Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Katie's easel

Despite our general malaise over the 49ers loss, everything is officially back to normal in our household. Anthony made it back from Vegas, exhausted and hoarse but otherwise fine. I'm washing the secondhand-cigarette-smoke "Vegas funk" out of his clothes right now. Katie had a minor meltdown when he came back, and I have a weird feeling she'd been saving up all of her sad feelings about him being gone. Well, she let us have it - LOUDLY - for about 20 minutes yesterday. I just held her and walked with her and let her scream it all out. Boy, was she mad! But after she was done crying, all was forgiven and we went back to our normal routine.

But before Anthony's return yesterday, I had to deal with something I'd been dreading for weeks: my turn for snack duty at Katie's pre-preschool. Snack duty is kind of a big deal. You have to bring four separate choices for the kids, plus a snack for the grownups. Everything has to be nut-free, of course, even though I'm pretty sure none of the kids has allergies. Pretty much every week, the kid whose parent's job it is to make snack has a total meltdown because the snack parent disappears into the kitchen and pretty much stays there the entire class. I wondered, what is involved with snack prep that it takes 45 minutes to set up and 45 minutes to clean up?

Turns out, it just takes a really long time. First you have to unload the dishwasher that was run by the previous class. That's fine, except I ended up opening every single drawer and cabinet, trying to figure out where everything goes. Which takes quite a bit of time! Then I could only find two of the serving trays we normally use, and after searching high and low, realized that there *are* only two even though there are three trays to prepare. The third tray is a flimsy piece of plastic that looks like it was meant to be disposable. Anyway, I somehow figured out where all the dishes went, filled the three trays with goldfish crackers, blueberries, blackberries and shredded cheese, filled three pitchers with water (hope tap was OK, because I didn't know if the bottled water was for our class or not), cut 15 or so croissants in half for the adults and tossed them into a serving basket, and started making trips to the classroom. Four trips later and I thought I had it made.

Teacher Donna asked me if snack was all ready, and I said yes. I tried to get Katie right into line for hand washing, so we could avoid the crowd that quickly forms, but she suddenly got very interested in putting a dolly on a swing set in the playhouse. By the time we got her hands washed, Teacher Donna said something like, "Here, Katie, can you share this towel with Mommy? You guys need to get inside to help with snack!" Oh, I guess I'm not supposed to be out here washing my kid's hands. Oops. Inside the snack room, the tables hadn't been sanitized because someone forgot to put the sanitizer back on its usual shelf. Great. So I couldn't put out the food. Then, once someone found the sanitizer and started cleaning, the president of the school said, "Kim, did you want me to grab the plates for you?" OMG, plates!! Dang it, I thought I'd remembered everything. I even remembered napkins for the grownups and a brown paper bag for composting. Gaaaah! I told the president "Yes, THANK YOU!!!" and she totally saved my bacon by dashing to the kitchen to get the plates. All in all, it went fine, but it sure wasn't easy!

The most amazing and wonderful part, though, is that Katie was SUPER AWESOME the whole time and didn't even miss me. Lucky for us, the easel was set up with lots of paints. One of the moms told me that Katie painted the entire morning while I was making snack! (Again, her clothes are rock-solid proof.) At one point, as I was dashing from the snack room back to the kitchen, I managed to snap a picture of her, mid-stroke:

See? She couldn't care less what Mama's up to, when there are paints around!
Teacher Donna was sitting nearby, helping with another project, and I leaned in and said, "That settles it, we're buying Katie an easel tomorrow!" She laughed and said "Yes, she really loves to paint!" So today, that's just what we did. We went back to the local school supply store, armed with a 15% coupon, and bought their double-sided easel. It barely fit in the car! Setting up an unassembled easel with the help of a 2 year old was no small feat. I truly don't know how I managed it! The guy at the store said, "Oh, it's easy, it just goes together with these small wing nuts." True, it did - but keeping said wing nuts out of your toddler's mouth while holding the two legs of the easel and the chalkboard surface together at the same time...I don't know how I did it. But I did. And Katie is enthralled with it. So far, since it's set up indoors, we're only doing crayons (washable ones!) But as soon as the weather improves, I can't wait to buy a bunch of paints!!! Wheeeeeeeeee!

First crayon masterpiece!


  1. Man, wife of the year and now mother of the year. You are cleaning up in the awards this week! An easel, so cool. Ours are begging for one, but since I am not mother of the year, it hasn't happened.

    Snack sounds very complicated at your preschool. 4 choices? Wow! And one for the adults! I content myself with picking crumbs off of Super Baby's shirt when I am helping in her mommy and me class. Dang, now I am jealous and want a croissant.....

    1. Hey, as far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with taping a piece of newsprint on the wall and letting 'em have at it. But with Katie, I knew she'd spend 30 seconds drawing on the paper and then discover the walls are WAY more fun! So it had to be an easel. No mother of the year, just trying to keep my walls relatively crayon-free. :)

      It IS complicated!!!! Way too complicated, if you ask me. But thank goodness there's adult snack, because often I find that I've forgotten to eat in my haste to get Katie out the door in time for school. And guess who got to take home the leftover croissants? ME!! YUMMM! Wish I could send you one!