Saturdays are often the best day of the week. No meetings, no schedule, no lesson plans..because I no longer spend my week days at school. I haven’t for the last 18 years. Saturday is the day I often have lunch with my eldest teacher-daughter. She tells me of her week, her little kids, her plans. She has preschool kids. She says, she is the first imprint of school those little ones will have and she wants to make it a positive imprint. I am sure she does.
Sometimes we compare ideas but I never took on the care of such little ones, having taught grades one to three and combinations of that age. In fact, when I think back on it, this daughter has been a preschool teacher before she was out of diapers.
Amelia is the oldest of four, who arrived in rapid succession. She was just barely five when my fourth child arrived. She was just one when her little brother was born.  She called him “Boy”; Boy do this, Boy do that, Boy can’t do this or Boy did that. His name was Bill but her one year old tongue had a hard time wrapping around the L’s I guess. So she became the one in charge of Boy–(“Me too” ) and eventually “Me Three” , and “Me four”, both little girls who followed her lead most of the time. “Me three” tended to rebel. She  much preferred being in charge of herself when she could be. One wonders if her chosen profession of being Physical Therapist, where she is in charge, goes back to having been bossed around as a wee one and wanting to take the lead. Come to think of it, “Me four” is pretty independent as well.
Memories of those hectic years flood over me some times, especially after lunch with my daughter where she tells me of her little ones, and we compare ideas, and recall her two kids when they were little, and then think of my son’s two little girls that we have enjoyed watching grow since we moved back home.
We put the baby gate across the kitchen in our first house, not an apartment. The house was pretty much baby proofed but making a kitchen safe wasn’t always easy. So the gate was across the kitchen door. My memories include the faces of two little ones, hands shaking the gate, saying “Momie can we have a cookie.” I was in “my play pen” preparing a meal or sewing on my sewing machine, the only safe place for pins and scissors and needles.
Then there were the yard sticks strung through the handles of the desk because little boys are very strong and can open a drawer all too easily, but when the yard stick is through all the handles, it takes more strength than even that little boy had. I dreaded the day he would figure out how to pull the yard stick out.
There was the cool basement in the summer since it was before air conditioning for us in the hot summers of Virginia. This room included the washing machine and storage and there were clothes lines overhead for hanging clothes because it was before a dryer as well. How on earth did I manage that? The kids had trikes to wheel around and a table to play at and sandwiches for lunch when it was too hot to play outside. P&J was brought to the little table and the promise of two little ones that they would eat their crusts. Empty plates were returned to the kitchen and I was sure they had… until we moved a year later and little crusts were stashed around the storage boxes all over the room.
We moved to the second house when number four arrived, by the way, she still calls herself number four when she calls on the phone because she thought she was number four on the telephone speed dial. Some times she tells me she is number five because I had to confess she was speed dial five since “Boy” has a business number and a home number and was taking up more space that she thinks he is entitled to.
Memories of meal times, where mom and dad did did not sit at the head of the table but along the sides, thus better able to handle one kid on each side. Memories of the conversations… “Guess what daddy had for lunch today”, being the most popular game since what he did at work wasn’t very interesting to them but every one has lunch.
Then there was the meal when three mouths were rattling on and on about their day and what they did and dad and I were trying to keep track of it all, and then number four banged her spoon on her high chair tray and screeched “Listen to me, I have nothing to say”.  She does not like being reminded of this memory of her but I did feel we were fostering conversation and telling of our days and what we did, just like my teacher- daughter fosters such conversations among her little ones. I wonder if there is a child in that group who wants to be heard as well. I think she lets them all have a chance to talk, and in fact I am sure, since she is also fostering the learning of English for some.

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5 Responses to saturdays

  1. Tam says:

    You have brought back another memory for me–clothes lines–what wonderful pictures in my mind. I love the part about your #4 child, too. So many treasures in your writing.

    • Fran says:

      I am having a hard time responding to your post so will do it through mine. I’ll have to get my daughter to help me.
      re your husband and the ink well-I think your husband sat behind me in 5th grade. Did he also pass notes through me to his friend. Miss Butterfield made me move to the front of the room just for that?

      • Tam says:

        I checked with Steve. He went to Ivanhoe Elementary in Gary, Indiana, also. His teacher’s name was Mrs. Pickle! That should have gone in the story!!!

  2. Ruth says:

    You have such a knack for connecting generations — for finding the links between time. Glad to be writing this month with you.

  3. OK – I’m #3. The Rebel. Hmmm. I never really thought of myself as that till after I left home. I guess I wasn’t the First, I wasn’t the Boy, and I wasn’t the Youngest. So I must have felt a need to make an impression. Really – it was “Amelia and Bill” and the “little girls.” How else could one stand out?

    Mom, I am enjoying reading the history and about what you are pondering. It is better than Sunday afternoon check-ins.

    But being a physical therapist is less about being in charge and more about teaching than you might imagine. The third apple doesn’t fall that far from the mom tree.

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