Monday, December 12, 2011

A Dose Of My Own Medicine

I have a lot of goofy conversations with kids. I value being consistently thoughtful about what I say, avoiding being the center of the conversation, just shutting my yap, but I've always been something of a "quipper" and it bubbles up in school especially when I'm just hanging out with a kid at the sensory table or workbench or art table. As much as I scold myself, I've also come to understand that it's just part of how I play.

We made pink gak. It reminds me of Pepto Bismal and since I'll be getting a dose of
my own medicine in this post -- two doses, in fact -- I figured the pictures would make
appropriate illustrations.

When the subject of age comes up in preschool, and it does a lot, I'll sometimes insist, "I'm 4-years-old, too! Just like you!" The kids will then challenge me, "No, Teacher Tom, you're a grown-up!"

And I'll answer, "No, I'm only 4-years-old because I'm still in preschool. Next year I'll be in kindergarten."

"No, you're already a grown-up."

"I'm not a grown-up because when I grow up I'm going to be a firefighter. I'm not a firefighter, so I'm not grown up." How's that for a logical fallacy? But most of them have no problem picking it apart. In fact, they seem to enjoy doing it.

"You can't be a firefighter, you're a teacher!" Sometimes they'll concede that I can be a firefighter when I'm done being a teacher.

You know, it's that kind of thing, just goofing around. Eventually, we come around to my actual age, but I continue to insist I'm not a grown-up but rather a "grown down." (I've tried to find the source of this reference. I want to say it's Jules Pfiffer or Roald Dahl, but I can't confirm it so I'll have to count on a reader to remember where this comes from.)

"I used to be dead, then I was an old man, now I'm getting to be a young man, then I'll be a teenager, then a kid, then a baby, then I'll go right back in my mommy's tummy."

Recently, I was running this routine with a group of 3-year-old boys. I finished by saying, "Then I don't know what will happen to me."

River answered, "Then you get born again and grow up." His smile told me he was playing along with me, being silly. Of course, he might have also been intuiting the idea of reincarnation. He wouldn't be the first child who came to that idea all on his own.

I asked, "Is that how it works," and he answered, affecting sincerity the way he does when trying to convince me that a play dough cookie is actually real, that this is in fact how it works, giving me a dose of my own medicine.

The following day I was talking to Luca's mom Megan. She told me that she was preparing to get rid of some baby clothes and wondered aloud what to do with them.

Luca thought for a moment, then joked, "Maybe give them to Teacher Tom. He might need them. He's growing into a baby."

What wonderful thoughts we think when we goof around.

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MOM #1 said...

Baby Boy has some clothes I'll hold onto for you so you can be stylish when you return to those awkward teenage years, LOL.

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

This was fun to read. A happy whimsical post, with a perfect ending!
It put a smile on my face.
Thank you!