It was Oscar, the Kindergartner’s diffused look that made me want to go against “policy.”
I pulled out a large bag of Skiddles for the first science experiment and then declared, “Remember, this is not for eating, only for observing.”
I was stuck between a rock and a hard place when I signed a contract to adhere to all the rules of the private school, including no candy or food allowed that was not provided by the school. Yet the company I work for had sent a lesson plan for four science experiments that included so many types of delicious confections your heart would ever desire as a six year old. This was an after school program cleverly nick-named the “Afters.”
We fizzed, crackled, dyed, sunk and floated all sorts of candy with the end of each experiment taking all that sugary goodness and dumping it in the sink where it waited to be thrown away in wet chunks. It was childhood torture for sure.
Oscar was sitting quiet on the last experiment with his back turned away from me. Time was running out and everyone was taking their “experiment” to the sink for clean up. His table was being particularly quiet with two other little boys looking at Oscar. I walked up and put my hand on his shoulder letting him know that he needed to get moving. He turned to look at me with G U I L T written all over his little cherubim face. He was holding an empty cup while the other boys were holding their full ones that had recently dissolved pixie sticks which colored their water green and blue.
“Profether Picklethz,” (my After’s nick-name) he said, “I drank it. I’m thorry.”
And there it was. The hour of touching and smelling and watching and drawing about the science of candy was too much for his willpower to bear. He did not eat it, as I asked. But no one said anything about not drinking it! He did it quickly and it was done.
Of course I acted disappointed in him like a good teacher would. But when he walked away, I turned and smiled to myself and thought like I have hundreds of times before…
‘I LOVE KIDS!”