Thursday, December 14, 2006

Santa, Daycare, and Bandaids

After high school, I took a year off to work full time. I was burned out from pushing myself too hard and stretching myself too thinly. I envisioned the time being spent earning money as I decided what I wanted to major in during my college years, thus influencing what institution I would choose to attend.

In that time (after a blink of an eye spent as a nanny), I worked at a daycare. 'Worked' may not be entirely accurate to categorize what I did there. I went swimming, taught children how to create a sand village complete with volcanoes and tattoo parlors, painted fingernails, drew pictures, transformed into a bear or the hot-lava monster, built a fort, ventured on walks, flew kites, read books, went sledding, comforted hurt or crying children, and braided hair.

It was a great year. I know some people were worried I was about to waste my life and become content 'just working at a daycare,' not going to college. And in fact I might have dispelled some stereotypes I harbored in my mind about those who didn't get further education.

In the end, I was refreshed when I started college, unlike some of my freshman peers who wasted a semester or two because they weren't mature enough to make the transition. While I don't believe everyone needs a year break, I still recommend time off before college for those just at the end of their ropes.

At the daycare, I worked primarily with the preschool-aged children, although I was a floater when a quick substitute was needed in the baby or toddler rooms.

At Christmas time, Santa graced us with his presence. He took the children on his lap as they were awed almost to silence. They quietly whispered their requests to this full-bearded, obese man with the limited wardrobe. Until one three-year-old came along. Santa asked what he wanted for Christmas. The young boy earnestly answered, "Scotch tape!"

After the holidays I was to learn that Santa was good to him that year, and even saw fit to give him more than transparent adhesive.

I must admit, this episode caused me to identify this unassuming boy as a kindred spirit of mine. For when I was around his age, all I wanted was bandaids for my birthday. Once received, I was able to give tender ministrations to my Cabbage Patch doll and anything else that was so unfortunate to cross paths with me while I was trying to expand my practice.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"I hope she isn't going to go from NaNoWriMo to the Cat Lady"

Little Augustine has developed a questionable trade.

At night, she will quietly have the run of our home. Yes, this little creature will leave us alone all night long, perhaps batting around her toys or trying to scale our Christmas tree--I can't speak definitively about her actions, as I'm sleeping. But these tendencies have been duly noted in daytime hours, so there is credibility.

This innocent little feline will make nary a move to disturb her owners while the moon reigns. At most, she will cuddle near our feet, luxuriating in the feel of our down alternative comforter. And who could blame her, as she especially appreciates it's hypoallergenic qualities.

But then her diurnal clock wakes her sometime around 5:30 to 6:30 AM, and she thinks we need to wake up. I'm sorry; not we, just me. At this unfortunate time, she will approach my side of the bed, crouch under my bedside table, and begin scratching at the fitted sheet. Not something I can ignore.

So what is my reaction? Do I appreciate this furry alarm clock, shut off my more abrasive back-up and jump out of bed refreshed, glad to have the leisure to enjoy coffee before work? No. I drag myself out of bed after having muttered her name disgustedly, somehow dig up that scoundrel (who by now has sensed my irritation and snuck under my bed), carry her to the doorway, and let her relocate to the hallway while I shut off access to our bedroom. And now that I have moved around the room, even fished under my bed in the dark, do I stay up? No. I crawl back under warm, downy goodness. All for five minutes of peace (five minutes that I can't actually sleep because of all that blood-moving activity). You'd think I wouldn't mind staying up. So what if I got up at 6:30? After all, while teaching in Minnesota, I had to be on the road by 6:30 AM to commute to my district. Those of you thinking I'm foolish for crawling back into bed, that I should just appreciate the quiet solitude of my house in the morning, are probably right. But you have no idea how hard it is to resist the call of wanna-be down.

So in the altered words of her namesake, "Lord, give my owners the ability to wake peacefully, but not yet."