Yoga-pant-wearing, Oprah-following, under-educated, idle housewife. Or am I?

oprah-winfrey-networkThe network cable guy just left my house. As he was giving me a quick tutorial on the seminary’s new wiring (and calling me ma’am at least four times), he carefully explained how I should now be able to receive those channels that I “have probably been missing over the last few months. Channels like the Oprah Winfrey Channel and the Soap Opera Channel” (his words, not mine)… Hm.

 A few months ago, someone asked me if I “worked.” After I explained that I stay at home, take care of my family, and run a small, seminary-kids-only preschool, she asked if I had graduated from college… Hm.

 Earlier this year, someone conversationally asked me, “What is it you do all day?”… Hm.

 Is it the greasy hair and the velour sweats that made Mr. Cable Guy classify me as a daytime television addict today? Is the normal shell-shocked expression on my face a possible hint of my level (or lack of level) of education? Could it be the constant coffee mug in my right hand or the time I have to monitor my kids outside that made a neighbor question my daily routine? Regardless, my first impression around here sometimes seems to go something like this: Rachel = Yoga-pant-wearing, Oprah-following, under-educated, idle housewife. Which, I’ll admit, may sometimes be 20% to 60% accurate.

 P1030292So I thought I might humor myself (and you) by taking inventory of what I actually do in a day. After two hours of logging that, however, I realized two things: 1) who really cares and 2) I quickly tired of writing down things like “Browned beef arm roast in the skillet” and “Stared at shampoo bottle (in the shower) wondering whether or not I had already used it in my hair”. So I decided to tell you about my small, seminary-kids-only preschool. It’s way more interesting.

 I won’t give you the full history of how I started this under-the-counter business. But let’s just say, 18 months ago, a couple of seminary families (including my own) needed a cheap, yet quality education for their preschoolers. And I needed some grocery money. Thus Rachel’s Preschool was born (or “Pretty School” as one of my students calls it.)

 P1030154This year, every Tuesday through Thursday, six amazing and enthusiastic preschoolers – three boys and three girls – arrive at my apartment to learn their A B C’s, their 1 2 3’s, and how to function socially (and hygienically) outside of their home.

 P1030138Success for us can be quantified by a variety of signifiers. For example, we measure achievement by the degree to which we understand that L-M-N-O-P is actually five distinct letters and not one big, fat, long one; we score positively, if we remembered to wash our hands with soap after a bathroom break. A success is the reported extent to which we did not hide the fairy queen from our other friends and the extent to which our circle time circle formation actually resembles a circle. Of course, a win for us on any given day, is total refrain from saying poop or butt at the lunch table.

 Jude, a friend of my son Reuben’s who goes way back, usually arrives first with his big sister. “Hey, Miss Rachel.” He walks through the door quickly, drops his schoolbag and hurriedly unzips it to expose ABC Cookies that he has brought to share. He pushes them towards me even as he is flipping off his shoes. He then heads to the playroom, telling me over his shoulder that his brother is sick and he doesn’t want to wear his socks.P1030001

 Malachi, the youngest in our group, arrives at the back door right on time, and immediately walks to the low-hanging hooks to hang up his puppy sweatshirt, blue backpack, knitted hat, and NASCAR lunchbox. He has a hot wheels sticker on his shirt that he has saved from the doctor’s office since yesterday. He tells me his mom is at work, his sister is sleeping, his Aunt “Teesa” is picking him up, and then he finishes his welcome by asking whether or not he is the helper of the day. The odds are 5:1 against but he usually bets on himself.

 The girls usually arrive one after the other, tumbling through the door, small furors of color and excitement. Striped scarves, knitted rainbow hats, pink and purple polka-dotted jackets, and mary jane shoes fly everywhere. The three of them simultaneously tell me everything I need to know. “I have cheese puffs in my lunchbox, I can show them to you,” “I got the fifth sparkle stick and I only need two more!” “I brought back The Little Critter book,” “Do you see my party kitty shirt? It’s purple and has a kitty.” “Erica is gonna have a baby just like my mommy!” “Are we gonna do a craft?” “I have this necklace I am wearing today.” “I’m so sorry we were late today.”

 P1030176Parents come through for just a moment to chat with me or each other, corral younger siblings, and kiss their little ones goodbye as they walk back out the door. Within an instant, the chaos of greetings and conversation and flurried activity are over and the kids and I settle into the next two and a half hours of preschool.

 P1030109Our day always includes letter learning, circle time, calendar time, independent play, and a designated helper of the day (but not necessarily in that order). We write with both real and imaginary markers and we use imagination caps that look like scarves (in our imagination, of course). We know the cleanup song well. We may indulge in the occasional animal yoga poses (in my yoga pants!) or shaky egg dancing. We love talking about things: things like wattles and snoods, the benefits of quinoa, or the last time we ate popcorn. We love finger plays and reading books and our little beginner Bible! We may act out the feeding of the five thousand with playmobil characters and we may sing about honey and nut covered muffins or a troll that lives under a bridge. We like to count. We tally. We experiment. We snack! We pour. We glue. We cut. We color. We try always to use our polite words. We play. We dance. We eat. We pray. We make and create. We stretch our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. We learn. We love each other.

 And never, during any of our time together, do we turn on the Oprah channel. And the only soaps we encounter are the bubbles in the bottom of the bathroom sink. We are highly educated little ones. There is no idle behavior around here. But we have, I’ll admit, been known to occasionally wear our yoga pants.

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(* As a shout-out to my husband and for a good laugh, follow this link to see our family’s favorite comedian, Tim Hawkins, sing about yoga pants: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrL17Dr_8kk)

4 Comments

Filed under Homelife

4 responses to “Yoga-pant-wearing, Oprah-following, under-educated, idle housewife. Or am I?

  1. Cheryl

    Thanks for such a good response to all of those who assume they know what other people are about. We are each such unique creations of the Father. We each respond to the circumstances of our lives in our own way. Most all of His followers are the unsung heroes of life as we attempt to reflect His love and care to those He puts around us. Thank you for caring about kids, and for being a magnificent Mom., love ya, d

  2. Hear, hear to Rachel: a highly educated housewife, who is clearly sharing her creativity and curiosity to educate 6 amazing little people 🙂

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