Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Valentine's Treats... Gone Awry.

I brought on heaps of havoc in Tucker's preschool class today.

We spent the morning making Valentines for him to share with the three little boys in his speech therapy group. A little box of chocolates for each one, a card on top, all packaged in a gift bag for Tucker to deliver them.

Sounds easy enough.

As we drove to school, he counted them all, pulled them in and out of his bag, and recited the names of each of his classmates again and again. He was so ready to make his delivery.

When we arrived, Miss Jill asked if I could man the classroom while she ran to the bathroom in her five minutes between speech groups. (Boy, do I get that. By all means, go. I have a strong belief that teachers will make up the renal failure wards of the hospitals of the future, because we never, ever go throughout the day. I can help with this.)

One of Tucker's classmates was there already, and two girls remained from the speech group that meets before Tucker's. Tucker instantly started passing out his gifts - even though the little girls were not in his class and candy for them meant we didn't have candy for his buddies. Plus, there were nametags. Cute ones. I had thought it through.

They had not yet realized that he was trying to give these gifts to them, so I was gently gathering the candy before the girls' hearts could be broken by the promise of almost-Valentines. I turned around to notice that Logan had burst into his. He had broken the cellophane, taken off the lid, and spread his chocolates for all the world to see. He alternated between placing them on the table and holding them in his hot little hand. This was going to get very sticky, very fast.

So, here's the thing: if I am the teacher in that setting, I know what to do. If I am the mom in that setting, I know what to do. But I was neither the teacher nor the mom. I wasn't really sure what to do.

Using my gentle and persuasive teacher voice, I tried to encourage Logan to put the chocolates back in the box. He could have them after lunch, if his mom said it was okay. But as quickly as I gathered them and placed them back in the candy box, he was just as quickly grabbing at the box and putting them back on the table. It was a wrestling match.

Um, this isn't what I envisioned when I pictured Tucker taking his first treat to school.

Meanwhile, more boys are arriving, and Tucker was handing out his treats, wishing everyone a Happy Valentine's Day. Oh, dear.

Miss Jill returned to the classroom, just in time for me to hand her the remains of everyone's treats which I had collected after Tucker's exuberant distribution, including the shambled version of Logan's Valentine treat... now a broken box with torn cellophane, with a tattered nametag teetering on top. As I gave it to her and explained to Tuck that he could share his treats after school, Logan snatched the box of candy we had made for Miss Jill. And the whole thing started all over again.

Oh, dear.

Before I slipped out the door, pretty sure I was causing more harm than good, I apologized to Miss Jill. So sorry. We sure didn't mean to bring such chaos to the classroom today.

In the true fashion of an early childhood education total pro, she smiled and said, "Oh, it's no problem at all. They're all three. They're learning. It's what we do in here. Maybe before you go, you could sign up for a day to volunteer and add to the hands in the classroom?"

Yes. It's the least I can do. March 5. I'm the Classroom Mom that day.

(I'll leave the chocolates at home.)

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