Home » Hell On Earth AKA Pre-K Day at the Nature Center

Hell On Earth AKA Pre-K Day at the Nature Center

It’s Monday. . .again.  Just a few more Monday’s and hopefully I’ll be able to evict the fast growing little parasite who is taking up a lot of premium real estate in my body. . .make room for some good fall beer. . .Or to breathe. . .Both seem vital to me currently.

Anyway, on Mondays the local nature center has a program for Pre-K kids.  It runs approximately one hour.  The topics vary but the program format is generally the same:  story, singing, outdoor walk, snack, craft.

We visit this nature center a LOT.

And perhaps this familiarity with the facilities is what causes Pre-K Kid’s Program to be such a pain in my ass?

Or is it just my kid?

Granted, he’s a little young to fully focus and participate in the entire program.  I wouldn’t expect him to behave the same way the 4-year-olds do. . .

But would it be so much to ask for him to TRY?  Even just for five minutes?!

Apparently.  Sigh.

He REFUSES to participate.

He wants nothing to do with the story, the singing, the guided outdoor walks.  If I’m lucky, he’ll agree to craft time. . .but it always ends the same:  He absconds with a pair of scissors and I end up chasing him through the hall to the area where they keep the snakes – where he attempts to jam the scissors in the heat lamps while admonishing himself “Careful, could be hot.  Dangerous!”

What the hell kid?

Last week was particularly trying.

We arrived a bit early.  I figured arriving early might benefit us.  This way he could wander around and do all the things he likes to do – visit the bobwhite, see the dock, check on the bees, turtles, and crabs – BEFORE the program actually started. . .

The parking lot was absolutely PACKED.  Ugh.

“Lots of people here today, Mac.” I mutter as I gather him from the car.  “Please hold Mommy’s hand in the parking lot.  When I’m all set, let’s head straight to the bathroom.  Sound good?”

He laughed wickedly and bolted away from the building through the parking lot screaming “Stay out of the tall grass!” and “Hold Mommy’s hand in parking lot!”

I fumbled with the backpack and took up chase, already sweating buckets, “Mac!  Mac!  Potty remember?  Head straight to the bathroom?  Remember?!”

We were nearly out of the parking lot to the access road when a school bus parked in proximity turned on its engine and finally stopped Mac in his tracks.

“Look!” I said kneeling down to his eye level praying I wouldn’t pee my pants.  “See how big and noisy that bus is.  This is why I don’t want you running through the parking lot.  That’s a BIG bus.  We need to be careful and steer clear!”

He shrugged and we started the excruciatingly slow meander towards the building.

We got to the building and he took off into the grass headed towards the outdoor HVAC units, “Could be dangerous!  Don’t touch!” he shouted as he nearly plowed into them headfirst.

“MAC! Potty, remember?” I hissed at him

He headed towards the back deck.  Yes!  

But then he paused under a large bird feeder.  And he hunkered down to play with all the sunflower seed hulls that littered the deck beneath the feeder.

“Mackinley, please.  Please can Mommy go potty?” I begged, looking around to see in anyone overheard my pathetic pleas.

He was ignoring me.

Do I just grab him and cause a scene potentially ruining all of pre K nature hour?  Do I give him a warning?  Do I just wait him out?  Pick my battles?

I turned my attention for a split second to a white-breasted nuthatch. . .

And when I turned around again. . .

I see he’s managed to find a gigantic pile of animal turds.  Some class-less wild beast had eaten a bunch of berries and crapped them all over the deck under the bird feeder.


He paused to look at his hands – which were now stained blueish purple.  “Wipe hands,” he whined headed towards me.

“Don’t you dare wipe that on Mommy’s leg!  I screamed hopping backwards.  “We have to wash our hands NOW!”

I marched him to the bathroom.  I could see all the other children calmly filing into the room where they would all sit around and sing Kum-ba-yah, while I wrestled with my kid in the ladies room washing wild animal turds off his hands.

I finally wrangled us into the handicapped stall, where he proceeded to scream for goldfish crackers.

“Not in the restroom, Sweetie.  When we’re done, we’ll go listen to the story and get a snack, okay?”

He seemed cool with that but seconds later, he clocked me across the face.

And. . .time out.  In the handicapped stall of the restroom.  His wailing echoed off all the walls.  My ears were ringing.  I was sweating profusely.

We collected ourselves and exited.  But I couldn’t get out of the hall.  He went barreling towards the staff offices.

“Mac?  Goldfish?” I baited him.  “Remember snack?”

Too late.  He was already focused on the water fountains.

“No.  Sweetie.  Please not now.” I hissed dangling a baggie of goldfish crackers in front of him.

He snagged the entire bag running towards the main section of the building.  “Don’t you dare feed that duck!” I shouted fumbling again with the backpack.

By the time I caught up, he was stuffing his face full of goldfish in front of the bobwhite cage.

“Mackinley, please give Mommy the bag.  You can have as many as you’d like, but you can’t hold the bag.  I don’t want them. . .”

And then in slow motion. . .goldfish crackers go flying into the air and all over the floor.

“Wait right there!” I glare at him as I drop to the floor.

I’m under the bobwhite cages scooping up handfuls of crackers when I realize he’s gone.

I glance around frantically.

He’s at the main door impeding the forward progress of some poor woman with a toddler and even younger twins in a double stroller – all of them better behaved than Mac.

Do. Not. Lose. Your. Shit.

I grabbed the rest of the crackers and bolted to the door, hoping the roaming duck would make quick work of the crushed crumbs I had left behind.

“Let’s go look at the mussels and the eel.” I cooed in his ear and taking his wrist while mouthing an apology to the lady with the stroller.  I could hear the ahem normal kids happily singing in the other room.

I sat down to catch my breath while he climbed up to the tank.  “If you put your hands in that water – even once, you are choosing to go outside.” I admonished him.  “We don’t want to put our hands in the water.  We could make the fish sick.”

And I’m not feeling all that hot myself, kid.  Head is POUNDING.

“Hey,” I say, “Everyone is taking a walk.  You want to walk out to the bridge with the others?”

“No.” He mumbles matter of factly still staring at the fish tank.

“Well, when they get back, they are going to make a craft.  Do you want to help me with a craft?”

“No.” He says again.

“It could be fun. . .” I say attempting to entice him.

“No.  No.  No.” He exclaims dismounting from the steps near the tank.

He toddles towards me and snuggles up to my leg.

“Do you feel shy around other children?” I ask gently brushing the hair off his forehead.  “There are lots of kids here.  It’s noisy and stuff, but I think you’d have fun if you try participating.”

He looks up at me with his big blue eyes.

I feel my stomach flip a little.  My sweet little boy. . .He’s still really young.  I shouldn’t expect too much from him yet. . .

He flashes me an adorable smile and snuggles closer and in a sweet soft little voice he says:

“French fries?”

Manipulative little bastard!

I'm bored torturing you now.  Time for fries?

I’m bored torturing you now. Time for fries?














3 Responses to “Hell On Earth AKA Pre-K Day at the Nature Center”

  1. Rick says:

    Lord, girl, I don’t know how you do it!

  2. Dani Ryan says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for this post. You know I do a ton of classes with my daughter, and it has been a struggle to find the ones she likes. Music ones are a hit, so we do 2 of those a week, but I also made the mistake of signing us up for a pre-K kind of class together on Monday mornings. At 9 am. WTF, right? And my child, who runs around the room smiling and happy in music class stands right by my side and REFUSES to participate in the pre-K class, and she WILL NOT do the craft. At all. And I’m totally fine with that, but the other moms look at me like I’m a leper, and I always walk away feeling so defeated. And exhausted! But the other day, when my husband was telling his mom about the whole thing, she said, “you know she’s only 2, right?” And that made me feel a lot better. I can’t wait until you start drinking again! HA! xo

    • admin says:

      I think if you DON’T feel defeated, you are doing it wrong. Ha!

      They are still so young, I try to manage my expectations. These days I’m pleased if he hasn’t peed on the floor or come at me with a blunt object during a tantrum. 🙂

      I cannot wait to have a drink again too! These past couple weeks have been more difficult physically and I JUST WANT MY BODY BACK! I don’t care what kind of shape it’s in, I’ll take it! Ha!