The Thing About Toddlers…

Toddlers, pre-schoolers and kindergartners are so amazingly cute and adorable. Wise and witty. They are funny and insightful and precocious and downright wonderful, really. But when it comes to some things, I just have to shake my head in absolute perplexity. For one thing: why are toddlers/kindergartners/kids so distracted when you want them to do something (like eat their supper); but when they want you to do something, they cannot think about anything else for the next four hours, talking about that one thing INCESSANTLY so that you want to pull every strand of hair from your head and wind it around your ears to form makeshift ear plugs. WHY IS THIS (this unfair reality of life with a toddler)?

For another thing: why do these Delights of our Hearts have such selective hearing… when their young eardrums are at the prime of their life?  It doesn’t seemingly get any better with age, right?  So why in tarnation can’t they hear anything? WHY???  Let’s get real: I know they hear everything, I am positive they do. But I still must say everything at least TEN TIMES so as to get the desired result.  WHY, WHY, WHY???

And why in the name of time do toddlers/kindergarteners/kids up to age 7 know how to ask a bazillion questions at the absolute worst time- to which you have no answer and to which there may BE no answer (but to give them your i-phone and tell them to ask Siri); but when it comes time to pose a question to someone in a formal way, under pressure and on-the-spot, they draw a blank?
WHY IS THAT???? What is up with all this confusion, I ask you? WHAT???!!

The thing about kids and kindergarteners (and toddlers, for that matter) BLESS THEIR PRECIOUS HEARTS is they don’t yet know the rules.  They haven’t learned how to do things formally. They know how to do things informally- when the pressures is off. But when pressed to perform, everything breaks down.

Case in point.

So, we had a meet-the-new-RCMP-liasion PLUS Hallowe’en safety talk the other day in the library.  One month before the big day (don’t ask- it’s just when it was scheduled, okay?). Right off the get-go, one little girl took a quick first-glance at the “6’ plus many other inches” constable and promptly started crying. Shaky start. I don’t think the uniform/gun holster helped matters any, but everyone was really starting to warm up after we got Little Miss moved to the back. Phew. So, we got that all under control and started in on the safety talk.

Everything was going along swimmingly until the question and answer time. We explained that the children could now ask a question- which is to say, it was now OKAY for them to continue waving their hands like flags at a Canada Day celebration (which they had already been doing for the last 15 minutes anyway). So, the first little hand got picked to ask a question and she promptly said, “Don’t run across the road.”

Nice safety rule, but not a question.

So we tried another little waving hand.  Hand was up- that hand was picked…and then this (in a sweet little voice):

“Hold your mother’s hand.”

Okay…this isn’t working.

So, after a few of these more-than-valid insights, I stopped the show and explained what a question was, along with help from my cohort of other kindergarten teachers. We explained ‘who, what, when and where…” Gave examples. And then picked another hand.

“Always look both ways before crossing the road.”

So that was the end of that. No more question and answer with Constable Dave.  No more hand-picking.

Bless that poor man’s heart, I hope he will come back again in time for our Christmas safety lesson.

And in the meanwhile, we’ll be working on the 5 W’s.  Just in time for our next Q & A.

This one is for the boys… (MEN)

I heard from a man-friend of mine tonight that I don’t really write with a male audience in mind. So this one’s (mostly) for the boys.
For the men.
I want to write about everyday heroes. Because tonight in West Prince, where I live with my family of six, there are some men (and yes, women too) on call all night long with our local volunteer fire department ready to rush out at a moment’s notice to put out fires that immature, thoughtless pranksters lit with no consideration to the everyday heroes that would have to put them out. Men (and yes, women) who have a day job. Men and women who will stay up all night- on call and many of those hours on the job fighting fierce winds and fires), only to get up in the morning to head off to their day job. Because being a hero doesn’t always pay the bills. Funny about that.
I want to write about the men that are everyday heroes in so many ways. The men in my circle of friends that took the time tonight to take their kiddos out trick-or-treating. You men are amazing. You drove your kids in and out of fifty-bazillion driveways just so that they could run around your house before bedtime like crazed zombies on sugar highs. And you did it because you care. Because you’re everyday heroes.
I want to write about the dads that made their child’s costumes this year. I know of one child, a friend of the family’s, whose Dad made her a minion costume. That dad rocks. He’s my hero. I am a mom- I don’t have time for that stuff. But dads do.
I want to write about everyday heroes- dads that let their kids crash in their beds tonight because they’re scared of boogie monsters and goblins and ghosts and who knows what else. Dads that are willing to give up a good night’s sleep so that their child can rest easy- assured that they are safe and protected. Real dads do this stuff all the time. I know. I am married to one.
I want to write about everyday heroes. Men that build things for their kids. Men that show up for soccer games, hockey practices, piano recitals. I want to write about the dads that pack lunches for their kids. According to very particular specifications, in certain cases. These dads know who likes mayo and who likes mustard. They’re everyday heroes.
I want to write about the dads that commute to work over long distances to make ends meet. I want to write about the dads that take paternal leave. Those dads that are stay-at-home dads. You guys…all of you: you knock my socks off. I am so blessed by these dads. Thanks for making the sacrifice.
You are everyday heroes.
My kids go to bed every night knowing their dad is going to read them a bedtime story and say their prayers with them before their head hits the pillow. They know that if they needed him in the night- he’s there. They know that when they wake up in the morning, they’ll find him in the kitchen, making breakfast. They know that on the weekends, he’ll be chopping wood so that we have a warm, cozy house this winter. And they know that if they ever need strong arms to hold and care, his are always ready.
This one’s for the dads- you are unsung heroes and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Thanks for everything.

Halloween fun…

Halloween, come and gone.  And another fantastic Prince Edward Island Halloween for the record books.  Halloween is but a one day pass to the ultimate in children’s Mardi Gras-like carnivals.   During which, one is (of course) encouraged to eat as much sugar and grease as is possible for human consumption, forgoing anything of nutritional value.   All while moving at a feverish pace from one venue to another as if one is a rodent running circles on a hamster wheel.  And I am not even talking about trick-or-treating.  I am just talking about school-based Halloween activities.

We had more excitement today at school than I think we will have combining all other holiday/fun day/field trip activities over the course of an entire year.  Halloween is a kid’s dream come true: a time when they actually have so much candy at their disposal, even they come to the place where they must refuse eating the sugary stuff.  One little guy ‘cut himself off’ after a binge of gorging on candy and treats, complaining he had eaten too much.  Let’s just say that this child had probably consumed enough chocolate at this point to have made candy for a small country’s Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Easter candy supply, combined.  This is the expectation of course.  We eat until our intestines fall out.

And we wonder why we have so many digestive issues in our part of the world.

But there is just no way of convincing children to eat anything else but candy, on Halloween.  To start the day off, I was on early shift for the school’s breakfast program.  Don’t ask me why we bothered serving oranges, apples and granola bars on the morn of Halloween.  The kids were coming off the bus eating candy that had been handed to them by their well-meaning bus drivers.  Not sure why my offer of a healthy snack did not meet with more enthusiasm.  But for some reason, today we were just not the smashing sensation we usually are in the early hours of the school day.   And just for the record, any parents who sent healthy snacks to school today?  You might as well have saved yourself the five minutes it took to wash, dry and pack the apple.  I can promise you.  It never even drew so much as a second glance. #apple.are.boring  #candy.tastes.better

Oh, the fun of Halloween.  And lest I forget to mention the costumes.  Oh, the costumes.  Little ones with velcroed backs and zippered fronts; snaps and ties and buttons  galore.  Gauze and felt and fleece and foam.  Has everyone forgotten that these little people need to pee, oh, about every five minutes?  What is a teacher suppose to do with these marvelous Walmart creations?  I say Halloween costumes should be disposable.  Flushable.  When kids finish their business, one should be able to flush that thing down the pipes and go grab another fresh one from the pop-up container that has contained within it several vacuumed sealed, pint-sized costumes.  One poor little lady came beautifully dressed up as a witch.  By the end of the day, she looked like a gypsy on uppers.  My own child could have been thrown into the washing machine, costume and all.

But that is just the fun of Halloween.  It is a day of excess.  Too much candy, too much excitement, too much mess, too much activity.

I was expecting that bedtime at our house tonight would be like attending a House of Horrors.  My own personal version.  Surprisingly, it went quite smooth.  I had prepared myself for the worst, and was pleasantly surprised with how well everyone settled down for the night.  I am not sure why this surprises me so much.  After all, what goes up must also come down.  And after a day of flying high on candy and Halloween hype, not to mention the fumes from the smoke machine used for our school’s Haunted House, this mama is ready for a little kick-back, down time.  And judging from the quiet I hear on the floor above me, I think the kiddos are feeling the same as me.

Happy Halloween, all!