Life Illustrated: Preschool Edition

Remember this? Piper was never thrilled about preschool.

What a difference a school year makes.

She wore her purple shirt today, the one with the rainbow, just so that she could draw herself this way.  Her hair had to be in braids. And that little red swirl is a smile on Piper’s face.

Star of the Flipping Week: Dripping Sarcasm Alert

Last Friday when I picked up Piper from preschool I learned that she was slated for Star of the Week status.  I happened to notice that the classroom was tackling the “O” as their next letter and remembered a conversation a few months back in which Piper threw herself on the ground complaining about how very much she detested the letter “O.” I don’t know what “O” ever did to her, but somewhere in the back of my brain, I remembered Star of the Week.  So, I did the unthinkable.  I asked Piper’s teacher.

“Um. Is Piper’s Star of the Week thingy coming up soon?”

I regretted the words as they slipped from my mouth.  Who doesn’t know when their child is scheduled for the illustrious Star of the Week? Sorry. I’m a little bitter over here.

“You don’t know?” Preschool teacher asked. “I sent home a notice in January.  It had all of the instructions. You’ll need to dig that out.”

Right. January. Let me think back through four months, six trips, nine house guests, and two full-time jobs. You’re right. I’m a loser mom.

“Do you think you could just give me the instructions again? My husband probably lost them.” Oh, snap.  Threw Piper’s dad under the bus. Sorry, honey.

Preschool teacher made me wait in the hall ten minutes.  It felt like detention.

“I can see you now,” she called from inside the room.

Piper and I came in, our heads hanging low.

“So, there’s the poster, the snack, and the book.  You’ll need to make a poster about Piper’s family–”

“I will? Can’t Piper do it? I mean. It’s about her, right?” Strike two.

“Sure. You can take a look at the wall to see some examples.”

The wall was covered with professionally printed Star of the Week posters. Laminated. With Glamour Shots. They were perfect.

“Okay. The poster,” I said. “Got it. And?”

“Well, Piper’s letter is “O” so you’ll need to provide a snack that begins with the letter “O,” like Oreos.”

I winced. We don’t eat Oreos.  Unless Grandma and Grandpa are in town and sneak them under the table. Preschool teacher all but rolled her eyes.

“Well, I’m sure you can think of a healthy snack that begins with the letter “O.” You can look it up online.”

I have such trouble brainstorming the beginning letters of words these days.  Thank goodness for Google. Whew.

“And Piper will need to bring in her favorite book.  Usually the kids read the books to the class, but we’ll make an exception for Piper.”

I know. What kind of a four-year-old isn’t reading yet, right? Strike three.

I had some catching up to do with my slack parenting. We headed immediately to the store for supplies. Piper was jumping up and down in the aisle when she saw this:

A poster board in Rainbow! Who knew? Then, she and Sissy spent a couple of hours Saturday afternoon printing off pictures from the blog.  As a total slacker mom I don’t have loads of spare pictures of my kids waiting for arts and crafts projects. Thus, the need for this blog. Piper cut and pasted the pictures herself and did the labeling.  Lalaloopsies made it on to the poster board somehow. They’re a big part of our family. It was way out of my hands.

Piper is pretty proud of her board. It’s hers. Really, really hers.

We also negotiated the snack from Oreos to healthy oatmeal raisin treats. Piper vetoed okra chips and oranges.

I wasn’t as successful in the book selection.  I teach in the Literature Department at a university, so I pushed the classics, but Piper chose this instead:

I’ll be biting my tongue. Why? Because Piper is Star of the Week and she’s doing it her way.

A Piper By Any Other Name

Piper mostly hates preschool.  Not the playground and the crayon thing but the academic thing.  If you have a preschooler, you may already know that they are doing long division by the end of the first week.  It’s insane.  Most of Piper’s classmates have been skilled and drilled since birth.  Half of them can already read. Piper can barely write her name.  It’s not that she doesn’t have the ability or that she isn’t bright, it’s that we haven’t really put our energy into her four-year-old academics.  She’s been busy making mud pies and memorizing Lady Gaga lyrics. Her father has taught her an array of armpit noise pitches.  We’re very proud. Every day her teacher sends home a note asking me to work with Piper on her name.  I haven’t paid much attention, but I’m pretty sure the note goes like this “Dear Lazy Mom Who Doesn’t Pay Enough Attention to Piper, Please take a few precious moments out of your busy day and work with this poor child on writing her name so that the other kids stop making fun of her on the playground. Thank you.”  I know that tone.  I’m a teacher, too. So, we work on the name thing.  We sit at the kitchen table with brightly colored paper and markers that smell of various fruit flavors.  And she does write a name.  It’s just not her name.  It goes like this:

So, I’m thinking of saving us all the headache and just changing her name.  “What do you think of going by Pirppirr?”  I ask.  Her face is hopeful. “Can I stop doing this then?”  “Yep.  Back to eating Playdoh and practicing armpit noises.” She happily runs from the table and I begin writing a note to her teacher informing her effective immediately of Piper’s new name. Problem solved.