Emotional Preparation

Today was the first day in my three plus years teaching preschool that a child thoroughly broke me. I’ve been frustrated, steaming and vengeful, but never before had I been so soundly defeated by one child’s willful persistence. I had a good cry.

It’s not the child’s final explosion that pushes me over the edge. What gets me are the hours of carefully thought-out preparation that inevitably fail. We have an unfaltering resolve, my co-teachers and I, to give each child exactly the environment he/she needs to thrive. Today I spent an entire morning trying to prep one child for nap: making difficult concessions, loosening an already long leash and maintaining a patient attitude throughout a morning of physical and emotional torture. All this hard work resulted in an hour-long screamfest, complete with flailing legs, slapping fists and violent thrashes. It’s been the same story for weeks, despite the myriad of techniques and strategies we’ve tested. Failure on a daily basis, as it is in any job, is incredibly demoralizing. And today I finally cracked.

So what does this have to do with being a future daddy?

I imagine Blanche may break me down often. That thought is scary. As unfortunate as it is, it’s impossible as a teacher to black out thoughts of “I hope my kid doesn’t behave like this” or “If that were my kid, I’d…” But my experience with toddlers and preschoolers has given me quite a perspective: I don’t ever want my Blanche to be the kid that brings her teacher to tears. I’ll be happy to take those tears myself.

So what else? Kristie is always telling me to write something funny, which is what non-funny people tell funny people. Write something funny! Well sometimes I don’t have a lot of funny things to say. But imagine this scene: there I was this afternoon, at a St. Paul yarn and knitting shop, with a yarn sample taped to a post-it note of shopping instructions. No wool! The only man in sight, each other patron at least twice my age, I felt more out of place than I had in a long time. This from a man who spent five minutes in the feminine pads aisle at Target just a few weeks ago. One size fits all anyone? (These are the situations that arise when your wife is stuck on the couch.)

Well thank God for crafts. The only reason I was in this yarnery was because Kristie, amid this couch-ridden month, has begun crocheting and crafting again. Part of my Super Bowl Sunday this year featured a half hour and $50 at Jo Ann Fabrics, which I’m fairly certain fulfills my lifetime obligation. A couch, daytime TV and a pending baby girl are solid reasons to pick up hobbies, I guess, and Kristie has.

We know about the hats, but now the baby officially has a more extensive footwear collection than I. And the homemade bow/barrette collection is fun and impressive. This time-killing hobby has quickly become an obsession.

And one more decision has been made: despite the fabulous local Lindsey Vonn connections, after watching last night’s Olympics, Blanche will never be a competitive downhill skier.

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One Response to “Emotional Preparation”

  1. katieochicago Says:

    I love reading your blog! I am the confidence mama blogger for hot mama and when i saw BABYDADDY on their homepage i was immediately drawn…and every time i stop by your blog it is totally worth it. you’re hilarious and honest and the topics you choose to write about are different enough from my everyday life that I get a kick out of reading them. keep it up! you are doing such a great job

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