Yesterday, for the fourth week straight, Henry was kicked out of the church nursery.
But wait. Before I get in to that breaking news, I need to clear up something from my last post, or rather - the comments from my last post.
I'm not sure if I've written about it before, but the primary function of my job - other than managing soil and groundwater assessment and remediation projects (i.e., cleaning up the environment), is to make sure that the people who are out there cleaning up the environment (and staying within budget) are doing it safely. There's no doubt I spend more time attending meetings on safety and participating in conference calls about safety and reviewing and writing up reports about safety than I do any other task in my job. And because safety is such a linchpin of my "career" it finds a way of working itself in to every other facet of my LIFE.
I mean, other than an EMT, how many people carry around with them, at all times, a fully stocked first aid kit, CPR masks, a hand crank radio, flashlight and a reflective safety blanket?
So, I think it's important for me to clear the record that our kids don't stand up in the tub, except for when they are getting in and getting out. And even then, I stress that they have a three-point stance. As in, at least three parts of their body must be touching the tub at all times, until they are sitting down. Perhaps I'm totally wrong, but I have a sneaky suspicion I might have a heightened safety awareness relative to the average Joe. Or Josephine.
"Mom, do we really need to wear ANSI rated safety glasses, hardhat and reflective vests when we're playing with sidewalk chalk?!"
"YES. YES, YOU DO. What if there are people walking by that don't see you? And what if, heaven forbid, you press too hard and the chalk breaks and a shard of calcium carbonate flies up in to your eye and embeds in your cornea? What then? HUH?! WHAT THEN?!"
Rest assured my children are in very safety conscious hands. Although, for my own safety, I might need to start wearing a helmet when I sit down to check my e-mail because yesterday I almost fell of my chair and smacked my head when I read my cousin Regina's comment about driving the choo-choo in to the tunnel.
Did I ever tell you that Regina was once a nun??
Driving a choo-choo IN to the TUNNEL?
Oh. Dear. God.
And then, this morning, I received an e-mail from my mother that said, "Don't be surprised when your children start hiding things in their different body openings. It's like a cave down there and their job is one of exploration!"
Did you know that it was on my mother's bucket list to visit a nude beach once in her life and a few years ago when she was visiting me in California, she made it a point to tell me, with a wink, that for the first time in her 70-years, she didn't have ANY tan lines?
Nope. Not a one.
And I fell down and damn near knocked myself out then, too.
Perhaps it's genetics but I suspect I have far less modesty than the average Joe (or Josephine), too, considering I nursed Henry IN PUBLIC until he was 2.5 years of age. So the consensus is that at least for now, the kids will continue to take baths together - because it is easier for me that way and if the bubbles are up to their chin and I put foam soap on their heads, it alleviates all other discussion. Eyes UP children! EYES UP!
Other than that, I also want to stress that I've really tried to follow the children's cues and let them do whatever they want to do, regardless of their gender. I have NEVER denied my children whatever activity they've wanted to pursue. For instance, William has taken ballet with the girls.
Man, I was SO SLAMMED for this. Something about gender confusion and mixing my boy up in the head for life. Does any one remember?
Even now, the girls are taking basketball and karate with their brother because I try to be VERY gender neutral about sports and clothes and toys and toothpaste and whatever. But when William told me that he didn't want to take ballet with the girls, I wasn't going to force the issue and decided to bid adieu to my dream of raising the next Mikhail Baryshnikov.
(At least for now.)
For whatever reason, he didn't want to be the ONLY boy in a class with a bunch of five-year-old girls in tap shoes. I can't really say that I blame him. "Yeah, Mom, I think I'd rather stay at home and play with trucks and dinosaurs and maybe take a long walk off a short pier instead of listen to all of THAT racket!"
And although I love long hair on little girls, I've decided that it would be less painful to remove my teeth with pliers than let MY girls' have long hair. Hence the reason our girls' have hair cut to their ears. Oh my lands, my ears still hurt from the day when I had to brush out this rat's nest.
If William was interested in sporting a bob too, than I'd probably let him. But since he typically accompanies his father on trips to the barber, because NO ONE trusts ME to cut hair anymore (pfff!), he usually wants the same cut as his dad. I guess it's just a guy thing.
OK. Now. About Henry.
(The child. Not the dog.)
He was kicked out of the nursery for the FOURTH week straight. And I've gotta tell you, I'm quite upset about the whole thing. But not nearly as upset as Charlie who thinks that the people in the nursery know us and are comfortable with us and are way too trigger happy about paging us five minutes in to the sermon and telling us that our son is an endangerment to the other children. My baby, an ENDANGERMENT?!
Perhaps the problem is that I should have stayed with him the very next week after he was kicked out the first time, so I could see what was going on myself. Charlie has stayed with him twice and he said that the other kids were just as rowdy as Henry and the nursery was short staffed. But I'd like to see first hand what all the hubbub is about. And I will now that I no longer have to stick around and take notes on the Marriage Series (two more posts coming up, the best ones yet, hopefully later this week).
In regards to Henry ... we talk to him, we work with him, we put him in time out for hitting and screaming and other behavior that causes us splitting head ache pain. And for the most part, he really is a very GOOD little boy. For the past six weeks, we've been taking him to a tiny tots tumbling class that meets one day a week and although the class is for children between the ages of 6 and 36 months, I feel like our little guy is way more advanced than the other kids. Although, I've also noticed that when it comes time to sing little songs or bang little sticks, he won't sit still AT ALL. But what normal two-and-a-half year old boy does?
Seriously, is there a single 2.5-year old boy out there that sits still, when not eating or sleeping or buckled firmly in to their carseat?
Oh. Your 2.5-year old son does?
(Hopefully he won't always be weird.)
Anyway. According to the church nursery director, if other kids get too close and in his personal space, Henry pushes them down or smacks them on the head. And I'm thinking, "Isn't that what normal two-and-a-half-year-olds do? Especially two-and-a-half-year-olds that have older siblings at home?!"
Gosh. I thought he was so adorable and cuddly. Maybe we're actually raising a TYRANT?
So next week and in to the unforeseeable future, I'll be hovering over my 2.5-year old in the church nursery, because clearly we have a problem here that I must nip in the bud, but to effectively do so, will require that I deprive my soul of the weekly message, WHICH I UNDOUBTEDLY NEED. But I also can't help but think that maybe if ALL the children wore a puffy coat like Henry, there would be far less risk of anyone getting hurt?
What say ye, parents of variable aged children?
Have you noticed behavioral issues with your youngsters because of things they are picking up from their older siblings or are we totally blowing it over here?
Oh, oh. I might have just opened myself up there. I better make sure we have a sufficient stash of chocolate and wine before I read any comments...