Working with children on a daily basis makes my life so interesting. The last few weeks have yielded some memorable moments that I must share with you. I have found that entering a child’s world is a strange and exhilarating experience. I sing and dance with them. We make up games together. In the midst of a violent and uncertain adult world, I find joy in their innocence, their openness, their unique perspectives.
Listening and talking to them can be a crack up! One little 6 year old boy with rich chocolate skin, a nose as cute as a …well, button—with cheeks and dimples that make me want to pinch and kiss them alternately, asked me to sit with him. He remarked that he hoped we would know each other when he was an adult. Then he sucked in his breath, looked up at me in alarm and asked, “Wait a minute! When I’m grown, will you be DEAD?!!!” I calmly told him, “I doubt it.”
A five year old says to me every single time we see each other, “I just love your hair!” She said this when I had braids and also when I sported a curly fro. I think she’d say it if I had a bird’s nest on my head. Her friend calls out to me with much sophistication, “I want to work with you when I grow up.” The first graders point at the kindergarteners and sigh, “I just looove kindergartners, they’re sooo cute!” As if they are any less adorable.
I looked down at a preschooler once and said, “Hey girl!” She looked up at me with indignation and with a husky voice and an attitude replied, “I’m not ‘Hey girl!’”. Oh…excuse me, your highness.
An exuberant and curious girl with porcelain-smooth skin and rich dark hair stood closely beside me once, peering into my face while I pretended not to notice. She put her finger to my cheek and pushed in. “Why do your cheeks stick out like that?” she asked, concerned. I simply said, “I don’t know.”
Lastly, a peppy child walked by me carrying a plastic bag just a few days ago. I asked her why she wasn’t where she should have been at that hour. She raised her bag toward me and said almost cheerfully, “Oh…I had a little accident when I farted.”
I turned and looked out a window, trying to compose my face. “Well, that’s not good,” I said casually.
“It’s okay,” she remarked, “It’s happened to all of us.”
My goodness, that just might be true! At any rate, I was glad we had that talk, because it made my day.