You'll notice in this picture of my adorable children that the boy is holding a teddy bear lovingly in his arm. Everyone, meet Barnaby Bear:
According to his over-priced and overly academic preschool, Barnaby has traveled all the way from England to "study abroad" with the children in suburban Chicago. Each weekend, a lucky student gets to bring the bear home and let him learn about our culture. This is surely exciting for the child. Yep, really cool. But for moms, at least this one, not so much.
First of all, there is a raging flu epidemic going around the country and the rest of the world (I think maybe even England!). But still, a germy, grimy stuffed animal is being passed from household to household where snotty, coughing, dirty preschoolers cuddle the bear like they gave birth to it. Does the bear get washed after each home visit? I do not have the answer to this question since my husband picked my son up from school on Friday. I smell the bear to see if I can detect germs via my olfactory sense. I do believe I smelled some germs, but at that point, Niko had been hugging and loving on the toy for a couple of hours already so the damage was done.
Not only do we have the germ bear in our house for the weekend, but there's homework that goes with it. We have to remember to take the thing everywhere we go, take pictures with it, get the pictures printed out and then make a collage with pictures and descriptions of all the fun and enriching things we did this weekend. And I use the "we" very loosely to mean my husband and I. So here it is Sunday night and Kaveh's scrambling to download the pictures, go get them printed while I try and think of things to write, in Barnaby Bear's first-person voice (English accent included) no less. Niko could barely remember what he did with his bear other than go down the slide with it, so I basically did the entire assignment and then coached Niko on what I wrote in case he was asked to summarize it in class tomorrow. I'm telling ya, preschool is no walk in the park these days!
And before the bear entered our life, I was helping Nina with an art project that was very loosely defined. She was given two milk jugs glued together and asked to make a character that the child would later write a story about. I have to say, Nina did most of the work - designed it, glued on the hair, drew the face, made the arms, legs, hands and feet. I just helped with the hot glue gun (from which I have a few third-degree burns to show). It turned out like this:
Pretty cute, eh? Sadly, I don't think some other students did much of the work themselves. Last week, when we were at Nina's school for conferences, we saw all of the other first grade's milk jugs. There was an Incredible Hulk that looked like it belonged in a museum, a horse back rider with a tailored jacket that fit the milk jug perfectly and another milk jug even lit up! Boy, some of those parents are really talented!
I bet they were the same ones who took Barnaby Bear to the opera.