Preschool teaching isn’t a walk in the park. It’s more like a trip to the jungle that leaves me spent and exhausted four days a week. It does have its compensations such as never having a shortage of funny moments and free entertainment. The best part is that the entertainers are clueless at how hilarious they are.
Since it’s Valentine’s Day today, I decided to write something fitting to the occasion. It’s about these conversations I had with some kids at school or their conversations among themselves which I happened to overhear. The topic: love and relationships.
THE HEALING POWER OF STICKS
At Fall Camp while going for a walk with a mixed bunch of kids aged 5-10, six-year-old Anetka told me she and 9-year-old Ron are “sitting in a tree.” Upon hearing this, her 8-year-old brother ran towards Ron and told him to better take care of his sister. Ron shrugged and said he liked someone else.
Alex, Anetka’s classmate at preschool, told her, “You should be with someone your age. Ron is too old for you.” Aw, did I hear a note of jealousy there?
She said, “But I love him. I don’t care if he’s older than my big brother.”
“Whatever Anetka, I think he’s really old for you,” he replied. Then he got distracted by a couple of sticks on the side of the road and went to pick them. For a while the whole business of trying to convince Anetka that nine is ancient and six is just perfect faded. When it zoomed back in, Alex had the best strategy ever. Or so he thought.
“Here, this is for you,” presenting her with the bunch of sticks and twigs he just collected. She rolled her eyes, flipped her hair and ran ahead. Alex pouted but forgot about this heartbreak in a bat when he saw another pile of sticks ahead.
The moral lesson of this story is…sticks have a healing power, you know. Just pick a couple of them and you’re good as new.
I NEED A BOY
Six-year-old Gabi asked me one morning if I had a baby. I said no, not yet. She asked if I would like to have one. I said yes, that would be nice.
She stared at me for a full minute and said – Nah, you can’t have a baby. I was like – whyyy? She answered – You don’t have a boy.
She sighed as if I just asked the dumbest question but replied anyway – You’re a girl, Teacher M. If you want to have a baby, you need a boy to help you.
Then she went to play with other kids before I could form a reply.
MANY FISH IN THE OCEAN
When Anna, our resident alpha girl, was about to leave preschool for a month to spend quality time with her grandparents in Dubai, one of her friends asked her if she wasn’t worried leaving her boyfriend behind. This conversation was going on while they were coloring flowers on their free time:
Anna: No, not worried.
Johanna: What if he’ll have another girlfriend?
Anna : Nah, not worried.
Johanna: What if he’ll start liking Lucy? (Lucy replied, “You’re silly, Johanna.)
Anna : No, no.
Lucy : What about Dorothy? (Dorothy shook her head and said “ You all know I love Kuba.”)
Anna : Nah, not possible.
Johanna: What about Simone? (who happened to be absent from this discussion)
Anna : *gasped, sat up straight, and dropped her pencil on the floor* Simone! Simone might be a problem! You guard him (from her), okay?
And with their mission established, the conversation shifted to pet shops, ladybugs and bonbons.
But the guarding never happened because there was no relationship to guard in the first place. When Anna came back, she staked her claim on the so-called boyfriend again but eventually broke up with him “because he’s such a liar, lying about monsters and ogres when they don’t exist.”
So I said, “Good for you, Annie. Never ever have a boy who lies. Besides, there are many fish in the ocean and you can always have your pick.”
Anna’s reply was, “But I don’t like fish!”
Oops, sorry, your teacher got carried away.
THE WAY TO A BOY’S HEART IS THROUGH HIS POCKETS
One of the girls last year told me she loved Jacob. I asked, “What happened to Matyas?”
“Oh, he’s not my boyfriend anymore,” she replied nonchalantly. Oh you, munchkin. Was he ever?
Me: Why? What happened?
Munchkin: Well, he always has green snot and doesn’t bother blowing his nose at all. I don’t think he will be a good father to our children if he’s like this.
Ah, so you figured it out this early, honey bunny? That the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?
Me: You can help by reminding him to blow his nose when he needs to.
Munchkin: Okay, but I love Jacob now. What do you think?
Deadpan Me: Didn’t Jacob say he likes Johanna?
Munchkin: Yes, but Johanna doesn’t like him and I think he will love me.
Me: Really? And why is that?
Munchkin: Because I gave him a crown* this morning and will give him more tomorrow. Not like a crown for a king but crown like money, you know.
I bit my tongue to keep from laughing. After which I think I said some lines from songs to her like “love wont cost a thing” and even dropped some heavyweights like “love, just like friendship, is given and not bought.” Then I excused myself and got out of the room. And there I died laughing.
*Crown or koruna is the currency of the Czech Republic.
So there. Kids, just like adults, see love in different ways and sometimes act differently when they think love is in the air. But the ultimate question is the same and unchanging: When you look through the eyes of love, what do you see? Whatever it is, I hope on this day it’s something that makes you happy.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all!
*Images borrowed from 123rf.com