Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The time that Oscar's school lost him and they kind of lied to me about it but eventually told the truth

You guys, I can't believe I have not told you this story!  I had to dig back through my archives to make sure, but nope, I did not tell you about that one time Oscar's school lost him and they kind of fibbed about what happened and then the next day told me the whole truth and apologized profusely.

So, this incident happened on St. Patrick's Day (this is important), so way back when in March.  During lunch bunch (LB), Oscar ate his lunch and then promptly fell asleep (the LB room shared spaced with the library, which had a rug and lots of pillows.)  He's fallen asleep during LB a couple of times, usually when he gets up too early or stays up late the night before.  He is a child who needs is 12 hours.

Anyway, so LB is an hour long; they eat lunch for 30 minutes and then they go outside to the playground for 30 minutes, or into the gymnasium if the weather is poor.  This particular day, the weather was fantastic.  So fantastic that the kids did not even need jackets, so probably in the 60s at least.

Okay, so flash forward to my pick up of Oscar.  I parked along the back of the playground per usual and hopped out of the car to snatch up my boy.  One of the teachers, Mrs. B, came over with Oscar and gave me his bag and said to me something like (I do not recall her exact, exact words, but this is the gist), "Oscar fell asleep during lunch bunch today, but when he woke up, Mrs. T [the director of the school] brought him out to the playground."

Now, I thought this was a little strange.  As I've said before, Oscar has fallen asleep during LB on other occasions and they always wake him up to take him outside or to the gym or whatever.  It seemed a little off to me that they'd leave my 3.5-year-old asleep and unattended in the LB room.  Now, Mrs. T's office is right across from the LB room so I thought, "Maybe they asked Mrs. T to watch him? Maybe he would not wake up?" But it would be strange for Oscar not to wake up; he's good about that.

So I'm quickly thinking all these things, but I also have Miles and Benji in the car behind me and while they are only a few yards away and not going to perish in these two minutes I'm taking to grab Oscar, I really don't like leaving them and I'm feeling rushed to get back to them, so I just say, "Oh, okay, thanks," and hustle Oscar to the car.

Once I have Oscar strapped in, I begin grilling him.

"So, you fell asleep during lunch bunch?"


"Do you feel okay?"


"What happened when you woke up?"

"Everyone was gone, and Mrs. T. heard me turning a doorknob and brought me outside."

"Was the door to the lunch bunch room closed?" (?!?!?!?)


"What doorknob were you turning, buddy?"


"Were you afraid when you woke up and everyone was gone?"

"Yeah, I was a little bit nervous."

"But then Mrs. T got you and took you outside and you feel fine?"

"Yes and I played and played!"


After this conversation it still was not very clear to me what happened and I decide to talk with Mrs. T myself in the morning to try and get to the bottom of things.  I mean, clearly Oscar was fine, but I just wanted to know what happened, and to let them know that I was not comfortable with them leaving him asleep in the lunch bunch room by himself.  I was not angry or anything, but that's just not okay and I wanted to be clear with them that it was not okay.

The next morning I take Oscar in for drop off and before I got a chance to go visit with Mrs. T, another of the teachers, Mrs. W, came up to me and said, "Can I speak with you in private for a moment?  We had an incident with Oscar yesterday and I just want to clarify what what exactly happened."

This made me nervous.  Before she and I even started talking, I knew that what I had been told had happened, had not really happened, and that made sense to me because really, they would never have left a kid unattended, even if he were sleeping.  Their whole job is to attend to him (and the other kids); they would not just leave him.  Of course not.

So, nervous.

"As you know, we had an incident with Oscar yesterday and I just wanted to make sure you know exactly what happened."


"Oscar was feeling sleepy during lunch bunch, so he went over to the pillows and took a nap. We woke him up when it was time to go out to the playground and he got at the end of the line.  I was leading the line out to the playground and Mrs. B was at the back of the line.  Before we got outside, she had to turn around because we forgot someone's bag.  When she got back out and we counted the kids, one was missing."


And the Mrs. W (who also has a daughter in Oscar's class) started tearing up.

"Yes, but we did not know he was the one who was missing because.."

"All the kids were wearing green because of St. Patrick's Day."

"Right, so we couldn't immediately tell who was gone.  Mrs. B when back in to find him and he was with Mrs. T and Mrs. H (who is Oscar's teacher).  When Oscar saw Mrs. B turn around to get the bag, he must have followed her and slipped into the bathroom.  She never even knew he was back there, and he had not finished before she came out again.  Then she put down the bag and we did the count and were missing one.  She came right back in.  He was only lost for a minute."

Here is where I finally realized that there was a period of time where no on in the world knew where my child was and what he was doing.

"So, he was alone."

"Yes, only for a few minutes.  When Mrs. B told me what she told you, I just felt sick about it; I'm so sorry.  I'm so, so sorry.  I have little ones too and I know you trust us with them..."

She felt so bad, and I felt so bad.

"It's okay."

"No, it's really not."

"I know, but I understand.  He can be so quiet, and he slips away so easily.  He was probably confused because he'd just woken up and though he was following Mrs. B to the bathroom.  It happens. He is okay."

We made these noises for a few more minutes and I left.  I'm not sure why I was not livid with her for losing my kid.  Maybe because I know she's a mom too and I could tell how awful she felt, or maybe because he really was okay and it's not like they were being neglectful; it was an accident.

At pick up that day, I let the boys play in the playground for a while, and the director, Mrs. T, came out to talk to me as well.

"I heard a doorknob rattling and I came out to check and he was standing at the end of the hallway.  At the same time Mrs H saw his bunny poking around the corner and said to [the fours teacher] 'I think that's one of my little guys.'"

"Thank you for finding him."

"No, I'm just sorry it happened.  I want you to know we've changed how we do the count so this won't happen again. We're now counting them before they go out and again once they are outside."

"That's good, I'm glad to hear that. It's okay; he can slip away like that."

"Mrs. H said he's usually does not."

"I talked to him about it yesterday, and he seemed okay." [Before I really knew what happened, of course.]

"He was pretty nervous when I found him.  He was chewing on his bunny's paw."

"Was he crying?"

"No, but he was upset."

We chatted for a few more moments and then that was that.  All in all, I think everything is fine.  These things happen and the school took steps to ensure that it would not happen again.  I'm happy with that resolution.  Oscar and I talked about it a little more, and I made sure he knew that he should tell someone if he is going to the bathroom, and should never go off by himself.

What seems weird to me is that Mrs. B kind of lied to me when she told me what happened that first day.  Or, at the very least omitted certain key facts.  And I guess I should be really angry about this, but honestly I just chalk it up to human nature.  She was nervous and she felt responsible.  She either did not want me to be angry or did not want to get into trouble, so she misconstrued the facts.  I'm not happy about that, but I don't think she is a bad person or even a bad teacher.  On the contrary; she's great with the kids and Oscar loves her.  He trusts her; that's why he followed her back into the school.

I guess I should have address the lying issue with Mrs. T, but I just really felt like they knew what had happened and they would take care of it appropriately, even though a small part of me wants to know how they resolved things with Mrs. B.  They probably would not have told me that even if I had asked.

That's the whole story right there.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Yesterday, my super special guy turned four.  Four!  Four seems big.  Four seems closer to "little boy" than to "baby" or even "toddler." He's a kid now.

We had a pretty marvelous day, punctuated by his favorite things (cinnamon toast, brownies, Scooby Doo, his new Leapster 2).  It was busy and fun, just like Oscar.

I remain eternally grateful for this kid.  He's smart, witty, funny.  And that's at four!  I could get all mushy now, recalling Oscar's birth, how I caught him, delivered him into my own hands, how that moment forever changed everything, how in that moment I knew that being his mom was the most important thing I would ever do.  I can still remember the way he felt, warm and slimy and like home.

Happy fourth birthday, Oscar Dominic.  I'm so honored to be your mom.  I love you, buddy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Conversations with a preschooler: Free range food

Jenni: So, Oscar, what do you want for your birthday dinner next week?

Oscar: Uhhh....

Jenni: It's your birthday so we can have your favorite dinner.

Oscar: Chocolate spiders!

Jenni: Chocolate spiders are not for dinner.  We can have those for dessert. What do you want for dinner?

Oscar: dogs?

Jenni: Okay, hot dogs. What about some asparagus?

Oscar: Oh, yeah, I love asparagus.

Jenni: Anything else?

Oscar: Uhhhh...could we go to a farm?

Jenni: For your birthday?

Oscar: A farm that has chickens on it?  Dead chickens.  And we could get a dead chicken and take it home and cook it for dinner.

Jenni: You want to go to a chicken farm and get a chicken to make for your birthday dinner?

Oscar: Yes!  A dead chicken.

Jenni: Okay, well I'll see if I can find a free range chicken farm around here so we can get a fresh chicken, but if not can I just buy a chicken at the store and cook that for your birthday dinner?

Oscar: A dead chicken?

Jenni: Yes, Oscar! A dead chicken!  Who cooks a live chicken?!

Oscar: I don't know, but that would not be a good idea.

Jenni: No, it would not.

Kids are funny

Have you ever seen the Disney/Pixar movie Cars?  This question is probably moot, but I ask because I know some of you (my IRL friends) who read regularly do not have kids and even though this movie is several years old, I did not see Cars until Oscar was almost two-years-old.  I had this whole thing before having kids where I didn't watch kids movies because I knew when I had kids I would be watching the hell out of kids movies and I wanted to keep them fresh.

(This was a good decision, by the way.)

Anyways, if you have small kids you've likely seen Cars and if you have small boys you have almost definitely seen this movie, probably a few hundred times.

My kids love this movie.  Both of them.  We have cars shirts and hats and toys and stickers and temporary tattoos.  And it's a nice movie with no real violence and a good, heartwarming message.  I guess it was intended to target the NASCAR parents, and while I'm not one of those, I still really like this movie and it's not about NASCAR or anything.  And I actually kind of dig the soundtrack, which is kind of surprising to me because it's country music and I don't really dig country music.

Okay, so anyways, this post is only partially about the movie. It's mostly about Miles' reaction to a certain part of the movie.  If you have never seen the movie, you are going to be totally lost here.

There is this scene where Mater is "watching" McQueen in the evening and they go out "tractor tipping." The tractors are basically cows - they moo, and walk slow, and graze pastures, and stampede.  So, when a car want so to "tip" a sleeping tractor, the car honks it's horn to startle the tractor, as demonstrated to McQueen by Mater.  Well, since McQueen is a race car, he does not have a horn but Mater teases McQueen until he figures out a way to tip the tractors.  What McQueen does, is rev his engine rally loud and it causes the whole entire pasture of tractors to moo and tip.

So, this is a pretty loud scene with the horn honking and the engine revving, and the funny thing is, every time we watch this movie, when this scene comes on, Miles scrambles in my lap and ever time Mater honks and McQueen revs his engine, Miles starts.  The little guy jumps out of his shoes! And he loves it!  He giggles every time.  It's just so funny to me, how he know it's coming every time, and every time it still startles him, and how much he loves the thrill of feeling startled.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Here it is the groove slightly transformed.

Man, I would know summertime anywhere by the seemingly endless loads of beach towels and bathing suits.  I'm doing at least four extra loads a week and I'm not even complaining.  Oscar's got school for another week, and PS isn't out until next Friday, so we're not in full effect yet, but we're working it.

Other summertime indicators: water in the sand and water table; grilling out every night; Popsicles by the box; the hum of our window units.  Oh, and you do not want to challenge me to a watermelon eating contest.  Also, the steamy, muggy days and ridiculous mosquitoes that come with summertime in a swamp.  It's cool, though, we've got a sprinkler and bug spray.  You cannot get us down, DC summer!

We had a couple of hot, hot, hot ones last week, where the temps were in the upper 90s.  That's really hot for these parts this early in the year.  I don't know that my tomatoes will recover.  I watered them and watered them, but I think the water evaporated before it even reached the soil.  I've been watering them like crazy since then and they were looking better, until I just watered them today and they now look worse than ever (too much water?).  Especially sad as we had a ton of green cherry tomatoes, lots of plum tomatoes, and tons and tons of blossoms on the beefsteak.  If they die we still have time to put more in, though, so I'm trying to remain optimistic, even though there are going to be two more scorchers this week.

So, I'm fairly certain I'm going to have to start toilet training Miles William this summer.  I'm not looking forward to that, although I am looking forward to not having to change and wash diapers anymore.  Eye on the prize, eye on the prize.

Lets, see, lets see.  Lots of summer plans in the works.  We've got birthday parties out the wazoo, including Oscar's fourth.  We're planning a trip to visit Becky and her family next month and that should be awesome; a potential vacation to Vermont in early August, and then our annual family Outer Banks beach vacation at the end of the summer.  And of course lots and lots of trips to the pool.  Oscar's also taking swim lessons and Tae Kwon Do, and has two weeks of summer camp in July, and probably a regular playgroup with his classmates, so it's going to be a busy one.

We are just doing the thing here, kicking it summer style.  Whatcha got going on?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Little sommelier

Scene: Oscarelli family living room, this afternoon, after preschool pick-up

Oscar: Oh, no!

Jenni: What's up?

Oscar: I forgot my thing?

Jenni: Your thing?

Oscar: My thing that smells like lemons.  I forgot it at school.

Jenni: Thing that smells like lemons? Thing that smells like lemons.

A light bulb goes of over Jenni's head.  

Jenni: The wine cork.  You mean the wine cork.  You took the wine cork to school.

Oscar: The thing that smells like lemons*.

Jenni: You left it at school.

Oscar: I guess.

Jenni: [sighs] You left a wine cork at your school.

Oscar: Yep

Jenni: Oh, Oscar.

Oscar wanders off. End scene.

*To be fair, that Chardonnay bled did have citrus notes.