I am finishing up my student teaching semester. I like talking to the children so much I keep getting them in trouble. I haven’t been fired yet, but I get “the look” from my cooperating teacher as if to say to me, “Do YOU want to go put your head down on the desk!?”
Yesterday I was privileged to be trusted with some very discreet information recently about the soldiers that lurk in the strange trees between our Kindergarten classroom, over the grass, down the magic stairs, and on to the art hut near the water. Fridays are the day we have to fend our way through that forbidding path. As we were getting in our line ready to leave, I whispered that I was getting very excited to finally meet the soldiers.
Their little elfin ears all heard. The children all began to talk at once which is common for all children once they get their own most important idea in the universe and HAVE to share it!
“They will be hiding!”
“They are bad Mrs. Edwards!”
“They don’t want us to get to art!”
And then the one comment that stood out which silenced them all.
“They are just pretend!”
Forcefully reminding me…
CAN’T SEE THEM!
All eyes were on me with a pause.
It was my test into their private world. I have seen it before. They wait, and watch and know, intuitively who will pass or not. I did not even flinch.
I stooped down looking into their beautiful sparkly eyes and I said with conviction,
“I see pretend.”
There was silence–
Okay, I passed.
We began our trek together. We tip toed through the trees not to wake even one soldier and made it safely to and from the art hut with ne’er a soldier casualty. I always wonder about those cameras recording as they watch me with the children…
It feels so fresh, with every day new to associate with little humans who thrill with a pinwheel garden blowing in the wind, where one lost tooth can stop all recess and have every single child come run to look, to giggle over blowing a feather from a straw, who yawn and toot when their bodies want to, who accept my age at 150 years old, who believe they are the king of England or have an appointment in Kenya, who have deep conversations about when their birthday is, what happens when the tooth fairy forgets, where the eye-spy-with-their-little-eye actually is, and rub backs or hug friends when they feel like it because they both need to…
Childhood is best described from this song from The Sound of Music.
“How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?
How do you catch a wave upon the sand?
How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?”
If you don’t capture the moment, it is gone…