It has been a pleasure to have (Number 4) in our class for two years and see the progress she has made.
Knowing Number 4’s personality, I was a little surprised by this comment on her preschool progress report.
But then I kept reading.
(Number 4) is very social and we continue to support her in being aware of her friends’ feelings… (Number 4) is very energetic and spontaneous and we continue to channel both traits in a positive direction.
Okay. That’s more like it…
I wasn’t surprised.
By her second year in preschool I viewed each pick up as a small victory if I was able to get in and out of the building without hearing, “Mrs. Janney, can we just talk to you for a moment?”
So fast forward to the end of the year.
Number 4’s preschool wraps up the year by having a “Portfolio Day.” The kids do a little performance and sing a couple of songs.
Then you get to sit down with them, and they show you their portfolio and the progress they have made since the beginning of the year. It’s very cute.
Since it’s a special day, many of the girls get a little more dressed up than usual, Number 4 included.
Number 4 was on her best behavior. We made it through the performance, the portfolio, and even the ice cream without any embarrassment.
And then Mrs. O came and sat next to me.
“Mrs. Janney, I just want to let you know about something that happened today.”
Shoot. My hopes for making it all the way through the program unscathed were dashed.
“Since many of the girls were wearing dresses today, we told them to stay out of the sandbox when we went outside to play.”
I could see where she was going.
“Number 4 went in the sand anyway, and she apparently got quite a bit of it in her underwear. When we came inside, she said to me ‘Mrs. O…
I have sand in my vagina.’ ”
So Mrs. R, the poor science teacher, was given the fun job of helping Number 4 to “de-sand” herself.
“We told her we did the best we could, and that she’d have to go swimming or take a bath when she got home.”
My preschool goals for Number 4 had changed dramatically since her first day as a 3-year-old. I had gone from thinking she would be one of the smartest kids in her class, able to read and write before all the other students, to just hoping she didn’t say the word vagina out loud.
Well she had almost made it.
“I’m so sorry,” I sighed, exhaling loudly, and feeling very much the failure.
“I’m not done yet,” said Mrs. O.
There was more. I wanted to crawl under the table.
My hands were so sweaty they were making wet marks on my pants.
“When she went back into the classroom, Mrs. C was reading a story to the class and all the children were sitting on the rug. We told Number 4 to go back into the classroom and sit down quietly.
Some of the other children looked at her as she entered the room.
She sat down, looked at them and Mrs. C, and proclaimed” :
“I HAVE SAND IN MY VAGINA!”
I immediately thought of that old Saturday Night Live sketch with Matthew Broderick where they set a record for saying the word penis on television something like 43 times in 5 minutes.
God bless this poor little Lutheran preschool.
I hope they don’t lock the doors in September when they see me coming with Number 5.