Thursday, August 26, 2004

A very uncertain octopus

I should've known it this morning, when things were just slightly off — annoying, really.

When we lost the shovel at the playground (by which I mean some little toddler hoodlum absconded with it): I hate losing things; I always keep an eye on our stuff; I lapsed.

When Helena realized she could load up her pockets with handfuls of sand. Ah, joy.

Despite the signs, I was feeling all lighthearted and relieved, reveling in that sense that everything's going to work out just fine, when reality slapped me in the face and slipped me into extreme panic mode this afternoon.

Another phonecall. Another daycare. Only this time the call was placed to J-F, and he couldn't reach me, and he had to take a decision.

And I'm desperately afraid it might be the wrong decision.

In that very same moment of J-F's decision-making, yet another hoodlum toddler decided it would be funny if he poured a bucket of water in my lap.

Seconds later, Helena loses her pool footing for the first time ever, at the very deepest part of the wading pool, falling face first. I lift her blubbering and sputtering and coughing and trying to cry. My poor frightened, soggy baby.

The entire wading pool experience was tinged with my anger toward a woman prancing about in what was obviously her underwear. It provided a lot more coverage than many of the bikinis often sported, and the woman was hardly an eyesore, the opposite in fact. It's just the idea of it — underwear, in the wading pool — is incredibly repugnant to me.

So it's going to be the other daycare, the one beside J-F's office, which will always be his office, whereas our home is likely to shift locales (we're hoping soon). We have a meeting on Monday.

I admit, the very first time I walked past the Uncertain Octopus, I thought it weird. It has storefront windows, onto the kids' playrooms. Kind of creepy.

Then there's the name, something about the name niggling at me. What kind of institutional philosophy is behind the uncertainty. I imagine it's something about the state of the toddler being uncertain, being pure potential, but I was having trouble making it sit right.

But I quashed all that.

I'd already been imagining our morning strolls through the park, how it would provide a much-needed structure to my day. Being able to drop by the playground during one of their scheduled sessions. Pick her up early if I felt like it.

Of course, with the new arrangement, J-F gets to spend more one-on-one time with Helena, and this is fantabulous.

Somehow or other, my days will assume structure. Dammit, I can still go for walks in the park.

Today's words: "people," "I finit" (I'm finished), "a-to" (which, heard amid various cries, shrieks, and head-shaking, while trying to rinse away chlorine and other residue, I finally determined means "I'm tired.")

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