I am very fortunate to be able to eat lunch with Marley’s Pre-K class 3 days a week. I know that eventually she will be embarrassed by my presence and will want to crawl under the table whenever I show my face around her friends, so I embrace her invitation to join her at lunch with open arms. I look forward to my time with her and her class, as I get such a kick out of how their little minds work. I love the excitement and wonder that the world around them brings, the simplicity of their conversations and interactions with each other, and their explanations about how things work. Life is so simple, so happy, so amazing to them. Although they go to learn, they have taught me so much.
First off, did you know that eating a chicken sandwich makes you better at Paper-Rock-Scissors? Or Paper-Rock-Tornado-Froze-Flowers-Shark-Lightning-Rock-Thunder-Hammer? At first I didn’t really believe it, either, but now I will testify that it is a proven fact. After just 3 bites of his sandwich, one little boy spent the rest of lunch undefeated. Never-mind the fact that he waits until everyone else goes before he chooses his weapon of destruction, or that his little sidekick made a rule that every time she said “POW!” everyone but he lost. Nope, it’s all chicken sandwiches. I think it has something to do with the steroids and additives.
Shoelaces are the nastiest things on earth. Surprised? Think about it. Next time you find yourself at a primary school, just try to count how many tots are running around, shoes untied, strings dragging, aglets flopping to and fro. Now, think about bathroom visits. Little girls aren’t so bad, but think about the aim that little boys have. Yep, that’s right. There are probably as many yellow puddles in the restroom floors as there are kids running around with untied shoes. Now, think about the last time you saw a kid approach a puddle and back away from it, without stomping and splashing right in the middle. Wanna tie those shoes, now? Guess that’s why they stay untied.
Noses. Are. Nasty. Second only to shoelaces, in my opinion. Now, those noses are so tiny. Nostrils the size of pencil erasers. So can someone please explain to me how so much can come out of those tiny little snotter-boxes? It’s like watching one of those clowns or magicians pull a scarf, or hundreds of scarves, from their sleeve. It just keeps going and going to point where you’re not so impressed anymore, you just want it to end. I’m starting to think that some sort of Shop-Vac with a tiny little attachment may be a great idea. As long as I don’t have to empty it.
You can tell so much about a kid by how they color. Seriously, just hear me out. The more time that I spend with these kids, the more I get to know about their personality. They are all so different, so unique, and so predictable. As I look over the coloring pages hung up in the hallway, I can almost name the artist without looking at the name scribbled on it. I can see how the anxious, impatient boy has lightly ran a crayon through the middle of his picture. It looks more like he was drawing intestines rather than coloring. I can see how precise and perfect the bossy, controlling girl took extra care to make sure that her picture was the best. All of the crayon marks are going in the same direction, too. Then there’s the hyper boy that spends most of his day in “the bad room”, which I assume is either In School Suspension or the office. His picture is a little more than half done, as I’m sure he got bored, quit coloring, and did something ridiculous that landed him in trouble.
The barter system is in full effect at lunch. A Pop Tart is worth 4 cookies or 1 Reese Cup. Carrots cannot be traded, but given away freely. The same with grapes. Sandwiches stay with their owner, and no talk of trading sandwiches is allowed. Chips of different types all hold equal value, despite their size or flavor. Candy, regardless of the type, trumps all. If you have candy, you control all trade. You’re the Trade Commission, they are department stores. You make the rules.
Spitting food on someone is basically like stepping on their throat. It doesn’t matter what story you were trying to tell, or if you were choked and just performed the Heimlich on yourself. If food leaves your mouth and lands on someone else, you are completely at fault and should be banished to the bad room for all of eternity. No questions asked. I’m so very glad it’s not covered by Dram Shop Laws, although if these kids have their way it soon will be.
Love triangles start in Pre-K. At least in Marley’s mind. She is never directly involved, so I sometimes question the validity, but everyday someone else is in love with someone else, who is also in love with someone else. It’s like a tiny little soap opera, minus the evil twins and complex story lines. I don’t really know how much I doubt her, though, since yesterday I watched a girl practice kissing her hand. Before you get all worked up, it wasn’t kissing like you would see on late-night TV, but more like a snake striking. I really think she was like a tiny kissing ninja, working on her timing and speed to better enable her to quickly plant a smooch on the cheek of some unexpected, probably napping, little boy.
Lastly, I have learned that I need that time. I look forward to it daily and I am so very sad to see it end. I enjoy hearing them say Hi and Bye to me, I cherish the fact that at this given moment, Marley is proud to have me there, and I have improved so much at Paper-Rock-Tornado-Froze-Flowers-Shark-Lightning-Rock-Thunder-Hammer. I love getting to know these kids, watching them grow and learn. I know that my lunch visits will soon end, so I am savoring every last minute. And then I’m washing my hands.