So how many of you remember reading, or having the story of the Monster at the End of this Book starring furry lovable Grover from Sesame Street? It was a personal favorite of mine when I was a child. I would delight in my mother reading it to me and all the emotion she put into the struggle not to turn the page. Grover did all sorts of things to prevent us from reaching the end of the book. He nailed the pages together, but we still turned them. He tied them together with ropes, we still turned them. He even built a brick wall in front of the pages so that they couldn't be turned but we giggled and still managed to turn the pages. Grover told us how very strong we were, and told us that not only were we reaching the end of the book, and the horrid scary monster that awaited us at the end of the book... but we were also making an awful mess. I read this book to the girls. The Vampire squeals with glee every time Grover begs us to stop turning pages, and tells me "it's only Grover", when I act fearful of that monster.
This book is the first book that the Drama Queen has begun to read. I have a few moments with her in the car every morning before she runs in for a full day of kindergarten, and she spends the time trying to sound out the words of There is a Monster at the End of this Book. This one small inexpensive book that mom passed to me from my childhood has brought an unmeasurable amount of joy. I sit patiently and help the Drama Queen sound out the words she has trouble with, and watch her sail through the words she has down pat. She doesn't hesitate or stumble when coming upon the word "monster" which I say with pride is a great deal longer than the little three letter words she is learning in school right now. I melt while she sounds out the word b-e-c-a-u-s-e, then turns to me with wonderment on her face and nearly shouts "BECAUSE!". I tell her over and over how proud I am of her, how smart she is, and how she is very nearly reading on her own. I know this isn't a product of my hard work, or my reading to her alone, but she is my neice/daughter, and I have such pride in whatever part I played to help her.
The Vampire was sent home from school today. I am a bit sad about this because I was under the impression that this Child Care Center didn't send children home for bad behavior. I walked in to pick her up for speech therapy, and the teachers are staring at me dumbfounded. I then announce "hi! I'm here to pick her up for speech therapy", and they say, "oh! well we just called you to tell you to pick her up for the day, she bit a child and broke the skin." I had to swallow back the tears as I glanced down at the child the teacher was holding. A little girl, with braids in her hair, wide clear eyes, and gauze on her finger where the teacher was trying to stop the bleeding. I looked into those brown eyes, and said I am sorry, then looked at the teacher and said the same. My heart had sunk to the pit of my stomach, as a little voice in my head said "it begins again". I tried to talk to the teacher about the incident, and how I was told that they didn't send kids home for bad behavior like this, and she said I needed to talk to the director, who wasn't available when I picked the Vampire up. It was a struggle over a toy, and when asked how to handle a situation like this, the Vampire can answer without missing the beat, and smiles "tell the teacher!". Yet when the situation is upon her, she falls into that comfortable old biting remedy. I can't help but wonder about how much blood she is ingesting if she is breaking skin on these bites. It really grosses me out to think of the amount of germs she is exposing herself to. I have tried to tell her she gets bugs in her mouth when she bites (cause she is afraid of them), but that hasn't even worked. Maybe I am not being consistent enough...
We saw the speech therapist after she was sent home. This woman is very nice, and seems to be just amazing with kids. She said that she thinks that the Vampire could be on the lower end of the "normal" kid spectrum, and have done just well enough on the battery of tests to not be included on an IEP, but still need help for one reason or another. I let her know about the therapists idea of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and she told me that it could be possible, because children with that diagnosis are very impulsive. The Vampire seems to be very orally driven and impulsive. Makes for a very bad combo in my opinion. I guess I could let my sister know in a letter the issues that are coming from the children, and ask her straightforward and honest if she smoked pot or drank while she was pregnant. It would help so much in clearing up this mystery of what is going on with the Vampire especially, but only if my sister would answer me honestly. If I don't try, she won't have the opportunity to lie to me, but I will never know. So the lesser of two evils could be to try.
I keep struggling to turn the pages of the Vampire's book, clean up the messes, and smile through my fears of meeting that dreaded monster that lies at the end of this book. I feel like I have pried the pages apart that were nailed together, cut through all the ropes that stood in my way, and even clawed through the brick walls that are placed in front of us. I hope that since I have survived these obstacles with my sanity in tact, that there aren't very many more roadblocks in front of us, and I can turn that final page, to see that there isn't a monster at all, but a sweet, blue eyed, blonde haired little girl with a heart of gold and a smile full of possibilities. That any thoughts of this monster lying in wait to hurt children at the end of the book, have been vanquished, and proven not to be the horrible vampire that everyone was so afraid of, but a precious little girl who has found that she isn't powerless after all. Maybe then she can take that power, and become the great little person I know is hiding behind the guise of a vampire.
With the holidays coming up so close upon us, I am scrambling for ideas of things to get the girls for Christmas this year. They both want pillow pets, and the Drama Queen walks around the house all day singing, "It's a Pillow! It's a Pet! It's a Pillow Pet!" I imagine those will be a favorite toy this Christmas, and the shelves won't stay stocked for long with them. Uncle M all ready bought the girls and their brother their unicorn, bumble bee, and dog pillow pets. I need to run out soon and get another unicorn one cause one of my niece is having a birthday party this weekend, and wants one of those (the youngest daughter of my youngest sister, not to be confused with the sister that sprouted wings and flew away). Other than that and some clothes, I'm clueless. There are so many things I could buy that they don't need, and they all ready have a house full of toys that they don't play with! When I show them toy magazines, they point at everything and exclaim "Oh TT, I want that!" At least they will be easy to shop for right?!? I know one thing I am going to do, I will get them both a stocking and put their names on it. Why you ask? I was reading a book about a boy who was bounced through the foster care system. He said that one house was good, and better than all the rest, and that the adults showed him what dream parents could be like while the rest just seemed to be there to collect the foster care money. What really awed him, was waking up to see a stocking on the mantle, with his name on it. Made him feel like he was actually wanted there. That is what I want to give these girls. They need to know... they actually belong here with me, and I want nothing more than their happiness. Maybe I ought to buy stockings and put Uncle M's and my name on it too, to let them see just how happy I am that we are a family together.