite optimistic for Teacher Steve to think he could handle a class that large alone on an obstacle course that complicated. Even the adults were scratching their heads and thinking, "Do they hop on dots or walk backwards on dots???"

But I have to admit I was VERY proud of my children by the end of class. Two of them had a slow start, but with practice they were able to successfully conquer the obstacle course. Even Alex was able to swing his short little legs over those big hurdles without knocking them down.

So that was Toddler Tuesday today. I need my blankie and a nap.


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