I've talked before about how long it's taken me to get used to the cooperative preschool model. This year, one of the ways I've managed is by being the parent helper on the days the class goes on a field trip. We get to school, we review the rules, we pile into the cars, we hike around the nature center, we come back, we have snack, and we're done. It's the best parent helping day ever!
But eventually I had to volunteer for a day that wasn't a field trip. So, last week, there I was. I got there a little bit early and spent the time getting the scholastic book order forms ready for all the kids. Then, when the teacher arrived, and we got settled, she asked me to make Antarctica. Yes, you read that right, Antarctica. The kids have been learning about Antarctic and Arctic habitats, and their water table has been turned into a container filled with artificial snow (it's not cold, it doesn't melt, it smells like coconut oil, and it's the result of some strange chemical reaction--bizarre). She wanted me to make an Antarctica for them to put their animals on when they played there. Oh, and also, could I make the Arctic circle and the equator? Which is how I found myself covered in paint and trying to figure out a way to simulate the the equator using a cardboard tube and make a continent out of tupperware based on pictures I pulled up on my smart phone.
THEN, I was instructed to run to the hardware store across the street, buy some hooks, and come back and install them for the kids' coats as part of a new check-in routine. I ended up doing it by hand because I couldn't get the electric drill work and I barely had time to finish before it was time to rush in and cut up the apples and oranges and fill the bowls with goldfish for snack. As it was, I filled and ran and J ended up getting everything else ready on his own...which he LOVED! My first child is a quintessential first child: he likes to be in charge. Me? I left school with a cramp in my hand and paint on my elbow and a new plan to parent help on other days more often, because who knows what I will end up doing? Today, Antarctica. Tomorrow, the world!
(PS, because I am a huge nerd and have a hard time ignoring teachers who tell me what to do even when they are not MY teachers, I went home and dreamed up a better way to make the ice continent and today I came back in with a MUCH better structure made out of Styrofoam and cotton batting. Much, MUCH better. Do I get extra credit??)