All I could think about was how many hours were left until my dinner with Shelly as I sang “The Wheels on the Bus.”  Jack tried to escape but I reeled him back in to serve out the rest of his circle time sentence.  Our teacher Mandy was too alert and too skinny to be the mother of four, as she claimed.  Someone once told me that her husband was a Hollywood film producer so I figured she must have a nanny for each child.  Her bony hands danced above her head as she sang “The itsy bitsy spider went up the water spout,” and I wondered how much she paid for the eye surgery that gave her that permanently astonished look.

“So what questions do you have for me this week?” she asked when we finished singing.

Several hands shot up.

“Well, Tyler had this weird red spot on his left earlobe so of course we rushed him to the ER and they said…”  I debated whether two glasses of wine with dinner would be enough or if I’d have to order a third.  Yeah, three.  Definitely three.  I’ll need that much to relax and open up.

Mandy called on the mom with fake boobs who drove the white Lexus SUV and was always replenishing the stack of business cards they allowed her to leave on the front counter.  I never bothered to read one of them, needing no confirmation that the word “realtor” would undoubtedly appear beneath her name.  Her question had something to do with how long it’s acceptable to leave your baby in a playpen while you work out, shower and talk to clients on the phone.

I jiggled a big ring of fake yellow and blue keys in front of Jack’s face to keep him from trying to flee again.  It seemed unfair, with all that tempting gymnastic equipment just inches away.  Like all of us, Jack just wanted more free-play time, time to roam and explore without restrictions.