Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's All About the Benjamins

Here's a fun Mary Poppins fact for you: I work part-time as a teacher. OK, so that fact isn't as "fun" as say the fact that I can do the best disco back-step you've ever seen (several witnesses attest to this fact by the way. It's indisputable). I mostly teach dance classes for preschool-aged children (one look at my back-stepping ability and I was hired). It's a pretty sweet gig since I can take my kids with me and we all enjoy dancing around together.
Yesterday afternoon I received a call from my desperate boss who was looking for a last minute sub for an art class that started in one hour. Did I mention that I teach dance? Well, I was her last resort and let's face it, in this economic climate who couldn't use the extra cash? I said yes and schlepped my kids off to the art studio for what I assumed would be a fun artistic adventure. Adventure? Yes. Artistic? Mostly. Fun? Try dangerous.
I surprised myself by coming up with a pretty clever art project that involved ribbons, plastic tubing, and beads. Sounds pedestrian I know, but it was quite the hit with the 7 and 8 year-old girls. Here's what I didn't realize. When teaching a last-minute art class with your kids in tow, coming up with an art project is only half of the battle. The other half is figuring out what to do with your toddler in an art studio. I'm used to teaching in a dance studio which is basically a large empty room with a mirrored wall. Dangerous objects usually don't find their way into the dance room. The art studio is a different matter entirely. It's a paradise for toddlers with a penchant for mischief.
Twice while helping a student I was interrupted by another, more observant, student giving me updates about my 18 month-old. "Your baby's got the scissors" was the first alarm that sounded only 10 minutes into the class. I jerked my head up, not to see her sitting calmly near a pair of scissors as I had hoped, but instead to see my child running, scissors in hand, maniacal grin plastered on her face. A game of chase ensued involving several of the students, my 4 year-old and myself in hot pursuit of the scissor-toting offender. Fortunately the scissors were retrieved before any major harm befell anyone.
Feeling like a pretty terrific mom at this point, I gathered up all of the scissors and placed them out of her reach. And things went really smoothly from then on. Until another 10 minutes had passed. I was careful to keep closer tabs on my 18 month-old. She was sitting at my feet when one of the other students announced "Your baby's eating the beads." Really? The child who stopped mouthing objects months ago? Indeed she was. Not just one or two. But a fistful, apparently. Her cheeks were enlarged and lumpy and I could hear the beads rattling around in her mouth. Two finger sweeps and several gag reflexes later, she was bead-free. I, however, was a bit unnerved at this point and am still unsure how I was able to finish the class with my sanity and my child's health and well-being intact.
With the Dow plunging to 8,5something today leaving me (and most Americans) in need of some more Benjamins, I have to take these subbing opportunities as they come. Next time my boss calls, desperate for an art sub, I'll answer "sure" and then announce at the beginning of class: "Welcome to art, kids. Today we'll be trying something new. Now if you'll just follow me down the hall into the dance room I'll teach you how to back-step like a pro."

Today's Afternoon (Dish) Traffic Report (brought to you by attentive mothers everywhere--please tell me I'm not the only one):2:36pm. What's up with the sewing machine? You mean you don't have a sewing machine on your dishwasher? Well, get with the times, folks. It's what everyone's doing these days. Seriously, I have no space in my house. Usually the sewing machine is in storage but I had to mend a parachute yesterday (again, for work), and I have a couple more items to mend today so I needed to keep the sewing machine handy in the interim. And what place is more handy than the top of a dishwasher? It just screams: "Put your Singer on me, baby!"


Steve and Kenna said...

I think we need some proof of the best disco back-step.

Mary Poppins said...

i will deliver whenever you wish. you'll be amazed, i'm sure.

Mrs Furious said...

ah... yes... crazy toddler syndrome. I know it all too well. Just today I found Baby eating mysterious red berries that had dropped into the park's sandbox. I'm sure they weren't poisonous.... right?!

Mary Poppins said...

mrs f--it's my understanding that the addition of sand negates any possibility of poisoning. sand--the ultimate antidote.