Thursday 9th September
by Sonja Seawright
The scene above is what Ms. Erin walked into when she came to our house for the home visit, and why yes, that is a boat in our living room. I had gotten it the night before. In my mind, it was going to live happily in the basement when not in use, but after the experience of carrying it into the living room, my partner decided it might be best for it to “dock” in the living room for the night. She hadn’t been with me when I’d driven out to Bucks County and bought it, and I suspected that if I pushed for the boat to go into the basement last night, I’d be sleeping down there with it, so I acquiesced quickly.
In the morning, as we came downstairs, walked over the boat, and headed towards the kitchen, I noticed a continued lack of enthusiasm for maneuvering the boat into the basement. In fact, the mutterings I heard under my partner’s breath led me to believe it might be best not to bring up the topic of the boat AT ALL. After grabbing her lunch, I watched my partner walk back over the boat, get her purse, and head out the door for work. “I love you, sweetheart!” I called to her retreating back. The door slammed. I exhaled the breath I’d been holding. It could have been a lot worse.
So the boat was in the living room, and that’s where it was going to stay – at least for the duration of the day – which meant it would be here when Ms. Erin arrived. It wasn’t exactly the first impression I’d wanted her to have of our home. Naturally, I’d spent some time thinking of which toys should be on display (the wooden ones, of course) and how to give the space a “look how nice we keep things, not that we’re trying” appearance. Somehow, none of my ideas had included a twelve foot long boat coated in yellow plastic. Well, I thought, maybe she won’t notice it. Alas, even I could not convince myself of this possibility. Perhaps I could cover it up with a blanket? But we didn’t have any blankets of twelve to fifteen feet in length. No, there was no choice but to accept the boat’s presence and hope that she might consider us quirky or even (dare I hope for it?) endearing.
I decided that I would try to offset the boat in the living room by being engaged with knitting a wool hat when she arrived. I happened to be at a stage with this particular hat where I could begin a three needle bind off. A three needle bind off should definitely score us some points. I put the plan in action and was knitting when she arrived. I smiled widely when she came to the door and assured her that we didn’t normally have a boat in the living room. To Ms. Erin’s credit, you would think at least three other families she’d visited also had boats in their living rooms, that’s how nonplused she was by it. I’ll even go so far as to say that she navigated the boat in the living room like a sailor with a sextant navigates the open seas.
My daughter, Quinn, was ecstatic to see Ms. Erin (Quinn remembered her well from summer camp) and had a great time showing her teacher her favorite toys and activities. Quinn was also able to garner sympathy for a few of the wrongs in her life: for instance, the fact that her room is not as pink as she would like it to be (read, completely pink in every aspect).
As a parent, I continue to be amazed at all the things the WSP teachers do to get to know the children in order to support them in the best way possible. I’m sure that Quinn getting to see Ms. Erin one-on-one, and show her around her own space, will make the transition from being at home to being at school a much easier one.
All in all, the visit went as according to plan as it could go. You know, considering the boat.