Days and Preschool Days, Too:
A treasury of anecdotes culled from my work
and play as a preschool worker and an elementary school after- school
One of my preschool friends
misses her mommy and likes to sit on my lap during play time. In her
case, I feel that rather than being indulgent, I'm giving her comfort
We've gotten to be very good friends.
Some children come to feel like family.
I use any diversion I can with this girl,
anything to help her to lighten up a little. I'll tell her, "I'm
your mommy!" or "You're my mommy!"
One day we sat there, singing together
about how we both wanted our mommies. That was the day I learned about
her dog, Paco, because she sang some verses about him, too. She did
still other verses about her daddy and her brother.
I feel bonded to this little girl's whole
family now when I see them. I give her mom "family news" when I share
about her daughter's little adventures during our school days.
One day the mom brought the dog when
she came to pick the little girl up. Right away I went up, petted the
dog, and said, "Hi, Paco," surprising the mom.
Another day when I was at the lunch table
with this child and several others, I asked her, "Is your mommy a good
cook?" In reply, in her halting, 2 1/2 year-old English, she said, "You
can come over to dinner!"
"OK!" I said.
"You can sleep over!" She continued.
"Could I sleep with Paco?" I asked. She
said that would be fine. I began imagining what would happen if I actually
showed up at their house with my sleeping bag. The mom answers and I
say, "Jennifer invited me to sleep over tonight!"
Imagining that scene made me laugh out
loud, and also called to memory an experience from many years ago. I
was with my girl friend of that time and her 2 year-old son, at a booth
at Mel's Drive-in, in Berkeley. The little boy was leaning over and
poking his head into the booth behind us. That booth, it turned out,
was occupied by Paul Krassner, editor of The Realist magazine and co-founder
of the Yippie Party of the late '60s.
Paul verbally embarked on an interesting
line of speculation. How old, he wondered, does a person have to be
before sticking his head over into the next restaurant booth is no longer
cute but grossly inappropriate?
The tie-in with my little tale above,
of course, is the question of how old a child has to be before his or
her "word" is to be taken literally. Once during Elementary Aftercare,
I jokingly told a little group of 4th-grade girls that we could meet
for a campfire and an overnight at a particular playground spot they
had made their own. I felt highly embarrassed when, a few days later,
one of the girls told me she'd actually asked her motherwho had
of course said "no".
I hope the mother knew it was a
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