Wednesday, June 12, 2002

The Long Day

I feel a long-winded entry coming on.

Either that or gas.

Today Boy wanted me to go with his class to the park for their annual pickanick. I was suprised at the vehemence with which he requested my presence. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact he now shares me with Little-the-great.

I arrive just in time to wait. That's how it works when you are herding 40 kids anywhere. One teacher headed the line, the other was the tail, and I somehow ended up with an ever changing group of stragglers 10 yards back.

For those of you who are not knowing, Boy's school is in an urban type area and is peopled with urban type kids. They know nothing about nature at all. Somehow one little girl, let's call her MissThang, got hold of a millipede at home and brought it to school. MissThang put it in a cup with some dirt and a few pebbles. She divied up viewing rights as only a female first-grader can. Apparently I'm alright, because not only did I get a viewing, but my advice was sought on the best way to care for "Centipedes".

We began with a lesson on how to tell centipedes from millipedes...


In my universe, millipedes are simply the coolest creepy-crawlies ever, closely seconded by rolly-pollies. Also, in my universe, centipedes are simply one of the most horrifying creepy-crawlies, indeed, creatures. They rank second only to spiders.


and progressed to the care of pet millipedes, rolly-pollies and snails. Upon learning they ate dead leaves and stuff like that, the girl gaggle began a very serious hunt for such things. At the beginning of the walk they were scarce, but about a block into it the air was filled with "I found one!"s. It was with some scepticism that the girl gaggle agreed to wait till we got the park to search for dead leaves. They were convinced the finest dead leaves were only to be found HERE AND NOW, and that one could hardly expect there to be any vegetation at a park.

We did eventually make it to the park, after one dead mole, a lost shoe and a bout of "Honk" on the highway walk-over thingy. After lunch I was appointed leader of a nature walk. Other lucky girls were appointed to be various Aunties of MissThang's millipede. I was to lead them to more millipedes so that more girls could start their families. This, of course, led to a discussion of the future names of babies. Sierra Alexandra was put on the table, but was dismissed as "too much".

The nature walk yielded the following wonders:

*Skunk cabbage


*1 dead bird, complete with maggots

*a mullberry bush, the berries being green and fostering much discussion about poisoning...

*2 rolly-pollies

*1 other millipede, who promptly became lost and will remain an orphan

*1 shell from some kind of pupa

*1 bird's nest sighting

It was most amusing for all involved. I enjoyed grand "Other" status, having once taught these girls as a sub but now being around just for the fun of it. I constantly had my hand held, and recieved several hugs. This was very nice. I was also asked my age no fewer than thirty six times in a row because NONE of the girls believed I could be that young.


Notice Boy is not in this picture. Having been assured I was indeed meeting my end of the bargain, Boy promptly began one of forty variations on a game of chase. I left early, but I have no reason to believe he stopped before their FOUR HOURS there were up.

When I picked Boy up after school I brought him a snack and a cold bottle of water and informed him that he was feeling tired. He didn't believe me. I also informed him he would still be required to be nice to Little-the-great. He wasn't. He was downright vicious. I finally stopped him and gave him a first class talking to.

Those rarely fix the problem.

First class talking to-s do stop the problem momentarily, so while Little-the-great was in swimming class, Boy and I had a gentle discussion. It seemed to have the desired effect.

Of course, on the day when Boy is so tired, I forget money for parking and we have to walk five blocks with two puppies, their cage, a suitably thick book that I hope to study from (HA), Little-the-great and his backpack and lunch box. Of course, since I forgot the bags, the puppies poop everywhere. Of course, since it's hot, I end up carrying everything but the children.

You should be tired just from reading this.

After swimming we raced over to another babysitting gig. That house had a pool, which was just what Boy needed to complete his exhaustion. By the time we left the very air made him upset.

At Little-the-great's house there was a dead baby bird on the door step. Some dumb cluck has made its nest on the roof and sends its prodgeny to their doom on the average of once a week. Boy did not grieve as I expected him to.

I did manage to get him in bed on time. Ten minutes later he comes out telling me he knows why he was upset- he's decided he must be a bad kid to do those things to Little-the-great.

This is what a first-class-talking-to will get you.

So we ate up some bed time talking about how he could tell he wasn't a bad kid, and once he was certain he's not evil he agreed to go to sleep.

You have no idea how glad I am that it wasn't the two dead birds and a smooshed mole. Self esteem issues i can deal with, but I can't seem to bring back the dead.

Now I am done. I am going to bed. You are going to forgive the typos and bad writing because you love me and you know how tired I am. Boy is going to forgive my parenting gaffs because I'm the only mom he's got and I can only do what I can do. I am going to forgive his mean streak because he was tired and he really is the sweetest kiddo ever, and I love him all to pieces.

Night night

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