Fire!

A year ago, my parents sold everything and decided they would spend my inheritance and travel the world. We track their travels an a page called Postcards from Everywhere. Its been fine. They have a home base set up at my sisters new Dynasty/Dallas Epic Soap Opera type home. The sister lives 1.5km away from me. WAY farther than before which was 1.5 blocks. They are super happy. We refer to my parents as ‘foreign workers’ who live in the basement suite and make the dinners and tend the garden when they are in town. Soon they will be back on the road living in Kent, England for the summer.

I have become accustomed to not calling or texting my mom because she doesn’t answer her phone anyways, so I text Sister who then gets mom to call me. Its like I have become the centre of attention again. Its awesome. AND the best part is Sister gets the help calls…not me. So I win!

I didn’t expect to feel so lost yesterday… I’ll explain.

Saturday morning at 4:00 AM MST, my parents old home burned down. It was gutted. Nothing is salvageable. It was a couple of blocks away from me. My parents lived there for 15 years. It wasn’t my childhood home, but it was the home of my kid’s grandparents. The home they would go to after school for milkshakes and cookies. They home we hung out at for Christmas and Summer BBQs. The home where my puppy like to visit because Grandpa gives great ear rubs.

I received a text from my neighbour saying, “Please tell me your parents no longer live in that house a few blocks away”

Nope…Wait…Why?

We had heard on the news that a house near the park burned to the ground. I had thought, “I hope no one was hurt” but because it didn’t effect me, I was fine.

I felt the need to go and drive by. We drove past the house and I was stunned. I told the Hubs to stop because I had to get out. I stood in front of the house and told the Firefighter that my parents used to live here. I was in shock. I couldn’t process what I was feeling. I wandered around outside the temporary fence investigators put up, covered my mouth and just stared.

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It was surreal.

I swear I saw ghosts of Christmas Past wandering around through the rubble. I saw my kids run through the house and their giant cousins chasing them. I saw my parents sitting on the front porch. I saw my niece and Chatter Box sitting in the kitchen window decorating cookies.

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I didn’t know how to process what I was feeling. It was final now for me. It was no longer my parents home.

I went to my Sister’s home and shared the news and photos. Sister was stunned like me. My mom seemed okay…. it wasn’t her’s any more. Dad said he didn’t know how to feel.

But still…

I posted the photos on Facebook. I received a lot of lovely comments from everyone. But really…it was just a building that my family had no claim to anymore. Why was I sad?

Then my mom wrote something that snapped me out of my dazed and confused feeling,

“Actually I was relieved when I saw it burned. The new owners never looked after the yard so I can only image what the inside looked like. For some odd reason it feels better having it destroyed than abused.”

There you have it. None of us would drive by it because it was upsetting to see how those people looked after it. Sure it was their home, but they did not have the same values as us. No pride in their home. Thats fine, it was theirs to do with as they please. We just didn’t want to see. So we traveled a different way.

I have come to realize that I am melancholy for a different reason. My children are no longer small. Everyone is growing up with girl friends and boy friends and careers and life plans. I don’t want to hold onto them as little beings. I love that they have become amazing adults and have made great choices for their future. I love that they are so independent and our family moves together through the future independently, yet come together to celebrate success and support each other is time of stress and sadness.

My family is safe and sound. That other family needs to rebuild. They will somehow figure it out. We all do in the end.

The Gun Man

I have been reading a lot of posts from Canadians condemning the American’s right to bare arms. Oh Canada, take care of your own backyard before you start judging our neighbours to the south.

I am a Canadian, born and raised. I have worked in Canadian elementary schools most of my adult life. I have been in lockdown situations more than I care to think about. 3 of those occasions were because of a gunman. Gun laws and stricter school policy are not going to change school shootings. Only you will.

The man-child who was involved in the Connecticut shootings was the son of a substitute teacher. He was disgruntled about something. The school has a policy of keeping the children locked in for their safety. The school recognized him. let him in and he went on a rampage. The school policy didn’t save those children. Strict gun laws about assault weapons didn’t protect those children.

Teachers lost their lives to protect your children. They huddled in corners and closets keeping the children quiet and safe. When children cried, teachers would gently take the child’s face into their hands and whisper, “It will be okay, we will be safe. I won’t let anything happen to you.” The teachers lived up to their promise as best they could.

People who wonder why need to look at the broader picture. changing policy and laws won’t help very much other than making life more complicated for the average law abiding citizen. If someone wants a gun, they will find away. If someone wants to create a bomb, they will find a way. We need to think about why these people want these things.

Removing the stigma of mental health issues will help but so will kindness and empathy. Be kind to people, listen to people when they want to talk. Ask people questions about how they are and mean it. Be intentional with kindness and compassion. It may not save everyone but the world will be a better place for.

Peace and kindness is all I ask.

The dreaded first day of school

Today is the first day for school for most kids I know. Children everywhere are missing summer, feeling sick to their stomach and fearing the unknown.

Me too.

When I was in grade 3 I had moved 13 times. This was to be the final home I was going to grow up in. My parents carefully picked my school so I could walk every day and not have to take the bus like they did. My mom made my lunch everyday with fresh, good for me ingredients when all I wanted was peanut butter sandwich and an apple, everyday until I died. Never happened. She insisted on variety. She was concerned about what the other moms would think. News flash moms, other moms don’t come to school to judge lunches.

I had a milk card and could order milk or juice every day for 25 cents.

Hot dog day was the last Friday of every month.

I was sent to school with a new wardrobe and new shoes. My note books were fresh and tidy, I vowed to keep them that way. That vow lasted less than a week. I remember being nervous about not making friends. That was always hard for me. My brother had a knack for meeting kids and being instant best friends. That lasted until he became an adult and didn’t care if people liked him or not. I, on the other hand, worried endlessly over who would like me and who wouldn’t. I blamed my hair. To be fair, it was clown hair.

We all assembled into the music room. I knew not a soul. The teachers up front called out the names of children. I heard “Robyn” but didn’t budge. I looked around the room to see if the hundreds of other Robyn’s stood up to join the teacher. No one did. She looked to the other Teachers and said, “The new girl? Anyone seen her?” That is when I knew it was me. Here I was the new girl…again. Grade 3 and already been to 5 different schools, 2 of those 5 my dad was a teacher in. I typically bonded with the adults and not the children. Weird, still a problem for me. Most of my friends are much older than I. I am sure a psychiatrist will have fun with that one.

We were led down the hall and shown to our class. Ours was the one without windows. Part of a 1970’s fad about fluorescent lights being good for focus. Thank heavens the pilot project on “Open Classrooms” was done. 6 classrooms with no walls. I think the concept was for the students to mingle in non traditional settings but typical administration, you can’t possibly change the way things have been done for a 100 years. I emerged from grade 2 with chronic headaches and glasses. Still, a class of 30, no windows and a teacher who didn’t like her job and thought smiling might kill her was my destiny. I dreaded recess. I dreaded recess every day until Grade 9 when we didn’t have it any more because we were part of the high school.

School is a lot different now and yet exactly the same. Moms take care of details so kids don’t need to. Food is pre-packaged and not as nutritious so kids don’t have the capacity to stay focused. The teachers who now teach, are there because their school experience sucked and they want to make a difference. They become disillusioned with the growing class sizes, inclusion that doesn’t work and parents who are in your face with problems that aren’t really problems.

The culture of school in middle class communities is very different from when I was a kid. Good grades are expected. Children compete with their peers and parents are emailed if assignments are missed. It certainly is a different world. I remembering not caring about marks, some how as if by magic, good ones appeared on my report card.

The parts that will be the same are the kids the will walk into school with a parent, holding their hand and hiding slightly behind their mom’s arm. They will look on a board to discover what class they are in and see if their friends are with them. They will carry their heavy bags to their room and look for a desk with their name on it. Most teachers take away the scary bits by deciding that for you. They will talk about class rules, and decide which ones are important and help make up new ones. This creates a culture agreement they can live with. The younger grades will be paired up with buddies so recess won’t be scary.

Then it is time to go home. I remember walking home from school in grade 3 on my very first day. I lived 3 doors down from the school. I came home and my Grandma was there to ask me about my day, she made me a snack. Then my dad came home and asked me about my day and if I made any new friends yet. I said yes. Her name was Cheryl. We would be best friends for about 5 months until Carrie with the beautiful hair stole her away from me. I realize now, my shyness was the barrier between me and friends. By the time I reached high school, that shyness was almost all gone. I never showed it on the outside. Now, it is non existent. I had to learn the difference between shy and bold and walk the path in the middle. Not everyone figures that out.

Today is the big day for teachers and children alike. 10 months from now, we won’t even remember what the first day felt like because we are so comfortable in our classroom with the culture the classmates built with the guidance of the teacher.

Now if only I had a Muppet Lunch kit like my daughter has, it would be easier.

Things I learned in Preschool

Another year has passed by and I sent my lovelies off to kindergarten today. I cried during the good-bye song. I never do. 25 years and I can hold it together But this group was …. different. I cannot put my finger on it, but they were special in the way that I marveled at how smart there were. Not once did I have to say “It is not okay to lick the bathroom floor” Yes I have had to say it in years previous. I couldn’t trick these kids. They were on to me. Too smart for you Miss Tourist! It’s true, they were. I learned some cool stuff anyways. It is ALWAYS a good day when you learn something new, in this case -it was a good year because I learned 7 new things.

1) Kids don’t taste like cookies. One day I was sitting at the manipulative table talking with a young girl. We were discussing what made a nice person. We talked about being kind and helpful. I said to the child “you’re so sweet I bet if I ate you, you would taste like cookies”
The child replied, “no, I’d taste like skin”

2) Not all kids want to be teacher when they grow up. Shocking isn’t it? Around the circle we went asking what we were going to be when we grew up. I heard a Captain America, Teacher, Dad, but my favorite? A Psychologist. What 4 year old knows that? That was awesome.

3) When you live in a large family, sometimes you don’t know everyone. A mom brought a puppy to school to show the class the new family member. I asked the little boy (who was the owner of the puppy) what is your pups name? His reply with wide eyes innocence, “I HAVE A PUPPY????”

4) Four year olds know all about sarcasm. I often sit at the snack table and ask all kinds of questions. For example “what did you eat for breakfast?” The focus for me is to hear sentence length, content, vocabulary and if the child can follow the direction of the conversation. At the beginning of the year they would just look at me and blink. By June they would say “My mom made bananas and cereal. I then had cheese”. I would mess it up and pretend I didn’t hear what they were saying. So my reply would be “You had bananas, cereal and FLEAS? Is you mom crazy?” Today I knew they were ready to graduate because I received a sarcastic reply “Yes Miss Tourist I eat FLEAS for breakfast…”  That was AWESOME!

English:
English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5) Sometimes science experiments go very wrong and scientists never cry. We had 6 caterpillars this year and watched them change into chrysalis and then waited FOREVER to change into butterflies. Only two turned into beautiful butterflies. One had shredded wings. Two never made it to the chrysalis stage and one never came out of his chrysalis. The children decided that the butterfly with the shredded wings would be bird food. I swear to GOD that is what they said. “Poor little doody is bird food. Game over Miss Tourist” We talked about the other one that never came out, BIRD FOOD they all chimed in! Wow… practical yet heartless. No one cried.

6) No one likes food. We put a variety of fruit and veg on the table every day with the single rule of you must try. Try means touch, taste, sniff or lick. It does not mean swallow. Although swallow is what we hope for. We hear a lot of “I don’t like…” what ever is on the table and then we ask have you tried it today? Of course the answer is NO. Today we had a gift of Rainbow bread from student. I judged it just like my table companions. Only I never judge out loud. One gal said, I HATE RAINBOW BREAD it is DISGUSTING” I was inclined to agree, but we all had taste it before the ice cream celebration sundae social could begin. So we all poked it, sniffed it and then ate it. I am happy to report we did not die after swallowing it. In fact, it tasted just like White Toast. The young gal who denied liking it, divided up the Rainbow bread for her peers. She gave everyone a single piece, and 5 for herself. Apparently she didn’t hate it today.

7) I learned that this group was the very first group who really knew what it meant when you said, today is the last day. One fellow who was arguably the brightest in the class, didn’t seem to understand. He said, if today is the last day, what will happen when we get on the bus tomorrow? I explained to him, the bus won’t be coming. School is over for 64 days. Where will we go? he replied with a look of panic on his face. I held both his hands and explained again, Your mom will look after you. You don’t come back here anymore because today you are smart enough for kindergarten. He looked at me with a sad expression and said, but what happens to our school? Is it closed now for 64 days, just like the sandbox was when we put sand in our friends hair?

He walked away, and then came back to hug me. He finally understood – or perhaps he was in denial before. This was the class that cried when we group hugged, and didn’t want to run around the trees while we waited for the bus. They stood close to their teachers, held our hands and talked a lot about “remember when”.

You want to WHAT?

 

Dear Mommy DaVinchy, Mommy Einstein, and MommyMythBusters,

I feel your pain.

English: An afterburner glows on an F-15 Eagle...
English: An afterburner glows on an F-15 Eagle engine following a repair during an engine test run November 10, 2010, at the Florida Air National Guard base in Jacksonville International Airport, Fla. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just spent 30 minutes in discussion the 16 year old talking about strapping jet engines to his back and creating a series of controlled explosions to have him move 20km/hr with wheels strapped to his feet. He has created the plan, done the physics and discussed the “fun factor”. Before he sourced his materials he wanted approval for his project.

After listening to his argument for Pro Jet Packs – I said no. Listing the reasons as to how it would effect me.

  1.   Being a minor, I am responsible for his well being. I did mention once he turns 21, has a job and an engineering degree – I’m cool with it.
  2.  I do not currently have the time to to be engaged in regular meetings with a social worker from Family Support services due to my lack of judgement of letting my son play with rocket fuel.
  3. I have better things to do than sit in emergency waiting for details of fractures, comas, burns and lobotomies.
  4. Financial implications. Alberta Health does offer support for stupid acts of awesome, however they do not offer a pharmaceuticals plan. I would need Extra coverage from Blue Cross and I am currently not in the position to gain coverage for above and beyond the reasonable amount required by the average citizen.
  5. I have no desire to be on Dr. Phil explaining the reasoning behind not being a parent.

You see, I have a big opinion about parenting. I shall share this public service announcement with you:

If you choose to have children and KEEP them, then you must accept ownership. Part of this ownership is to be a PARENT not a friend, pal or buddy to your child. That is not to say it is not okay to enjoy them in a friend capacity, however – get your own PEER group for extensive sharing, exuberant activities and so forth. Being the parent requires the ADULT (you) to make JUDGEMENT CALLS on the activities the minor in your care wishes to make. This includes things that are life altering (wear a helmet when you ride your bike) and remember SAFETY FIRST. It is advisable and acceptable to say NO on occasion and you do not need to give an explanation. You are the PARENT. Do not worry if your offspring is going to hate you, THEY ALWAYS DO! They hate you because you are too strict, or they hate you because you are too lenient. You can’t win – so take my advice and do the right thing. JUST SAY NO! I do however, find it helpful to explain your reasoning as to how you came to this conclusion. It is important for emerging critical thinkers to understand all the steps involved in planning.

For example:

OffSpring – it would be cool to put on a cape and jump off a 3 story building.

Mom – No it wouldn’t and here is why…

Do not be afraid of NO. Practice it in front of the mirror. Say it out loud. Get use to hearing yourself say it. Then practice it on others, not just your child. It is OKAY to say no.

If you cannot think of a good explanation as to WHY they should not do something, then one of two things is happening.

  1. Their request is reasonable
  2. You do not have the know-how to understand consequences. If this is the case, then by all means allow your offspring to attempt this outrageous request. Darwin called it survival of the fittest. Natural selection by elimination has been done by nature for years. This is how humans keep the gene pool strong and healthy.

My 16 year old ended the conversation with “Well, now I know where the line is”

Damn straight Offspring, but don’t get too comfortable, it is my prerogative to have that line be flexible and move as I as fit. After all, I AM THE PARENT!

 

11 objects that define my life

Inspiration comes in many forms for me. I spent last night indulging in delightful conversation with individuals who possess the ability to think on a intellectual plane.  I loved it. I love sitting around a table discussing everything from values to books to movies to knowledge. I haven’t found many people who enjoy that type of conversation, but this week for me it happened three times! This morning I took a look at how I got here.

As a child I never felt particularly smart or clever. Learning to be a critical thinker was challenging but the payoff has been marvelous. Once again I find myself inspired by Broadside Blog. She wrote this piece that discusses her life defined by 10 objects. What is interesting to me is not the objects themselves, but the meaning behind them and the way they shaped her life. Of course I need to think about that now too! However, because 11 is important to me, I must think about 11 objects that shaped my life.

1970

1. A worn out ragged faded blue towel.

This was a towel of power. It transformed my life from dull and ordinary to exciting and powerful. I wore it proudly around my neck and became Danger Girl. The super hero who was fearless and could conquer anything she set her mind to. I learned from Danger Girl and the metaphoric cape it is not the actual power you possess but the perceived power that will help you reach new heights.

1972

Petit point sugar bowl

2.

Everyday after kindergarten I walked to my Great Grandma’s house so she could look after me until my dad came to pick me up once he finished University. My Gram would be waiting for me with tea and cookies, as well as a lunch suitable for a 5 year old. The sugar bowl was waiting for me to sweeten my milky tea and share about my day. I learned the importance of debriefing a day, either good or bad and having someone who cares about you to listen to the hardships and good stuff without judgement. Without judgement is the hard part. It is rare to find a person who loves you that much.

1976

3. My first Novel

I was 9 when my dad stopped reading bedtime stories and gave me my first novel to read. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I remember being drawn into the story as if it was a movie playing in my head. I was captivated by story and make believe. So much so, that I have never stopped. Reading is my escape, my refuge, my inspiration. I still have Charlotte’s Web. Both my children have read it and became readers themselves.

1983

4. My first pair of (pink) pumps

The 80’s, with everything ugly, led me to my pink pumps that I bought with money I earned from working at a ski hill. These shoes meant independence, style and flair, as well as emergence from childhood. I loved the comfort, the look and how I felt in them. They taught me that feeling good about yourself is as important as liking yourself. I had forgotten this lesson along the way but regained it in 2010.

1988

5. My first diploma

It had my name on it. I earned it. I was not proud of it. I knew I could do better. I felt shame. I went to secondary school because I thought I should. I took classes that I didn’t care about but knew I could do it. I never felt motivation. I never loved it. I never felt pride. I changed that in 2010. I still am not in my dream program, but I love what I am taking. I feel smart and I feel pride.

1989

6. My cedar chest

I asked my grandfather to build me a hope chest. I wanted to fill it with dreams of marriage and family. He did. It is beautiful. I am one of the few girls in the family who is blessed with his craftsmanship. I filled with china, lace doilies and quilts. It became tainted with hatred and resentment. I emptied it out and refilled it with my children’s objects. First blankets, haircuts and stuffies. It’s filled with pictures and memories of good things. The resentment I threw away. Now it is special once again.

1990

7. Gold Bracelet

August 22, 1990 I received a gold bracelet from my father with the date inscribed on it. He put it on my wrist and said “You don’t have to do this.” I replied “mom will kill me if I don’t” and we laughed. 4 horrifying soul sucking brain numbing lonely years of keeping that bracelet in my jewelry box. One day I took it out and remembered the day dad gave it to me. His words rang loudly in my ears. “you don’t have to do this” So I didn’t. Those words saved my life.

8. Crayola Collectors Tin

Christmas 1990 my mom gave me the Crayola Crayon’s collectors tin filled with the retired colours and the new colours. The smell brought me back to being 5 and colouring on the step of our home. Crayons and colouring were my refuge. Drawing, designing and colouring got me through some very dark times. Now it is worth $50 on ebay, but it is priceless to me.

1996

9. Baby Cradle

January 1996 I was lent a baby cradle from my aunt. My grandfather (the same one who built my cedar chest) built this cradle. We set it up in the nursery and filled it with homemade quilts. I would sit in that room rubbing my belly and talking to my son, who hadn’t arrived yet. I wanted this child more than anything I had ever wanted in my life. I knew what kind of mother I wanted to be and how I would go about raising my children. I did it. I have amazing kids. My greatest accomplishment to date. Who are we kidding, ever…

2010

10. The Edmonton Tourist blog

August 15th, 2010 I started this blog. It was meant as a life raft to save me and change my life. I realize the blog didn’t do that, but the life I led to write about it did. For the first time since I was small, I really like who I am. I finally love myself and it only took 44 years to do it. I am one of the lucky ones.

11. Return To Tiffany Heart and Key

2011 I drove to Calgary and went to Tiffany and Co. I bought a piece of jewelery that I love. What it looks like is insignificant. What it means is invaluable. I set of goal of working an extra job and earning money for this purchase. I always wanted to have a blue box with white ribbon. It symbolized independence, goal setting and achieving. I learned that setting goals and working toward them are as important as achieving them. I wear it like a talisman or badge of honor. It is a full circle moment because it is the perceived power of the pendant that has the same meaning for me as the ragged blue towel of my danger girl days. Only I can wear this pendant without the odd stares I get when I wear my cape.

Danger Girl rides again.

This may lead to the Top 11 people who shaped my life post…

 

 

Random Momness

Today has been quite the random nonsensical day! The odd quirky things that happen to me as odd thoughts run through my head are to obscure to keep to myself. Therefore I must share.

  1. String Mittens! How random is that? I grew up with mitts hanging from my sleeves because I was notorious for loosing them. I often had a single mitt or two right mitts. In fact, I currently have 2 left red Canada Olympic mitts in my cubby at the back door. I work with preschoolers – 32 of them actually. Only 2 use string mitts. One child wears them because I am sure her mom grew up with them here in Edmonton. They just make good sense for young ones. They ALWAYS know the mitts are hanging from the sleeve for the moment of need. The other child, is what I lovingly refer to as “an out of towner”. That means they are born some place hot – that means anywhere that isn’t spelled C A N A D A. Only this child wears the string on the OUTSIDE of her jacket. Odd… but common. I attempted to sho the child how to wear the mitts. I was told in no uncertain terms I was WRONG. Fine… But tell me, what is the purpose of the string then? For that random moment when you need a skipping rope? Strangling your brother? Tripping up your feet so when you fall your hands are strapped to your sides and can’t save you? Please tell me! I am now curious. For all you Out of Towners and Locals If you are looking for gorgeous mitts and sweaters and things, check out my favorite knitter Margaret at Knit Pickers. I love her Barn Sweater Touque and Scarf – I have been meaning to order a pair and will get on that soon. I’m sure she will add an idiot string if I ask her too!!
  2. I mother everyone. Random…but true. I have a student who accidentally calls me “Mum” hmmmm maybe I need to look at how I am treating him a little more closely. Sure I have favorites, but not all my favorites call me mum. THEN, after my son’s curling match today, I gave his teammate a lift. The manboy who is over 6 feet but has the face of a 12 year old was going to take the bus home. Yikes. It was dark, it is not the nicest of neighbourhoods, I would be up worrying about him all night, so I gave him a ride. He was very gracious and appreciative, his mom taught him excellent manners! (there is nothing I despise more, than giving some kid a lift and they never even say thank you! TEACH YOUR CHILDREN MANNERS PLEASE). Then there is another manboy friend of my son. He posted on facebook that he finally understood his math after hours of study. I wanted to post a long and encouraging comment…but high school guys don’t want a dodgy old mom commenting, so I liked…I probably shouldn’t have even liked – but I LOVE this manboy! I would adopt him if he needed me too. Speaking adopting…never leave your neglected child within arms reach of me. I will mom them and them try to keep them. Some people love cats, I like to mom kids.
  3. I am an awesome mom to strangers but a sucky mom to my own… I went to the curling rink to watch my son’s first match of the season. I sat for 5 minutes then fell asleep for 30. Random… Clearly I am tired. Well why not? I have been dreaming of beetles crawling in my hair and on the back of my neck so I wake up scratching my head. Not enough sleep… RAID!
  4. I have been doing a bit of Character Development for a pal of mine over at Back of the Packer It has been DECADES since I have developed original cartoon characters. I must say, it has been so fun! I have been doing this in support of his drive for 12 marathons in a year. Yes that is a random goal, yes my support of him is odd and random – but that is the type of friend I am – unexpectedly random. He is raising money for Make-A-Wish foundation. Since I love to mom kids, I love this charity too. I know children who have been on the receiving end of wishes and I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to see their joy! It does a mom’s heart good. Support kids charities!!!
  5. I read ABC Head Start’s Blog today entitled ‘Do you speak Head Start?” Why yes I do! I know…that is random. It is like knowing a second language filled with hidden meaning. Don’t know what I am talking about? Head over to her blog, its great…and a bit random.

So there are some of the random things that happen to me today. My favorite was a random story a student told me this morning, keep in mind he is 4:

The was an ocean and a forest and a knight and a princess and a boy who was a big boy and a boat and it roweded it. The Forrest and the Ocean and the Knight and the Princess and the big boy and a boat and the moon and the knight….

I lost interest at that point… It takes a lot to keep my mind in random mode.

Awkward…

I had an interesting conversation with a 4 year old girl today. Let me set the scene:

White and blue classroom with one small window in the corner. 3 small tables sitting in close proximity to each other. Each table has one adult and 5 children under five but over three….yes they are four years old. It was snack time and we were munching on apples and naan bread, sipping beverages of milk and water.

The purpose of snack is not the obvious. Nutrition and hunger satisfaction is not a primary concern. It is imperative that a healthy snack is provided, but the PURPOSE of snack time is to generate conversation and have the four year olds relate personal experiences. I think that goal was achieved today.

After labeling all the items on the table, food was passed around and the children served themselves. It was silent at my table. I mean you could hear crickets 40 miles away. I initiated conversation by asking about pets. Who had a puppy or a cat at their house? Silence. More apples were passed around. about 5 minutes later a girl – Who I will call Child 1- pipes up with “I have a rabbit”.

Me: Oh really? What’s your rabbits name?

Child 1: Fleosjfjrgssgjbkg

Me: Pardon me? Can you tell me again?

Child 1:Fleosjfjrgssgjbkg

Me: (thinking hmmm… I have no idea) What a great name for a rabbit! What do you feed it? Cookies?

Child 1: Rabbit food

Then Child 2 pipes up with a food related question. (Of course this is great news, keeping the story lines connected, everyone is on the same topic)

Child 2: Do you have milk in your Ta-tas?

My eyes popped out of my head.

Me: Pardon me? What did you say? (thinking I heard it wrong)

Child 2: Do YOU HAVE MILK N YOUR TA-TAS?

Me: No I do not. I don’t have any babies at home.

Child: Mommy is going to let her milk dry up too. The babies are too big now.

Then we got back to the pressing story of what rabbits eat. In case you are wondering what “rabbit food” is, Child 1 said it’s grass and pellets with carrots on Saturday… Now you know.

Things I learned This Year in Pre-School

Most of you know I am a teacher of young children 10 months of the year. Summer vacation is around the corner and I am very excited! Teachers are often more excited than children when summer break arrives. True Story.

Every year I learn a thing or two to add to fountain of useless knowledge. This year is no exception. Remember Kung Fu with David Carradine? And how he, the Grasshopper taught the Master and something new? Well, my dear readers that is exactly what happened to me. My young padawans became the Jedi Master and I learned many new things from them. So much, in fact, I wish to share some incredible lessons from my grasshoppers.

Things the Edmonton Tourist Learned in Pre-School

  1. You won’t die if you eat food found in the playground, on the bus, in the hallway or even on the bathroom floor. But fresh broccoli will kill you.
  2. Children have zero feeling in their faces from the nose down. It is completely numb. This is the reason their nose is constantly dripping. They have no idea slimy, colourful streams of mucus is always running down their faces.
  3. You can go all year without having soap touch your hands and NEVER get sick or miss a day of school.
  4. Wearing underwear under a dress or skirt is a good idea.
  5. It is socially acceptable to lick the bathroom floor. Your peers will not think it’s odd.
  6. If your bum is itchy – scratch it. If you can’t reach it – your friend will help.
  7. Closing your eyes makes you invisible.
  8. If an adult asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, say 4 and walk away.
  9. When you paint a paper gingerbread man and glue REAL candy to it, the grade 5s down the hall will eat all the glued candy off.

And the # 10 thing I learned?

      10.  Your mom doesn’t work at school, you have to wipe your own bum.