Friday, November 4, 2011

New Thing #63: A return to the Early Years Centre

Dear Reader: I feel fair to warn you that I am writing this post with a very large glass of wine in my hand. So any mistakes I make are entirely the fault of these fermented grapes from Chile. It has just been that kind of day. And don't lecture me about how I grew up in the middle of wine country and yet I'm drinking something from far away. Daddy bought the wine. Go blame him.

The LP were in what I like to call "Rah Rah Wreck The Place" mode today ("rah rah wreck the place" is a song we used to sing back in university. I've never heard anyone else sing it but it was used either when someone was being a drunken buffoon and stumbling around or when someone was being a drunken buffoon and destroying your stuff. Great tune). They just got into absolutely everything. I felt like it was their mission today to completely destroy every room of our house. It wasn't just toys being dragged everywhere; they pulled things out of drawers, they pulled things out of closets and off of shelves. Baking soda was strewn across the floor. The piano bench got flipped over, cutting LP2's chin in the process. Books were off the shelves. It was ongoing, continual chaos. And for some reason, I hear Grandad's voice in my head saying it is wonderful to see children that are curious and interested in the world and active (probably because he has said this before) and I think about giving the LP all the Hallowe'en candy in the house and sending them to him for awhile. Oh Grandad, I wouldn't do that to you. Your son, on the other hand, would.

So what I'm trying to say is that the LP were bursting with energy today. LP1 asked if we could go back to the Early Years Centre so she could paint another picture. I thought a change of scene, with different toys and lots of other kids would be just what they needed. But seeing as we had already done that as a New Thing, I thought we could go to a different one and try to pass that off as our New Thing for today. Long story short, the one that is allegedly near our house is a total fiction and we ended up going back to the main on. HOWEVER, the LP did completely different things while we were there this time SO IT COUNTS AS THE NEW THING, OKAY?

We arrived and went to the infants area first. The LP immediately busied themselves with blocks, noisemakers and other jumping on the soft gymnastic-style mats. LP2 was intrigued by the different things hanging from the ceiling and kept stopping what he was doing to point them out to me.

This photo doesn't do it justice, but this "sky" motif was very well done. Sun and clouds dangled from the ceiling and held LP's attention throughout our time there.

LP1 really wanted to paint so we went into the room for older kids. Quite frankly, being in this room today made me feel very rage-y. And it wasn't because of the kids in was more to do with their parents. They were so unbelievably rude! I shouldn't generalize...not all of the parents in there were...but the majority were. They would push small kids out of the way to make sure their precious darling got whatever toy they wanted. One mother was sitting in the middle of the kitchen centre. Just sitting. So that when other kids wanted to sit at the table she was at, they couldn't. Lady, you're a grown woman sitting at a child-sized table. That children want to play at. MOVE IT. At one point, some grandmother took a toy away from LP2 to give it to her grandchild. I did not notice this until much later but it still makes me angry. No regard for little people at all. A lady stepped on LP1's painting (more on the painting in a moment). And I know she saw it. She just didn't care. It was a madhouse in there.

Don't get me wrong. We had fun. I made sure LP1 was able to do her painting because she remembered doing it last time we were there and it was obviously important to her.

Another masterpiece! I like her bold use of colour. Well, that and the fact that it made her happy, too.

The LP were drawn to the music centre and it wasn't long before they had busted out the shakers, the cowbell and the drum and were making beautiful sounds. They definitely have Daddy's love for music. This area probably held their attention the longest. I think LP2's favourite part was playing with the vacuum cleaner in the creative play area that is set up to look like a kitchen. I don't know if I've mentioned it before but he absolutely LOVES ours. Sometimes if I need to keep him occupied so I can do something, I will pull out the vacuum. He is so captivated by it that I can run down to the basement, put a load of clothes in the wash, fold whatever it is in the dryer, put it away and come back to find him still playing with the vacuum.

I witnessed LP1 doing some reasoning today. The LP were playing at the seasonal area. It is a table full of whatever is going on. So today it had pine cones, leaves, gourds, pumpkins, dirt to dig in and some spiders.

BEHOLD! The Seasonal Area! A must-do for the tactile kid.

The table is rather high and LP1 was having a hard time reaching the top to dig in the dirt. She looked around and suddenly walked away. I wasn't sure where she was going but she walked over to a where a small stool was resting against the wall, picked it up and brought it over to the table so she could stand on it to see over the top. I was impressed by this. Another mother (one of the good ones, not a pushy one) said to me "that was really good use of logic", so I think I'm justified in bragging about it.

We made the rounds through the various areas and then it was "Gathering Time". We went into a room with all the other parents and children and sat in a circle. I assume it was time for songs and stories but we didn't get past the first song. LP2 was into it and clapping his hands but LP1 wanted nothing to do with this gathering. She didn't want to sing and she didn't want to clap her hands and she wanted no part of being in the circle. We left. It was just as well because the grandfather sitting beside me was speaking either Cantonese or Mandarin to his grandson very loudly, practically in my ear.

Which reminds me...if you read the post about our last visit, I think you will remember Chinese Grandparents Who Got Into A Screaming Match and Grandma Took Off. It was epic and it was wonderful. I was delighted to see them there again today! Unfortunately, they appeared to be getting on quite well together so there would be no repeat fireworks. Double unfortunately, they had brought a stuffed dog on a leash for their grandson and kept stretching it across from one another. At one point, they nearly clotheslined LP1. Am I the only one who thinks that a crowded room full of children is no place for you to hold one end of a stuffed dog on a leash and your spouse to hold the other, halfway across the room? No? Maybe I'm just the one who thinks people do stupid things sometimes.

We left the too-busy room and returned to the infants area for awhile before leaving. The LP had the room to themselves and seemed to relish the quiet. They played for awhile before LP1 announced that she was hungry and I caught LP2 rubbing his eyes. I thought about getting them a quick snack from the snack room but when I peered in, there were 2 screaming children in there, a mother giving her baby a bottle and another mother feeding her three kids in highchairs a feast from McDonalds. I decided it was time to get outta there.

LP2 fell asleep on the way home. As we were pulling into the driveway, LP1 said "that was a great time, Mommy". 

Sometimes that is all I need to hear.

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