Thursday, December 17, 2009

Yes Patrick, There is a Santa Claus

At 9-years old I know we are on the verge of Santa leaving our house forever. I am grateful and somewhat amazed when we manage one more year. After all, he has two big brothers who have been in on the secret for quite sometime now and when you are in the third grade there is bound to be some non-believers around.
I know eventually the question will come up but now I'll be ready with an answer.

This evening we were running around trying to get some things accomplished. First to the laundromat to dry three loads of laundry because the dryer has decided to stop working, to the grocery store because we are having our holiday staff breakfast tomorrow and I'm in charge of the fruit salad, and lastly to Target to buy a birthday gift and some wrapping paper.
By the time I got to Target all I really wanted to do was go home. It's cold, it's windy and my nice warm house, my couch and my laptop were calling my name.

As we stepped out of the car and headed into the store I heard someone say, "Excuse me." There before us was a woman, without a coat, holding a box of candy canes which she had made into reindeer. She asked very politely if we would like to buy one, "because I'm just trying to buy my kids something for Christmas."
I had no cash on me. I apologized but told her if she was still here when I came out, I would buy one.
I headed into the store thinking Patrick was right behind me. but then I heard,
"Mom, wait!"
I turned around to see Patrick reach into his pocket and take out the three dollars the tooth fairy left him last night. He handed it to the woman and happily took his candy cane reindeer from her.
I teared up. He ran over to me in his happy Patrick way and I hugged him. I told him how very proud I was of him and how he just made Christmas just a little bit better for someone.
He said, "now I'm broke, but it's okay."

So someday when he asks me if there is a Santa I will tell him yes, of course there is and I'll remind him of what he did tonight.

Because tonight Patrick, you were Santa Claus.

Friday, December 4, 2009

On Letting it Go

When you're a teacher, especially a kindergarten teacher you have to know when to let things go. Sometimes letting kids have their way is not such a bad thing, especially when you know they're right!
Recently I've had to move some seats around during circle time. The dynamic wasn't working. Little arguments here, silliness there, it was just time to mix things up a bit. So I moved them around, splitting up best buddies or kids that just seem to not be meshing well these days.
I had them all stand up and hold hands so we could spread out and determine each other's personal space and then I noticed that two kids weren't holding hands.
*names changed to protect the innocent

Me: "Jason you need to hold Katie's hand."
Jason: "I ain't holding her hand."
Me: "It's I'm not holding her hand, and yes you are, you need to hold her hand just like the others are doing. It's just for a minute."
Little Boy: "Mrs. C I'm NOT holding her hand because she had her hand down her pants!"

Yep, let that one go.

With the holidays upon us, we've been talking a lot about families. We talked about how some families are big, and some families are small.
Side note...I have one little girl who is constantly shouting out answers when she's not supposed to. The one who just can't hold it in. If it's in her head it has to come out. We work on this a lot. I tell her to raise her hand, but she just can't help herself. Usually it makes me crazy, but today I was very grateful!
I asked the kids to hold up their fingers to show how many people live in their house. We have some 5 people families, some 4 people families and some 2 people families. One little boy, who I know has no siblings was holding up too many fingers.
Me: "David, I thought it's just you and your mommy in your house."
David: "Well, for now it is. How does a baby get in the mommy's tummy anyway?"
Allison: "Babies are a gift from God!"
Me: "Thank you Allison!!!"

Did I care at that moment that she didn't raise her hand?
Nope. Let that go too!

We have a little bit of free choice everyday. On Fridays if they've had a good week I give them some extra free choice sometime during the day. Today, with no specialist to go to I decided a little bit of free choice to start the day would be a good thing.
I pretty much try to stay out of their play, I think kids need to work out their own issues of sharing and negotiating all by themselves without adult intervention.
Sometimes little arguments break out and unless they get too big or physical I just watch and let them figure it out, which they usually do.
This morning I was watching an argument that was becoming quite heated. I was ready to jump in there and "fix" it. I walked over a bit closer just to listen.

Jennifer: "No, If I have the pointer then it's my turn!"
Laura: "It was your turn last time."
Jennifer: "But I really want a turn."
Laura: "It's not fair, give me the pointer."
Jennifer: "I got it first."
I was just about to take the pointer from Jennifer before she decided to use it as a weapon when I heard...
Laura: But I NEVER get to be Mrs Collins, it's my turn to be her!"

I smiled, walked away, they figured it out and I let it go.