I volunteer a couple of times each month in Magoo’s kindergarten class. His teacher is sort of a national treasure and I like spending time in there. It gives me a chance to see how the kids interact and how Magoo behaves away from home. It’s like spying and service combined.
My duties involve helping the kids with projects and assessments, clerical work and the occasional bit of classroom management but I never really get to work with the whole class as a group. That’s Ms. Sweets’s job. I am only there in a supporting role.
Well today she’d completely lost her voice and was still trying to manage twenty kindergarteners. When it came time for her to read a story, I volunteered to do it since I was capable of speaking. She took me up on my offer and I found myself on the big chair at the front of the circle-time mat with all those little eyes gazing up at me sweetly. It felt like a big honor.
The book was Grumpy Cat by Britta Teckentrup and it was adorable but, being me, I could not simply read the story as it was written. I had to add my own twisted bits of humor. The basic plot is about a cat who is really lonely so he acts grumpy and pushes the other cats away. One little kitten tries to befriend him and follows him all over the place while he ignores her.
The tension was building as I read the story in my best cute teacher voice, moving the book from side to side so everyone could see the pictures. In a dramatic moment, the cute little kitten follows Grumpy Cat out onto a weak limb of a tree and falls. At this point I shut the book and said “The End.” Magoo laughed and the rest of his classmates seemed a bit confused.
“Just kidding,” I said and continued to read about how Grumpy Cat saved the little kitten, took her home and licked her all over to comfort her.
I’ve noticed in the past that Ms. Sweets sometimes interjects little things into the story to keep the kids engaged, so thinking that the kids’ parents nurture them in different ways, I thought it would be funny to make a comparison. I said something along the lines of, “Now do your parents lick you all over to make you feel better?”
The kids laughed but as soon as it was out of my mouth, it occurred to me that it might not be a good idea to talk to the kids about their parents licking them. Comments like that can turn into a brouhaha as parents hear secondhand that the kindergarten teacher was telling them that adults should lick little kids like they were lollipops or something. Ms. Sweets didn’t seem to find it all that amusing and I guess I’ll be rightfully banned from executing story time in the future.
A little slip of the tongue – pun definitely intended – like that can get you into a whole lot of trouble as an adult. I suppose I’ve been hanging around with kids for too long. When kids play around with words, whether intentionally or not, people usually just think it’s cute.
Wanda refers to her shoes as the “Shiz” and we all laugh. If I were teaching a class and said, “Hey, aren’t my shoes ‘The Shiz’?” that could be a problem.
Magoo recently informed me that the checkered flag on our GPS when we arrived at his friend’s birthday party meant that Jump Planet was our DESTINY! He also loves to play Epic Mickey on the Wii, which he refers to as Eff-ig Mickey. He loves that Eff-ig game!
Whether it’s talking to 5-year-olds about licking people or using fake swear words as we learn to speak properly, I think we can all agree that language is a funny thing. Context is apparently everything and there is an age limit on certain types of humor. I think I need to eff-ig grow up just a bit.