Monday, April 14, 2008

Weekend in review – Friday – grief and screeching

It was actually Thursday afternoon that we received the news that Ms. Yolanda was suddenly fired from E and L's daycare. Yolanda has a special place in our hearts for being the teacher that navigated E through the rocky world of a one-year-old. She took E into her class as a crawling baby who couldn't speak, had never slept on a cot, and couldn't sit still to eat. She sent her away from her class firmly when she turned two – firmly because she knew E was ready to move up; but also firmly because E was so attached to her she would never voluntarily leave her. E still couldn't sit still to eat, but she could speak in chapters and slept just fine for naps on a cot, especially as Yolanda visited her new classroom each day at 12:30 lovingly to tuck her in and kiss her sweet dreams for several weeks after she transitioned to the older class. But Yolanda, a single mom with two school-age kids, had been late to work too many days, and was let go. E loves Yolanda and speaks about her all the time, and we were very much looking forward to the day that L graduated to her class and benefited from her love and teaching, too. E sometimes refers to her daycare as 'Landa's house and if you ask her who loves her she'll say Mommy and Daddy and L and 'Landa and then maybe concede to adding other names to the list, like her grandparents or classmates. She doesn't see 'Landa every day anymore, and thus far has not noticed her absence, but we know she truly loves her. We haven't told her anything yet because she'll be devastated. And we don't really know what to say. Yolanda's departure marks the real loss E will feel in her life. But – a flurry of angry commiseration among Yolanda's fan club members led to an impromptu afternoon picnic on Friday at a nearby playground. It was in the 80s on Friday. I cut out of work a little early, M picked up L at daycare and took her home, and I took E to the playground to run around with her friends before Shabbat started. I had used my lunch hour to pick up a few snacks to bring, and I also bought sidewalk chalk, which was a big hit – and E was so proud to be the owner of so much fun in a box. Mama, I carry my ch'lawk! I carry my ch'lawk by my SELF. She displayed her Communist tendencies again and spat out the tiny bite she had tried of an Entenmann's chocolate chip cookie. And then. She saw it. The Big Slide. The one with a really tall ladder, a purple climbing armature alternate access route, and a tunnel. And she was thrilled and scared all at once. Her more courageous friends SMA and Gus were up and over and down a dozen times before she was ready to try, but she had a determined look on her face, and I knew she was going to get up there. Not content to take the ladder path, E set her little feet on the big purple climbing route, the one with the bars spaced waaaay-toooo-far for her little two-year-old-girl legs. Mama, I climb this purple by myself and you hold my tushie, okay? And with a few vertical encouragements from my hand under her butt while she climbed "by herself," that obstinate little creature made it to the top of the slide, the hard way. And expressed her excitement at her accomplishment in her most instinctive way, by yelling as loudly as she could. And, oh, the reverberations from the inside of the tunnel. My friends, the parents of E's friends, having seen her abilities before they only smiled knowingly, thinking probably about how E wears her emotions on her vocal chords, how much spunk she has, how she overcame her trepidation, and how glad they are that their children aren't that loud. But the other families at the park, the strangers whose space we had invaded, the actual neighbors to this neighborhood gathering place – they looked horrified. And then probably began texting their HMOs to sign up for audial screenings so they can sue me for damages. Once E made that terrific noise all of her friends had to try screaming inside the slide tunnel. Audrey screamed. Son-son screamed. Limmy-Liam screamed, Gus screamed, and oh, SMA, did he scream. So – sorry, locals. But our kids had a great time crashing your party. And to my friends – I'll buy the first round of hearing aid batteries.
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