Letter of the Week

When we attended Harrison’s Open House for preschool in August, one of the very first things they explained to the group of parents was Sharing Time. Each week, or most weeks, I guess, would be assigned a letter. On Tuesday of that week, each child would be able to bring in a sharing item that began with the week’s assigned letter. Simple, cute, and easy peasy, or so I thought then.

Actually, the first week really was easy. It probably won’t take you long guess to what Harrison chose (hint: it rhymes with Schmangry Nerd). And the next few weeks weren’t too terrible, either, although I realized by Week D that we don’t really have very many “big kid” toys in our house. We have dinosaurs, of course, which is what HD took for that day, but they aren’t real or scary looking by any means. Not that I think those are appropriate for a 3-yr-old to be taking to school…but it seems that a lot of our toys lean toward the younger, babyish, book, or educational sets (a.k.a. not always cool for school). Perhaps this is my subconscious helicopter trying to shield my son from dark and scary? I don’t know. But now, with each new week and letter, I find myself scratching my head and wondering if I should go to the store and buy some flipping new toy that would meet the letter and age requirements for preschool.

Of course I have not done that. We always find something that works, even if it takes two or three of us scouring the house to find an appropriate Sharing Time item. But somehow, Sharing Time has become quite the growing process for us…

The dinosaur was a great pick, but ended up in semi-disaster because we forgot to get it out of his back pack that day. I always walk in with Harrison to help him get his coat and bag off before RL & I make a mad dash back to the house for her morning nap. D Day happened to be the day picture orders were due, so I was far more concerned about handing off that paperwork and didn’t think to help Harrison get his dinosaur out of his bag before we left. When I came to pick him up later that morning, he was in tears by the time we got to the van because he didn’t get to share his item during Sharing Time. Apparently the kids all put their items in a box in the classroom and then the teacher pulls them out and asks the owner to share. Because HD tells me nothing about school, I had no idea this was the protocol. No idea it was his job (or, in his head, my job to help him) to get his item from his bag to the box. So we did an impromptu sharing there in the van where I held up the toy, asked who it belonged to and then listened as he told me about it. Whew for thinking on my feet. Crisis averted!

We spent the next week talking about how we would help each other remember to get his next sharing item from his bag. Seriously – all week we discussed it and obviously we did just that the following Tuesday, even though I cannot for the life of me remember now what he took for “E” that week. It was the week after that that caused us more heartache. On Letter “F”‘s day, when I came back to collect him, his teacher was carrying his firetruck. I thought nothing of it until she handed it to me, explaining that he did not get to share it that day because he wouldn’t sit down during sharing time. Alright then. Totally understand and appreciate the rule and her adherence to it. But you can probably imagine what we spent that next week talking about!

Letter G and Letter H, no problems…a gorilla and a hat and we were good. But now tomorrow is Letter I and I have hit another wall. Honestly. The only things I could think of (because let’s face it – because I am part helicpoter, this is more my assignment than it is his) were ice cream, instant coffee, and Isotoners. I don’t even own Isotoners any more and didn’t really think the other two were great options for putting in his school bag, you know? Then I thought of igloo and instrument but yeah right on either of those. We love music but have no toy instruments beyond some baby toys that I knew he would instantly reject (because, I promise, he does have final say in the picking, even if I do a lot of the finding).

My next option? Google. I kid you not. This morning I typed “preschool sharing item I” into the almighty Google. And even if it failed! Well, not really, but it did not give me the magical list of Letter I items appropriate for a 3-yr-old to take to preschool for Sharing Time for which I was hoping. Really Google? Thanks a lot. But it did lead me to a list of preschool crafts for the Letter I which is where I discovered Insect. Even as I type this, I am laughing at myself because of just how Idiotic and Insane this makes me sound (which the laughing at myself probably doesn’t help). But there you have it – a tired, frazzle-brained mama’s desperate attempt to keep from leaving her young son once again traumatized by the Sharing Time box. 

INSECT! I thought. Perfect! But then I realized, once again, as Harrison and I searched the playroom, that we have no little toy bugs or anything that isn’t babyish besides a little board book about insects and an insect catching Melissa and Doug puzzle. *Sigh*

So what is the final verdict for tomorrow’s item? Well, it is entirely possible that he will be taking the foam letter “I” from our playmat in the living room which he discovered after we gave up on the playroom search. At this point, I’m just glad we made it until November before we had to resort to such measures!

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Thanks to the pure genius and creativity of friends and family reading and responding to this post, we were able to come up with an entire list of I items (eat that, Google!). Harrison’s ultimate choice was an ice cube tray, which took some time to locate, but locate we did and it is safely at school with him now and even out of his backpack. Score, Welschies! Never before had it occurred to me that household items were OK; this opens a whole new world of possibilities for the weeks to come! 

And also thanks to the beauty of the Internets, a friend reading this post suggested keeping a list of these items so we don’t lose our minds when we go through this again next year. Brilliant, my dear! I have thought more than once, “How are we am I going to do this every week for a whole second time?!?!” But I had never thought to keep track of what we already brought. Since I can’t think of a place where I can write a list and keep it for a whole year without losing it, I will just continue to update this page. And, to my relief, I remembered our “E” item last night. Again, whew!

A = Angry Bird
B = B Block
C = Clock (Fisher Price old school cool)
D = Dinosaur
E = Engine (Percy flashlight)
F = Fire truck
G = Gorilla
H = Hat (of the chef variety)
I = Ice cube tray
J = Jenni (picture of Mama)
K = Keys on a Keychain 
L = Lego Light Man (lego dude that doubles as a headlamp)
M = Monkey
N = Napkin
O = Owl hat (this felt like cheating, but so be it)
P = Piggie (from Angry Birds, of course)
Q = Quarters
R = Remote
S = Stripey Guy (stuffed animal thing with stripes)
T = Thomas the Train
U = Uncle John (or a picture of him, anyway; but saving this one for next year b/c HD was sick and missed this day)
V = Vegetable (of the plastic variety)
W = Watermelon (also plastic)
X = Xray
Y = missed this week due to illness – Yellow Bird would be my guess for what he would have picked had he gone to school this day
Z = Zebra (duh?!)

The Extras:
Something Thankful For: Book (I’ll Teach My Dog 100 Words, I believe)
Ornament: Two homemade ones from Grandma Deb’s little Christmas tree
Something Loved: Moo Cow (of course)

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