Paperwork, dammit

January 5, 2011

Dot is switching classrooms at her “school,” and what this means, because she’s a February baby, is that her two teachers and most of the babies from her old classroom are moving to a new room, without her.  In her old classroom, she was a month or two (or three) behind the other mobile babies, and older than the little ones who weren’t moving around yet.  Not surprisingly, she gravitated toward the older kids, wanted to sit at the table with them, toddle around like them, play near them.  She knew her group, and was comfortable in it, and we were comfortable, too.

But some regulatory reason (I really need to find out what, exactly, this is) dictated that all the little ones who turned one before January move up, and now we’re in the transitional space of watching our daughter get used to new teachers, new babies (this has been the hardest part for her, from what I’ve seen – she gravitated toward her old group but the new babies seem to make her want to stay on the outskirts), and a new space.  It’s only been a few days, and we want to give the situation a fair trial.  She’s an amazingly adaptable, sunny-natured kid and I wouldn’t be surprised if we were having a tougher time with the change than she is.

I filled out new paperwork for the new teachers, a new “Tell us about your child!” form that asks about favorite activities and foods, pets, songs, important family members, siblings.


“List your child’s siblings and their ages.”

(I wish I were better at swearing.  I’ve wished this before.  It’s hard for me to do it convincingly, but to humor me, please imagine a heartfelt and convincing, fuck, issuing from my mouth as I stared at this sheet of paper.  I didn’t really say it, but I feel better about it if I pretend that I did. )

And quickly, as if that will stop me from feeling it fully, I write down, “one brother, Teddy, deceased, but he would have been two.”  Two and a half, really, but I don’t think that level of detail is important on a form like this.

And today I will find a quiet minute or two to talk to the new teacher, explain what’s on the form.  It doesn’t affect Dot directly or change any of her care, not right now, but it’s a big part of our family dynamic and probably good for her teachers to know.

I could have left it blank, of course.  No fuss, no muss, no awkward questions or explanations.  But I can’t not write your name, right now, Teddy.  As it turns out, that’s something I just can’t do.

Have you heard about the scientific study that shows swearing (real swearing) increases pain tolerance?  Subjects who put their hands in ice water were able to keep their hands in the water longer if they said an actual swear word than if they repeated a non-swear word.  I love this experiment, not just because it’s kind of amusing, but because when you hear about it one of your first reactions is probably going to be “of course.”

Since I suspect I have years of ambush-y paperwork ahead of me,  perhaps my New Year’s resolution will be to practice invective until I’m fully proficient in the art of swearing.


  1. so she stays with this group the whole year, or she switches when she has her birthday?

    I would totally put Teddy’s name down – what if she brings him up (when she can talk of course).

    oh, and only if it were so simple that a swear word would help…

  2. Well I’m fucking awesome at it…so maybe I’ll teach you a few new ones!

  3. Oh no. I’m sorry about the paper work ambush. I had the same at J’s nursery which led to a very confusing and awkward conversation about her twin. I couldn’t believe I was still so damn clumsy after all this time. As I left I wanted to swear (an art that I am not proficient in).

    Sorry that Dot won’t be able to stay with the teachers and children she knows. I think that a sunny nature would be the gift that I would bestow on a child if I were a fairy godmother. I hope Dot will settle in soon. xo

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