Motherhood isn’t all heavy-duty exhaustion and selflessness. In moments like this, you get to be part of amazing stuff. My kids celebrated their birthdays for the first time with their classmates at school. We made cupcakes with their older sisters last night and it was quite a scene. For days, my daughter had been talking about the pink cupcakes with frosting and how her sisters were coming to help her make them. She brought the cookbook to school and was proudly explaining how she helped to make the cupcakes. She frosted, mixed, poured, measured. And the mess was minimal.
Part of the tradition in their class is to read a story and leave behind a special birthday book. We read one about penguins. And one called Maisy at the Fair.
Reading books to three and four year-olds is a treat. They giggled and interacted. They were curious. They waited patiently for cupcakes. Mary dismissed them to snack, and we watched as they chomped and chewed. It was fantastic.
I came back to my seventh grade class in a great mood. We talked a little about how funny it is that in three and four year old classrooms and in seventh grade classrooms, the kinds of things teachers say are virtually the same, but perhaps the tone changes.
Mary to the nursery class: “Please don’t hit or touch. No shoving.”
Me: “Keep your hands to yourself, please no hugging and poking.”
Mary: “Listen to the speaker, please. One person talks at a time. It seems to be Harry’s turn.”
Me: “Listen to the speaker. One person talks at a time. Max was trying to speak.”
Mary: “Pick up your garbage and throw it away.”
Me: “Pick up from your snack. Don’t forget your books.”
I am not sure what the seventh graders thought about the comparison. Maybe they want to see themselves as more mature and worldly than three and four year olds. However, in class, I spent a good amount of time reminding them to maintain personal space, listen to the speaker, and respect the raised hand. Being decent human beings takes practice and we need to remind ourselves of that continually.
Bottom line: Participating in the birthday celebration was amazing. Not much beats watching three and four year olds eat homemade strawberry cupcakes.
And students really love the stories of our own children. It adds a layer of intimacy to our interactions. I’m sure there was something very satisfying and amusing to them about being compared to the 3 and 4 year olds. I’m sure it sat more meaningfully with them because it was an observation you made at your own kids’ birthday party. This is going to be an awesome year for you, rich with incredible discoveries and connections.