Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chaos Theory


It all seemed pretty placid when I walked through the doors of Lukas' daycare yesterday afternoon. All the children were sitting calmly in a semi-circle with their tiny little backs to me, while the 'teacher' read them a story. I can't remember what the story was, but the scene immediately brought a smile to my face as I perused Luke's chart of progress for the day.

Then I heard him. Lukas was actually sitting in another teacher's lap, so I hadn't actually picked him out of the crowd on my initial glance. But I could see him now, and he was upset. Crying actually. As I went over to find out what was the matter, instead of coming to me for comfort, Lukas got up mid-story and made a bee -line to the sliding plastic curtain separating the playroom from the kitchen. He shook the curtain and wailed.

His teacher got up and explained to me that not 10 minutes before, Lukas had turned to see another mother, her back to him, leaving the building. This mother had the same hair and body type as Mrs. LIAYF and upon seeing this scene Lukas had called out "Mama", "Mama!!" but to no avail. They had been attempting to calm him since.

Surprisingly to me, my appearance had not comforted my little guy in the least. Worse, now he was shaking the curtain harder. Much like Dorothy trying to ferret out the Great and All Powerful OZ. Adding insult to injury, he was now hungry and snack time was in 15 minutes . I was there to whisk him away with an empty belly. He would have none of that.

Another teacher popped up, hoping to calm the scene. "Let me get you a cracker to go, Lukas". Bad idea. One by one the content pre-toddlers, upon hearing the word "cracker" lost focus, jumped up, and moved towards the curtain. The first teacher emerged with a vanilla wafer and handed it to Luke who was now on my hip with a birds eye view of the unfolding chaos below. Another teacher stood up and helped the first try to re-form the story-time circle. However, before one could be set back down, another would jump up and run crying hungry for the curtain. It was clearly a losing battle, but one they continued to wage.

Lukas, happy now, simply looked on from above, enthusiastically munching on his vanilla wafer with a grin. And with the hoard of hungry toddlers having re-grouped and in the midst of mounting another offensive, I quietly backed my way to the exit door and slipped out into the darkness of the early evening.

7 comments:

Rob said...

Awesome, James. I love that Lukas was reveling in the chaos :-) Great storytelling, too. I can just picture the madness!

morethananelectrician said...

The poor fella! The thought of his mommy leaving without him had to really be an experience. Once they get going it is hard for them to stop.

The terror must have been similar to the scene in Stand By Me...just substitute the crying and screaming for throwing up!

Ed (zoesdad) said...

Lukas has upset the delicate balance that is order in a preschool classroom. Sweet!

jeskates said...

HAHAHA! What an awesome story...
and just think...
it isn't fiction!

:)

NukeDad said...

This made me think that Luke is like Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac and the rest of his class is AIG, The Banks, Ford, GM, Chrysler....I hope those teachers get some more cookies!

Scary Mommy said...

Oh, the life of a toddler, LOL! I cannot imagine being a teacher and dealing with mass amounts of children all.day.long-- oy!!!

James Austin said...

@Rob - Thanks. I think he orchastrated the whole thing as a social experiment.

@MTAE - Seeing 'Mom' got the little guy hungry. Can't blame him.

@Ed - He did seem to get a kick out of having the wafer while watching the other kids beg to no avail.

@Jeskates - You can't make that kind of stuff up.

@NukeDad - I'm sure that like the auto companies, there were a few crumbs left for the other tots.

@Scary Mommy - Oy! For sure. Mrs. LIAYF doesn't agree though. She would gladly give up her corp job for the chance.