A few blocks away from the school Lisa works at is a Methodist church that has a daycare and preschool program. Once the kids get old enough or Crazy Grandma and Lazy Grandpa get tired enough, we are going to enroll the kids into the church's preschool program.
In order to secure a place for the kids, the school director mentioned that children who are a part of the parent-toddler program have a secured place in their preschool. I was hoping the natural charm and personality of our kids would be enough, but alas it is not. So this summer, Lisa enrolled the kids into this parent-toddler program.
Yesterday was the first day of class. On Thursday night, we prepped the kids by telling them they're going to school. Strangely with no concept of what school is, Emma and Andrew started smiling and dancing as if they were excited. I calmed them down and explained to them that while school is potentially a great institution of learning, it is also a place of violence, verbal abuse, social and sexual ridicule, and a caste system that can either breed success or an abyss of failure and destitution. For some reason, the kids stopped dancing.
Overall, the kids really enjoyed themselves at school. There was no crying and no bleeding (unless you count Lisa's time of the month). The class is made of twelve toddlers from 22 months to 3 years old. Oddly, six out of the twelve kids are Asian which makes it really difficult because at the end of the day all of the Asian parents are trying to figure out which kid to bring home.
Instead of babbling on about Emma's and Andrew's first day of school, let me present some photos of this momentous day with some descriptions!
The first thing Emma and Andrew were drawn to was the fish aquarium. At home, we decorated their bedroom with an underwater theme so they know what fish are. The teacher aide let the kids feed the fish some food that was sprinkled into some mini wooden chalices. Emma did a good job feeding the fish; Andrew dropped the chalice into the aquarium. I reprimanded Andrew sternly by saying, "Jesus Christ! What the hell did you do, boy?"
Andrew's fascination with cars directed him towards a play rug with an assortment of cars, trucks, and trains. Although Andrew understands the difference between the names of vehicles, he calls them all "caaars." For instance, if you show him a picture with a bunch of vehicles and ask him to point to the train, he will point to it. But if he sees a train, he will say it is a "car." If you ask him to point to a wheelchair, he will point to it. But if he sees a wheelchair, he will say it is an "invalid mobile."
Thanks to Crazy Grandma Ichikawa, before Emma started playing in the kitchen area she had to pretend to wash her hands. Crazy Grandma is very happy that she has taught Emma to be neat and clean. Yet I will say for every time that Emma cleans her hands, she has also put her hand down her diaper getting her poop in her fingernails. Who's happy now, Crazy Grandma?
Emma continued to play in the kitchen with an assortment of plastic foods. I truly believe that we raised Emma and Andrew the exact same way (i.e. with inattentiveness), but I'm amazed at how each of them have gravitated towards stereotypically gender specific toys: Andrew with cars, and Emma with dolls and kitchen items. Although it doesn't explain why Andrew plays with Lisa's make-up, and Emma plays with my jock straps.
Another word that Andrew loves to say is "ball." Here he is playing with a basketball set-up. The basketball he was playing with was as big as his face, so I tried to explain to Andrew that he was playing with a big ball. After repeating it to him several times, he finally responded to me by pointing to my crotch and saying, "No balls."
After 45 minutes of indoor play and 15 minutes of singing time, the next 30 minutes of the day is outdoor play. I was shocked to find that only after several minutes, Emma climbed to the top of the large playground set and went down the slide. Ever since a baby, Emma always enjoyed the sense of motion much more than Andrew. She was the baby who had to be rocked and bounced to sleep, and she's the toddler who laughs a lot more when thrown into the air. Although it's not so funny when she is thrown accidentally into the ceiling.
Eventually, Andrew also made his way up to the slide and went down. He was a little more cautious than Emma which I think is a good thing. He is definitely not a wimp, but he has many years ahead of him to aspire to the heights of wimpiness that his Dad possesses.
After playing outside, the kids went inside, washed up, and had snack. Lisa said it was a little embarrassing because while all of the other kids got up from their chairs to play, Emma and Andrew were the last ones because they kept on eating. Andrew kept on eating crackers, and Emma was taking other kid's cups of milk.
Although I was a little hesitant about this summer class, the kids did seem to have a good time, and it's probably a good idea to have them socialize with other children. No offense to Crazy Grandma and Lazy Grandpa, but when your 21 month year old children have interests that range from arthritis to denture cream, I think it's time to get some kids thrown into the mix.