Homeschooling With Pete The Cat

Thing 2 was up three different times last night.  The last time happened at 4 AM, and someone didn’t go back to sleep after that.

That someone would be me.

Thing 2 went back to sleep somewhere around 4:30 and snored like a bear in a cave in the middle of January until 7:15 this morning, when he shuffled out of his bedroom, scratching his bedhead curls and announcing, “Whoa!  What a night!  I should probably offer to apologize for that one.”

While he was busy adding more beauty sleep to his night between 4:30 and 7:15, I was up, hoping that I had some kind of cream in my bag of makeup tricks to change the bags under my eyes from YOU’LL NEED TO CHECK THAT HUNDRED-POUNDER to THIS IS NOW JUST A SMALL, VERY MANAGEABLE, CARRY-ON BAG HANGING OFF YOUR BOTTOM EYELID.

I chased the eye cream with coffee, and I chased the coffee with another coffee.  Then I told Thing 2, “Mama ain’t got the energy to chase YOU today, so you just sit right here with the broken Samsung tablet in your lap, and watch something on this wonky screen, where the colors are all messed up.”

Yes.  It’s true.  Thing 2 dropped the tablet for the seven thousandth time yesterday.  Apparently, dropping a Samsung 6,999 times is okay, but Time Number 7,000 did a little number on the screen.  And by a little number on the screen, I mean that Shaun the Sheep looks like this now…

shaun_the_sheep_2… when he’s SUPPOSED to look like this:

shaun_the_sheepIt’s exactly like watching TV when you haven’t slept… and you’ve had too many coffees before 7:30 in the morning.

Anyway.

After I’d made a hot, healthy breakfast of HEY!  LOOK AT THIS JIMMY DEAN SAUSAGE BREAKFAST SANDWICH THAT MAMA COOKED IN THE MICROWAVE FOR YOU for the boy and Hubs, I loaded Thing 2 into the Suburban, and we went to Walmart, for the Big Haul.

Because… listen.  We were out of EVERYTHING at our house.  We were at an all-time low of hollering out, “Well, I’m sorry we’re out of shampoo!  Just rub the bar soap over your head and make some bubbles in your hair!”  I was also down to the point where you look in your refrigerator and pantry, and ask yourself, “What can I cook for supper tonight, with some barbecue sauce, three pickle slices and half a bag of flour?”

The answer is, GET YOURSELF TO THE GROCERY STORE NOW.  You’re not creative enough to be the one COMING UP WITH the recipe pins on Pinterest; the best you can do is FOLLOW the recipes, which are made by other people.

You know, other people who COOK.

After the Walmart trip, there was the GROCERY UNLOADING, which is almost worse than the actual GROCERY FETCHING.

And then there was laundry.

And then there was the thirty minutes I spent sweeping the hardwood floors, because the boy played with Thing 2 outside yesterday, and that well-meaning babysitter allowed his young charge to bolt right inside the back door with his boots on.

That would be the pair of rubber muck boots that were covered in… well… muck.  Muck and mud and dirt, and dried leaves that were stuck in the clay-like mixture.  So all of that stuff was all over my kitchen and dining room floors, and then Thing 2 felt that it was necessary for him to grab a cup of juice out of the fridge, which became THE CUP OF JUICE ON THE FLOOR.  Now, when your hardwood floors look like the ones in a castle in the year 1382, with the rushes and all the Crusades’ dirt on the floor, and then you add a cup of sugar-free apple juice to the mixture, you end up with something similar to sludge.

So that is precisely what the preschooler and I did today.  Our lives are every single bit as glamorous as Princess Kate’s and Little Prince George’s.

Don’t be so jealous of us.

But…

… LAST FRIDAY MORNING…

… Thing 2 and I led a life that was mess-free and didn’t require us to lug cartons of organic milk and jugs of laundry detergent and bags filled to the brim with apples and bananas into our house.  Last Friday, we went to Jill’s house.

Jill, you see, is The Queen of Crafts.

She’s also The Queen Preschool Teacher, and The Queen Prayer, but on Friday, she wore the crafts crown.  She and her boys had Thing 2 and I come out for a morning spent making a Pete the Cat art project.

Now listen.  When I do an art project with Thing 2, it involves me saying, “Pop the lid off that Play-Doh and… um… HERE!  Roll it out with this plastic cup and make some… umwell… BISCUITS!  Make some blue biscuits, honey, while I stir cream of mushroom soup into this pasta slop and try to get dinner going.”

You should know that Play-Doh and a pair of scissors is all that I have in my craft closet at home.  The crafting and I are not close friends.

When Jill does crafts, she has a theme.  She also has a craft closet the size of Texas.

She has everything, from pipe cleaners to cotton balls to orange puffy paint.

Friday’s craft theme was Pete the Cat Day.  Jill had all of her boys’ Pete the Cat books set up like they were on display in a children’s library.  She had her craft supplies laid out like she was photographing them for an art magazine.  She had a Pete the Cat board game set out, and the boys’ stuffed Pete the Cats, and I plum forgot to take a picture of all that grandeur, that made us feel like we had walked into the best Christian preschool in the tri-state area.

And then, Miss Jill, The Queen of Crafts and Preschool and Prayer, got busy with all three of our boys, making memories.

It isn’t anything for Jill to paint hands with blue paint, and it isn’t anything for her to let the kids paint each other’s hands!  I may have needed to sit down and breathe in an out of a paper sack for a few minutes, but then Jill blessed me with the words, “We’re not going to use any glitter today.”

Because glitter?

Kills me.

Once glitter gets inside of your home, it’s there for life.  You’ll be sweeping up glitter after the kids move out and get their undergraduate degrees and finish their med school residencies.

But on Friday… it was JUST blue paint.

IMG_8429 IMG_8430 IMG_8431 IMG_8432 IMG_8434 IMG_8435 IMG_8436And then, while the blue hand prints dried, Jill read a Pete the Cat story to the boys, which involved Pete working to demolish an old playground and build a new one.

IMG_8437(Yes.  Thing 2 finished my Starbucks coffee.  Obviously, he needed the caffeine to help him deal with OH, MAN!  WE GET TO DO CRAFTS TODAY!!  WE ARE PAINTING!!  WE NEVER PAINT AT OUR HOUSE!!  MA!!!  WE!!! ARE!!! PAINTING!!!  WHY DON’T WE EVER PAINT AT HOME, MA??)

(Thing 2 has no idea what glitter is, so don’t tell him.)

IMG_8439After the boys had painted and cut and glued and heard a story, Jill pulled out the board game and taught them how to use the spinner and count buttons.  Thing 2 was thrilled with the game… until he realized that it was going to last longer than four minutes.  Jill’s boys’ toys were FAR MORE INTERESTING than spinning spinners and moving cardboard cats around, chasing after buttons, because three-year-old Matthew has TRAINS.

TRAINS, y’all!

And trucks.

And excavators.

And it was just all too much to ignore, just to see who could collect more buttons than his opponents could in a board game.

IMG_8440 IMG_8441 IMG_8444 IMG_8446 IMG_8442 IMG_8449And then…

… well, Jill and I made all three boys scootch together on her sofa for a picture… or nine.

Yes, it’s true; we bribed them to sit still and smile with miniature marshmallows.  I believe that it’s in Proverbs 31, where it says that the wise woman rises before her family and provides food for her household and gets the children to smile for photos with tiny bits of puffed-up sugar.

IMG_8454 IMG_8452 IMG_8462

I don’t mean to brag, but really?  You’d be hard-pressed to find cuter preschoolers on this entire planet than these three boys.

Thing 2’s finished Pete the Cat art project even sported the letter N, which he wrote all by himself, a fantastic sticker of a turtle operating a crane, and some eyeballs that may have been staring at the broken Samsung tablet without enough sleep for entirely too long.

IMG_8474After the boys had been immersed into an entire Pete the Cat curriculum and all earned a chubby A+, we turned them loose to play.  They were train engineers and fishermen; they pretended to catch crawdads and dig giant holes with excavators and haul coal across the continent on the railroad.  They laughed and giggled and had a ball together.

And all of that?

Well… all of that made for some beautiful memories, that had nothing to do with fetching groceries and mopping up apple juice mixed with backyard dirt.

Merry Monday, y’all.

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