Aaron brings me home lots of stories, so I thought you might like to hear one, too. We keep in touch with another couple from Tallahassee, Zack and Laura, in monthly emails and here’s a clip from the last one Aaron, upon finishing his first day back to school, sent us (names have been changed to protect the vulnerable):
So, today was my first day back with students. Before I attempt any sardonic wit let me say with absolute sincerity that I love my job. Okay, now the day…
I had mostly kindergartners today. My last recollection of kindergarten was of a class of 20 all dressed for Sunday performing their end of the year concert in my room with the lights dimmed, parents crying and then receiving a bouquet of flowers from my principal after it was all over. The cold water came swiftly to my warm memories. They come in with such an enormous range of behavioral skills and knowledge. Day one of kindergarten is when you really see parenting. Amazing the disrespect for authority some 5 year olds are capable of. Amazing the learning curve of being thrown into school for the first time in your life. Most amazing is the courage it takes for a 5 year old to brave a world with new peers, new authorities, and no parents.
Today in Mrs. Wallace’s class: After teaching how to enter the room silently, take a seat on the circle and listen to the music, I see Katelyn with her head in her knees and her shoulders bouncing slowly. I know what is going on and I have only one way to describe my reaction. Remember that video uber-liberals like to refer to showing President Bush learning of the 9/11 attack while reading to a kindergarten class? If not, what happens in the video is that we see the news whispered in his ear, he pauses, then blinks a little, perhaps thinks what a president “would do” and decides to keep reading to the class. A few moments later, members of his staff come in and tell him basically “You really should get back to the White House now.” Well, I was President Bush and Katelyn was 9/11. I knew she was crying, I knew she wanted her mom, and I knew that the only male teacher in the school seemed awfully scary to her. I thought, if I approach her, I only scare her more, create a window for her to express her feelings rather than continue to stifle them (what I wanted her to do), and possibly make a ripple into a wave. I tried to teach on. She persisted and I caved. I asked her what was wrong and she wailed “I WANT MY MOMMIE!!!” I said, “Your mom will be here to pick you up in an hour.” To that sound reasoning she wailed, “I WANT MRS. WALLACE!” I said, “Mrs. Wallace will be here in 15 minutes.” To that unconvincing reassurance, she wailed with the existential angst only a 60 year old lawyer that never made partner could understand “WHY ISN’T MRS. WALLACE HERE?! WHERE IS MY MOMMIE?!” The world is so cruel. Of course, her cries continued, I continued to fuddle, and 10 long minutes later I manage to move into a class activity where she is allowed to play a shaker. The shaker finally calmed her spirits.
While Katelyn cracked today, I know from last year’s experience that others will crack tomorrow and still others won’t crack until October. But we get em all eventually :).
Seriously though, it really is a pleasure to be a part of this developmental stage and to be the music man at that. I hope to somehow teach them to fight our existential silence with song. Mom isn’t always there, but we can blow our horn and sing our song.
Clara’s doing lots of cute things these days, so here are some glimpses:
Oh, yes, we couldn’t wait to get Clara the noisiest, oldest toy since plastic was invented. Work it, Clara!
Clara and I like to chill in bed and talk to the dogs while Dad makes breakfast.
So when I get the notion to play dress-up with my baby girl, this is what happens. This is cute, right?
What is it about Goodnight, Moon that kids love? It’s the only book Clara sits all the way through.