“Does the house look okay?” I asked Tommy.
He didn’t bother to look up from his Nintendo DS. “I guess so.”
Ugh. That wasn’t a good response. I surveyed the room and sighed. Everything looked clean enough. It’s just, it had to be perfect. Or close to it.
Because Natalie’s teachers were stopping by for a home visit. Natalie got a grant that allowed her to go to preschool for free and one of the stipulations was that parent/teacher conferences had to be held at my house.
I know. I was baffled too when the teacher called and told me.
And it was on the tip of my tongue to ask, “Do you go room to room and make notes? Because I admit it now, I’m a pack rat and if I open my closet, things will fall out and attack us.”
I swallowed that back though. Instead I agreed to a visit and then cleaned like mad.
I even got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floor. Natalie took this as an opportunity to jump on my back.
“Horsey!” she bellowed. “Horsey!”
“Natalie, no horsey right now. I’m trying to clean. For your teachers!” I thought she’d be moved by this but she wasn’t. She just rubbed my head and went, “Go horsey!”
I was nervous. On the day they were due to arrive, I kept cleaning. This is not easy when you have a three-year-old who feels that everything belongs in the living room.
“My Dora wants to be in here,” Natalie said, dragging her doll from her room.
“Fine. But no more toys. I need to keep this area clean. Your teachers are coming!” I must’ve said that sentence over 50 times. But it just didn’t seem to compute with Natalie, who wanted to continue bringing her toys down.
“Brobee needs to come,” Natalie said, racing up the stairs.
“No more toys! Your teachers are coming!” I sounded like Paul Revere. Only instead of shouting that the British were coming, it was teachers.
I knew I had an unrealistic expectation in my head on how the visit would go. In my mind, Natalie would be standing solemnly in the room, dressed in an adorable pinafore and she’d say, “Good day, *insert her teacher’s names here*” and then turn and walk silently to her room because she’d understand that we needed to talk without a child screaming in the background.
But that would never happen. For one, Natalie doesn’t have a pinafore. Two, she’s never been quiet for more than 5 minutes. Unless she’s sleeping. But even then, I find she makes noises in her sleep.
“Brobee NEEDS TO COME!” Natalie screeched at me from the top of the stairs. She even stomped her food. “BROBEE NEEDS TO COME!!”
She looked frightening. I had put her hair in pigtails but one was ripped out. And she had a smudge on her face that she refused to let me wipe off. The second I came at her with a washcloth, she had freaked out and told me NOT TO TOUCH HER!
Ugh. I didn’t remember Tommy being like this. Granted, when he was three he barely said a word and I remember wishing that he’d talk to me. I’d look into his blue eyes and go, “Please talk to Momma. I just want to talk to my boy.”
And then came Natalie, who started speaking early, telling me quite frankly that she was mad at the age of one.
“Natalie, fine, bring Brobee but no more!” I peeked out the window. The teachers would arrive any second.
A few minutes later Natalie returned with the entire Yo Gabba Gabba gang in her hands. I could barely see her face over the creepy characters that she held.
“Natalie,” I groaned. “I said just Brobee.”
“No! Everyone!” Natalie set them down. “I need my books.” She started to head for the stairs again but I grabbed her.
“No more toys. There is enough,” I said firmly.
She scowled and writhed in my arms. “I NEED MY BOOKS!”
My ears immediately started to ring. She’s been making my ears ring since the second she came out of me. Soon I’m going to be permanently deaf.
“Natalie, no more, okay? Your teachers are COMING!”
“I NEEEEEEDDDD MY BOOKKKKKKKKS!” Natalie’s lip began to quiver. Shit. This meant she was about to have a meltdown. T-minus 10 seconds. And…oh no, oh no, her teachers had just pulled up.
“Natalie,” I said frantically. “You can’t cry now. Your teachers are HERE. Let’s go say hello!” I steered her towards the door.
“NOOOOO!” Natalie shrieked. “I DON’T WANT TO SAY HELLO!”
Oh man. It’s times like those when I wished I could afford a nanny. Then I could have asked the nanny to take Natalie into another room. Kelsey Grammer’s ex-wife admits to having four nannies. And she only has two kids. Surely she could spare one?
I held the door open for her teachers and pretended everything was peachy even though Natalie was wailing in the background.
“Good morning,” I said cheerfully. “How are you?” I scooped Natalie up and she sobbed into my shoulder.
“Hi,” one of Natalie’s teachers said. “Aww, what’s wrong Natalie? I’ve never seen her upset before.”
This is because she tricks them at school, behaves like an angel, and the second I pick her up she starts in with the whining.
“She’s had a rough morning,” I explained.
We all settled down on the couch. Natalie broke free of my arms and ran into the dining room. Oh well. At least it would be quiet.
It turns out Natalie is doing well at school. She’s eager to try everything and is even speaking up more. Before she would barely speak, which is amusing to me, considering that she likes to make my ears ring. The teachers also mentioned that she’s one of the most popular girls in school. Everyone wants to be around her. I sort of hope this doesn’t carry through till high school. I’d get annoyed if teens were all over our house, messing with our food, calling and texting all the time...
So bottom line is, Natalie rocks at preschool.
And she eventually even came back into the living room and said hello to her teachers.
Before they left, they gave me this report on Natalie:
I’m still laughing over the fact that she has to be reminded to speak up in class.
She definitely does not need any reminders at home.
My ringing ears can attest to that.