I’m here to learn, teach me please!
It had to happen.
Motormouth has started playgroup. Admittedly he is starting later than some (he’ll be 4 at Christmas) but he is starting and he loves it, with a capital L.
When we first broke the news to him he was excited to say the least. He’d been to visit the group with us before and settled in immediately, playing with the toys and interacting with the other children from the start. In fact we had some difficulty prising him away. The first question he asked was “Am I going to learn lots of things?” He was very happy to find out that was the aim.
The night before his first day he kept telling me he was going to school. In fact he was telling everyone, although I’m not sure the fishmonger at the local supermarket was really that interested. We sorted out his little thermos bag in the shape of a fire engine (christened Jupiter after the engine on Fireman You-know-who). We discussed what he wanted for his packed lunch. He made me promise to remember to make it before I went to bed. Three times.
He even went to bed early so morning would come round quicker.
In the morning he didn’t even need to be chased around the house to have his teeth brushed. (About the only place I haven’t ventured with the toothbrush and knee-to-pin-down combination is the toilet. I absolutely refuse to clean his teeth in the toilet.)
Socks, shoes, fleece and coat went on without protest and he stood by the door waiting impatiently for us.
It was a nice change, until he started nagging the Other Half and I, telling us we were going to be late. That was a role reversal too far.
When we arrived at playgroup he strode in as if it was his natural habitat (which in a way I suppose it is). Playgroups are usually pretty organised but to the uninitiated outsider it can look like hordes of small hooligans rushing around like pin balls in a pinball machine. (One on tilt as well).
At the end of the day he was keen to tell us what he’d done. In between hearing about his exploits with the dustcart (he has a weird obsession with them, along with bin men and recycling) I tried to get some feedback about how he’d been.
“Oh, he’s settled in well.” I nodded, we expected that.
“He asks lots of questions doesn’t he.” It was presented as a statement, and yes, we know he asks a lot of questions.
They handed me a nice red folder with some notes in it, telling me what he’d been doing. I scanned them.
“Hold on, something is wrong here.” They looked concerned and read the entry I was pointing at. “That can’t be right.”
“No, no, it is correct.” They assure me.
“That was definitely Motormouth?” They nod. I lean down at the small boy who is busy trying to swing from my arm and try to feel his forehead (with the arm he’s not swinging from). No. Normal. I look at them again and they nod silently. I look at the words again; snacks 1100 am cheese, apple and cucumber.
What’s wrong with cucumber you ask? Well, from Motormouth’s point of view, everything! It’s green. It’s a vegetable (he’s not going to be swayed by the fact that technically it’s a fruit because the seeds are on the inside). It usually comes with salad. It’s not cheese, or yoghurt, or sausage. It’s, well, it’s yuk.
But he ate cucumber! (I decide I can’t wait to tell the Other Half so I send him a text.)
He eats it again the second day but we decide not to mention it in case he realises we might use the leverage to get him to eat cucumber at home.
In his second week we get given a form to complete, so they can assess where he is in terms of development. Some of the questions make me laugh out loud.
Is he able to ask simple questions? Yes, questions like why do we have feet? What are tears made of? Why does chicken fat go hard when it’s cold? Why has the face fallen off his Kwazii toy (I told him not to get it wet).
You know, the usual things that Brian Cox can deal with easily. Except maybe the Kwazii question, I’m not sure how knowledgeable he is about Octonauts.
It reminds of the initial form I had to complete for the staff. This was the boring one about contact details and suchlike. But Motormouth being Motormouth, living with him still gave us the opportunity to show some of his uniqueness.
Does he have any special people or pets he might refer to?
I list the favourite cousins and neighbours.
Then I think it might be good to explain the family names. Grandma being Nanny Nutjob for instance.
Or the fact that his father and I are regularly referred to as Kwazii and Dashi (the Other Half is the one with pirate tendencies). His little sister is Junip more often than not.
A week on, I have to update the list.
Motormouth has discovered Paw Patrol and we now have our assigned names.
I’m Glider ( a cute pink chihuahua that flies a plane, well, I suppose I do have a long-expired glider pilot’s licence to my name) and the Other Half is Ruffles, who drives a digger. It’s Rubble in the actual programme but I think Ruffles suits the Other Half better.
Motormouth himself is Chase, the police dog.
Then there is Motormouth’s current fascination with another cartoon, Gormiti. This is something he has only experienced through the medium of half a dozen books we found in a discount shop, that and the French, German or Korean versions of the cartoon on You Tube.
I am now Jessica, Lord (yes Lord) of Air. The Other Half is Toby, Lord of the Sea and Motormouth? Well, he’s Nick, Lord of the Earth who can create earthquakes by punching the ground. He has had a fair few bruised knuckles to prove this.
So, on any given day, he can call me by my real first name, mama, Dashi, Jessica or Glider.
I think I’m having an identity crisis.
I’m going to have to write this down for the playgroup staff. Perhaps they should start a wall chart. They’d better make it a big one.
When I take Motormouth to playgroup now he rushes into the middle of the room, catches the eye of whichever “Aunty” is in there and declares at the top of his voice “Good morning Aunty, I’m here to learn!”
Feedback from the second week?
He’s still full of questions isn’t he? Yep.
He’s quite bright isn’t he? That’s nice to know rather than just suspect.
He’s very polite isn’t he? Pleased about that, the constant reminders are working.
He had cucumber for a snack today.
Nope. Still don’t believe that one.