I love kids, don’t you? Who else in this world has the complete freedom to simply laugh at nothing? Children love to be talked to and spent time with. Children it is said giggle 400 times a day! Who would believe that a twisted pipe cleaner lying on the floor would be funny? Just ask a four year old.
I tried an experiment the other day. I decided to laugh each time the little toddler I care for laughed. I was amazed! I tried to visualize what he found so funny, and laughed along, even if I didn’t feel it. By the end of an hour my cheeks hurt from supporting my upturned lips. My heart felt great! We laughed at the trucks driving by, the fuzzy lint on the carpet, the silly cartoon on TV, a simple game of run and launch where you fling your body into the arms of an adult, (I was the adult), and a mutual game of tickle. You get the picture.
Everyday as a Nursery School Teacher I enjoyed the work with my two and three year old class. There were moments when I wondered if I’d undertaken the impossible. However year after year these children eat, play learn and laugh together. This group by each year’s end have gelled together to know each other intimately and have knitted themselves into the fabric of my heart. These are their stories, their funny moments which I share with you here.
The Fine Art of Balloon Management
Keeping a group of eight children engaged, organized and interested can be quite the challenge. I have likened it to keeping eight balloons under water at the same time. If you could enter my brain for only a slice of the mental process during class time, it would sound something like this. OK. Activity time. Let’s see, oh yes I was going to do a painting activity. I’ll let them play and open the paints and set up the table then call them over one by one.
“Jimmy, can you please come down from the bookshelf?” Now, to clear the table.
“Tanya, stop walking on Tara’s activity. “ OK table cleared. Let’s get the paints and the paper plates. Where did I put the blue bottle? hmmmm.
“Sandra, come here please. Use a tissue to wipe your nose, not your fingers… Jimmy – look at the books on the floor now… please pick them up.” Ok, I got the paper, the plates the paint… now for the brushes and water for rinsing.
“No, no, no, the painting is not ready yet, Sophia… would you like to wait in the waiting chair?” Now where was that blue bottle?
“Cody… are you doing a pee pee dance? Come on, let’s sit on the potty!” “Yes Brittany, you can come too!” Sigh I guess we can paint without the blue.
“OK Cody, pants down, sit down… good, go pee, wash hands, I’ll come back to help” Now I’ve got it ready. Who can I call first?
“Jimmy, really, that wasn’t nice… please give Sophia her book.” Snack! oh dear, yes it is snack time… OK put the art away, I guess I will get to it tomorrow.
“Tanya and Tara, walking feet!”
“Malcolm, good morning! It’s OK Mrs. Sterling that you are late. We are just about to start snack.”
“Cody… please, we have to put a new pull-up on you… get back in the bathroom!
“OK everyone, time to tidy up, it’s snack time. No time to paint today.” Sigh.
“Oh no, Malcolm, blue paint all over the floor!!”
“Quiet book time, everyone!”
After a morning like this, at times my only solace was to get this energetic bunch outside and have a bit of a mental break from it all in the fresh outdoors. One day after many interruptions or ‘kid’teruptions I made it to a grassy spot to enjoy a snack myself and monitor the children at play. A small boy, impish grin mischievous by nature eyed me and my small bag of sea salted lentil chips as I took my first bite. He approached with a tentative step and asked, “Are those your mental chips?” Suddenly the irony of the moment in light of the craziness of the morning, I lost my composure and I dissolved into a puddle of tears and laughter.
“Yes, Oliver, I said, “These are my mental chips!”