Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On Toddlers and The Words You Should Never Ever Say

Today marks the 100th! Day! Of! School! And like everything in the preschool setting, it must be acknowledged and celebrated with great fanfare.  Any hope that we had of just gently sliding past this one was blown out of the water by the constant reminders of the 100th Day of School party and requests to bring in snacks to share and collections featuring 100...things.  I get it, being able to count to 100 is a pretty big milestone in a kid's life and all that but oh my head, the parties.  And of course this means that Parents Are Welcome subtext being If You Miss This Your Child Will Lose All Faith And Self Confidence And End Up Working The Pole At Some Seedy Establishment Off Of Rt 66.  Live with that on your conscience, you lousy selfish parent you!  As a result, Noelle has been very very excited about today for a long time as I made half-hearted and vague almost-promises to be there.  So excited in fact that she bolted out of bed this morning crowing about it being the 100th Day Of School and there will be a Party!  Noah, of course, picks up on her excitement and especially homes in on 'Party'.  Dun dun dun.

To add even more specialness to an otherwise already special day, it is also my brother-in-law's birthday.  Because we are a close family, we get excited about each other's birthdays.  At breakfast Noelle started asking about the party for Uncle Jeff.  Sorry baby, but grownups don't 'do' birthday parties like you guys do.  I don't know why; we just don't.  But! You have your 100th Day Of School Party this afternoon and we can call Uncle Jeff tonight to wish him a Happy Birthday, how about that? This of course consoles her leaving Noah banging on the table yelling 'Pah-tee! Pah-tee' like a miniature fraternity pledge at a kegger.  You would think that after five years of this parenting nonsense I would be able to sense doom lurking on the horizon.  You would think but you would be wrong.

We passed the time on the drive into school/work with Noelle attempting to engage me in a scene by scene breakdown of, wait for it, The Lion King for the eleventy-billionth time.  It was somewhere around BFE Horse Country that I finally gave into temptation and broke out the big Magneto-guns: 'Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answer?' This stumped her briefly allowing me to listen to Noah's chirping, "Unca Jeff birfday...YAY!" complete with throwing his hands in the air like he just doesn't care.  The enthusiasm this kid has for parties is limitless and infectious.  If you need that little something extra to get a crowd pumped for any reason involving a party, let me know. He's available for hire at a reasonable rate.

By the time we arrive at school, Noah has worked himself up into full on-party mode and one look at the building has him eyeing me suspiciously.  'Pah-tee?' he says, not quite a demand but not quite a question.  'No buddy, it's a school day.  It's Uncle Jeff's birthday though; we can call him tonight to sing to him, okay?'
"Okay" he replies in a seemingly acquiescent manner.  Also not helping? Noelle trying to calm him down, "Noah, we have a party today.  It's after naps!" and me trying to shush her by hissing "His class isn't  having a party, it's only for the big kids who can count to 100." One day I will remember that preschoolers have no filter as she OF COURSE turned to him and stated matter-of-factly: "Sorry Noah, no party for you." Now I'm silently cursing myself for not lying and saying that I had to go into work early again and honey, could you pretty please take the kids to school so I wouldn't have to deal with this.

So Noah's whimpering, Noelle's being officious and rather bratty and I'm wishing that I was somewhere that had coffee. Or wine, 8 AM be damned.  We get into his classroom and to put away his stuff and the whimpering has progressed to *almost* tears.  I take him next door to the Older Twos classroom to wait for his teacher and bam! we hit it.  The wall of irrationality.  He lays himself out on rug completely extended crying and yelling for 'Pah-tee! Pah-tee!'.  I, being a superb mother and not at all one who is going to leave the teachers with this display, pat him on his head and say 'Love you, bud.  Have a great day and I'll pick you up after school.' then slink out the door.

What have we learned here?  That the word 'party' is like crack to toddlers (also: ice cream, candy and video game) and the withholding of said crack will lead to Terrible Things. (I did end up sneaking back in for Noelle's party in the afternoon but had to leave to go back to work sending her into tears so Woot! I made both kids cry at school on the same day for different reasons. Skillz. I haz them.) 

PS: Noah's teachers delicately let me know at pickup that he had an 'emotional' morning.  Yeah, no.  We're good.  It's the party-crash.  Gets them every time.

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