Friday, May 29, 2009

An Interesting Day

So many great snippets of life and dialogue overheard, that I need to get some of it out of my head and onto some written format before it gets buried underneath months of mediocre dailyness. OK, so I'm sitting near the rear door of the #4 bus heading to work at 7:30 this morning, when a yuppie family boards the front of the bus. Dad heads straight for the back, alone, and mom stays up front with her two tow-headed boys. The older one is about 6 or 7, and he is giving an impassioned lecture to his mother. The bus is full of workers and students, silently partaking in their morning ritual. His voice is the only one heard. 'Why did you do that, mom?! Why did you make me run through the red light? I could have been hit by a car!' The mother must have replied, though not audible to the rest of us. 'Just to get a bus? You almost made me get HIT by a CAR so you could get the bus??' he said incredulously. Snickers from the back of the bus, as we imagined the kid calling his lawyer. I actually felt sorry for the mom. The kid would not let up, and his rant continued to be the sole voice on the bus. 'Imagine yourself, having a terrible time, and someone made you almost get hit by a car, JUST TO GET A BUS!' Now I started feeling sorry for the kid. The way he expressed his anguish made me jealous. The mom must have been doing something right. No idea how that one ended, as my day as a pre-k teacher was about to begin. I have been with this class as a replacement to their teacher who went on maternity leave since last month. It's kind of amazing how much there is to learn about children when you go from being a non-parent to suddenly being responsible for the growth and education of 18 four and five year olds. The parents bring their children directly to the classroom in the morning, so I try to talk with them a little. One mom shared with me that her son did not get accepted into a gifted and talented program. I was shocked, since this four year old was able to identify by name the pygmy marmoset (my favorite primate.. well, the Golden Lion Tamarin is up there too, now that I spotted one at the Central Park Zoo) from the library book I read to them yesterday. Another nail in my coffin for educational assessments. And then the day continued with tears (little girls claiming other little girls saying they were not willing to be their friends); my bossiest Leo girl, who loves to communicate by whispering directly into my eardrum, crying inconsolably sorrowfully- shaking her head quietly and muttering, 'I just want to go home.' When she finally told me what happened (another girl jumped in front of her in the lunch line), we coerced the apology from the perpetrator, and the victim was once more enjoying her pizza and chocolate milk. One boy, who smiles and waves at everyone in greeting upon his arrival, inevitably falls into at least three crying fits a day. The last one happened at the lunch table. 'Damien, what's the matter?' I asked. 'Alyssa did this to me.' And he mimicked a person bobbing their head from side to side with their eyebrows raised. This gesture has caused him tears before, and I just sort of accepted that it was insulting, but now I was really curious: what did that gesture mean? He couldn't tell me. Neither could Alyssa. I had to do some more probing. I asked Damien what he had said to prompt it, and he told me that he informed her that he got a second chocolate milk. I looked over at Alyssa. Then I understood. That's the gesture that signifies, 'And then what?' There really is no great response to that statement. After lunch is quiet time, reading a few books, and then nap time. For some reason, there seems to be the most potential for utter chaos during this time, and I'm still honing my craft with fixing this. What's funny is, these kids really love being read to. Even though it seems like their attention spans are shorter than five minutes, if they are engaged in listening to an interesting book, I can keep them audience for 15 minutes. Today they were cranky and moaning about being mooshed together, and I couldn't get that zen quiet that I like. So I dug deep down in my bag of tricks, and commanded them to rest their hands palms-up on their crossed knees, and chant 'OMMMMMMMM' with me with their eyes closed. Nobody questioned this, and it actually worked! They were om-ming away their shifty behavior, and in perfect form to listen to 'Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock'. I'd go on, because a lot more interesting things happened in my day, but it's your turn. How was your day?