My Fresh Hell
Life in Scribbletown.

For Real!

2005-01-27
Yesterday my husband and I went to Dusty’s preschool to meet with her teacher. It was parent/teacher conference time and, yes, they do that at preschools now. At least, they do it at this one. Dusty got glowing reviews and is apparently not only very bright but very popular. Her teacher said that the kids gravitate to Dusty the moment she arrives. When she’s sick, they ask when she’ll be back. I never thought I’d have a popular kid, being the opposite of that myself. I was always the shyest kid, slow to warm up and had trouble in groups (still do but I hide it better). I’m not a big fan of crowds. I’m an INTJ, for you Meyers-Briggs enthusiasts.

Dusty has always been an outgoing kid, especially as a baby. She’s the kid NOT having a temper tantrum in public, the one who enjoys going to the grocery store or shopping. Me? While I liked the grocery store, I hated shopping with my mother who is clothes obsessed and cannot pass a rack of clothes without reaching out and touching it. Doesn’t matter what’s on the rack, she’s got to touch it. I find malls overwhelming and have never been a browser. I go in with a mission and leave as soon as it’s accomplished. But Dusty? She likes to look at everything. And has a million questions, most of which begin, “What if?”

Her evaluation says, Dusty “enjoys expressing herself vocally and through her artwork.” Boy, I’ll say. The kid never shuts up. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing—it’s not – but, as a raving introvert, I find the constant chatter difficult to deal with after, say, ten minutes. “She is always willing to share and has stories to tell me about various things,” the evaluation continues. Nothing’s a secret with four year olds. The teacher has heard all about Dusty’s country adventures, from her favorite feral cat “Little Scrappy” to the new fence to the neighbors to Red’s development to the small family cemetery she discovered recently on the drive to school. “There’s just bones in there right?” “Right.” “And they’re dead.” “Yes.” “What if they weren’t?” “Then the skeletons would probably knock on the coffins to be let out.” “Really?” “I don’t know.” “What’s a coffin?” “A box to put a dead person in before you bury them.” What’s ‘buried’?” Etc….

Red is also on the move. She’s mastering crawling (backwards) and can pivot herself into a sitting position. She’s very proud of her new abilities. The crawling, though, is not yet perfected. She’ll get up on hands and knees and see-saw for a minute or two…..and then crash down onto her face. This does not please her in the slightest. She hasn’t yet figured out how to move her arms in concert with her legs. I predict she’ll have it down pat next month.

The downside to all this activity has meant that, at night, Red has become nostalgic for her newborn days and wakes up at 2am and 5am hungry. So, the sleep deprivation cycle starts again. I’m really not loving it. The only good thing about it is that I can get her up at the first stirrings, feed her for about 10 minutes, which is usually all she needs to fall back to sleep, and put her back to bed. So, generally I get a couple hours of sleep here and there. Enough so that I’m not falling asleep behind the wheel of my car. Yet.

In case you’re keeping track – I will write more about The Divorce but so much has been going on in the FreshHell household lately that I wanted to document it before I forgot it.

And somehow I’ve got to get my stories straight because Dusty actually said the other night, “So angels aren’t real but the tooth fairy is, right?” Um, yeah, right. Shit. It’s not that I want to lie, but I also (see the Santa Claus entry back in December) want her to retain a bit of the magic in life. Santa is real – and we’ll eventually discuss, when she’s old enough, the meaning of “real” in this context – and the Tooth Fairy brings gifts in exchange for teeth (and now that I think about it, this is very strange, very Medieval, very Hansel and Gretel and kinda creepy like the book, “The Runaway Bunny”), but I just can’t bring myself to say that anything smacking of religion is in any way real. Except in a generalized, “People invented it so, as a concept, it’s real because it exists in their minds, but there is no actually old bearded man in the sky watching us.” Except for Santa, of course. The whole thing is one circuitous nightmare of illogic. I’m screaming on the inside so as not to alarm Red, who is devouring a cloth book behind me.

So, am I just a big liar? I guess I don’t really care in a way. It’s really hard to explain things to children in a way they’ll understand without stripping away everything that smacks of fantasy. Dusty keeps me on my toes and there’s no time to ponder, “What IS my position on the Tooth Fairy? How do ogres feature in my daily life? What WOULD happen if skeletons were alive?” You kind of make it up as you go. Which is probably why we’re all fucked up. I guess Dusty can take it up with her analyst one day and blame her ennui and confusion on me. I’ll accept the blame. As long as there’s beer in the house, I can take it.

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9:33 a.m. ::
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