Friday, March 13, 2009

Asian Rednecks (and the rest of Thursday Night)

I know this is a long post. I'm sorry. But you should have been there.

Last night Head Start had LITERACY NIGHT. Like most Head Start functions, LITERACY NIGHT came with free dinner and door prizes.

So last night we arrived and the first thing to notice is there are a bunch of round tables with seating for 8. They were already doing the announcements so I took quick inventory of what seating was left. The only table with five chairs was on the exact opposite corner of the room.
Aiden is like a celebrity with a lot of the Head Start staff and all the kids from the class he used to work with so while he hob knobbed with the choicest of 3-5 year olds, I made a beeline for the last table on Earth and started depositing as much of my stuff on the remaining five chairs as I could without getting inappropriately unlayered. I had thought ahead to the arrival of the table when I would have the kids put their coats on the back of their chairs but riding the coattails of Aiden's celebrity status was much more exciting.
Our three table mates was a family which consisted of a mom, dad, and son. The first thing I noticed is they were Asian. But the NEXT thing I noticed, as she stood up, was she is pregnant. Except it looked like she had just tucked a helmet into her sweat pants because the baby was SO low. Later last night I realized she looked like a cow, albeit a very skinny cow, who had stood up to two legs. Her baby bump looked like an udder!

The Asian family got up to go get their pizza but we decided to wait until the line died down. As our eating companions were returning to the table, Aiden and some of the kids went to brave the dying line. Which of the kids? I don't know. Why don't I know? Because I was too busy staring at how much food these people had on their plates. All three of them. I don't know about you, but when I attend an event like that, I don't pile as much food as I can onto my plate. There's other people wanting to eat, too, and I don't want to be the reason they run out of food. Seriously, the mom had 3 pieces of pizza, a HUGE salad, and FOUR cookies. She ended up adding three more pieces of pizza for a total of 6.

Look, I have been pregnant, and I know that by the time your udder is that out there, you cannot eat that much food. There's just no room. Clearly one of two things was going on: either she was not really pregnant, thus supporting my idea of the helmet smuggling, or since her baby was being carried between her knees like a hazing ritual and not in her belly button region, there was a lot of room in her tummy. Whatever.

The amount of food she ate was not the most eyebrow raising part of this family's free pizza dinner. No, that would be awarded to the part where they ate with their mouths open. And with sound effects to boot! (this did not do anything to lessen my udder-ly cow-riffic theory of her!)

It was like they were secretly proud of how gross they looked while smacking their .... huh. I want to say smacking their lips together but I honestly don't think their lips touched once!
We decided this is an excellent object lesson for our kids and leaned to each of them individually and pointed out what was happening. Then we asked if they now understand why we bother teaching them to eat with their lips closed. Very reverently, all replied "yes".
Seriously, though, how often does parenting happen for you? Like you're running after your kid to keep him away from outlets and then you drive down the street and watch some kid get electrocuted by a fork? Doesn't happen. Or you tell them over and over to not run from you in parking lots and then you watch a kid get mowed down at Wal-Mart (it would happen at Wal-Mart). Luckily, not the case. But this just fell into our laps. Awesome!
Anyway, it was like watching cud chewing by cows. Or camels.Or Giraffes.

And because so much of their food was falling back OUT of their mouths it was somehow a merging of these animals with Cookie Monster.

(If I had excellent photo editing skills I would have a better visual. Actually, if I had thought ahead and taken a picture with my cell phone... well, I couldn't do that very discreetly, could I?)

I started looking around the room. What I noticed is this: All the people in the room are low income. They have to be to participate in Head Start/ECEAP. But some of us take showers every day, brush our hair, wear clothes that fit, and present ourselves well. And some of us don't. Those who are hygenically minded also chew with their mouths shut.

After dinner the kids got to do activities in one room (brought by Palouse Discovery Science Center peoples) while the parents went to another room to listen to the connection between science and literacy (the star of the night)(unless you were sitting at our table).

We were treated to a woman from the science center, who had a fantastically authentic sciencey accent (Brittish? Australian?), read us a story called "Owl Moon". Then she talked about the details in the pictures and how the narrator (a child) was noticing all kinds of details. In science we call this observing and so here's a great way to read books with your kids, blah, blah, blah.

Somehow the subject got around to her and her kids and how they like to go for walks on Saturday afternoons and find owl pellets. In case you don't know, those are the balls of fur and bones and stuff owls "up chuck" after eating the mice and other nummies in the night. She told us how to tell the difference between pellets and poo. Then she explained her kids get to find them and then she picks them up with gloves on. Later the kids get to dissect them (we did this in fifth grade, whole other side track) to find the mouse bones and other such fun things but she made sure to explain that she sterilizes them first.

The less science minded mommies in the room (and Aiden) were all shuddering and quietly gagging at the thought of all this. One dad asked how she sterilizes the pellets. Her answer was 200 degrees for an hour.

"I save them up in a bag and then when I am heating the oven to make cookies or something I'll just pop those in first," she explained.

This did very little to calm down the gagging mommies (and daddies, including Aiden. Although Aiden was giggling with me about it. He puts on such a brave science face for my benefit. Or maybe he thinks I will mock him. either way.) . In fact, I think the collective gasp and groan was a good sign it was time to draw for more door prizes.

They had several really good door prizes and they had a bunch of crap that Bank of America had donated. We won a Bank of America On Campus t-shirt with a HUGE laundry bag (that says Bank of America), and a Bank of America travel mug. The mug is sitting in the sink until we decide if it's trash or not (it's actually nice-ish. Metal insides) but the rest of the prize went straight to the trash.

What we did not win? One of TWO hotel room stays at La Quinta and Holiday Inn, various packages of kitchen goodies, or an honest to goodness Cougar Helmet worth three hundred big ones. and I don't mean laundry bags.

1 comment:

  1. I never go to the Headstart family things. Maybe that makes me a bad parent because it appears that I don't care about my kids. Honestly, it has more to do with the fact that I went to a few of them 12 years ago when J.R. was in Headstart and really didn't enjoy them, or the people who were at them. I decided I'd rather spend the evening at home with my kids than dealing with cows who don't bathe. lol

    Oh, and the science stuff. It never makes me gag either. I find it interesting. It's hard to gross me out.


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