Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"And Then We Roar..."

Just got back from teaching Nia to Jarrah's preschool class--a group of 12 two- and three-year-olds. I was a little frazzled because I was late, and then totally gobsmacked when I walked into the classroom (in two years, I've never opened that door unless it was time to go home) and the little cherubs were lined up in a perfect row on the rug. What the hell are they putting in the juice? Jarrah did leap up and shout "Mommy!" when I came in, but even she went right back to her place after that. Totally spooky.

So then we marched over to the multi-purpose room and I set up my music and instructed everyone to remove their shoes and socks. I don't think Barbara and Janet, the teachers, were too stoked about that. But they went along with it. It just wouldn't have felt right if I didn't give them the full experience.

I really had no idea what I was going to do; I decided I would just take the temperature of the crowd. We started with a cover of the Beatles "All Together Now" in which we skip in a big circle, and some chaos developed immediately. Also immediately, the performers emerged from the pack. I don't in any way want to suggest that one's desire to dance at age three is indicative of one's level of inhibition later in life, but I guess maybe I just did. About half of them started leaping and wiggling with big grins on their faces, and the rest kind of sulked in the background. I was determined that everyone would be smiling before I was done.

We moved on to Laurie Berkner's "Fruit Salad Salsa," where we shimmied like papayas, and then "Adouma," a great tribal rump-shaker that is my go-to standard for kids since you get to act like a chicken and also do a lot of yelling. For good measure, I threw in The Wiggles "Shake Your Sillies Out" and brought it home with Laurie Berkner's "We Are The Dinosaurs," which (not to compliment myself, but what the hell) was so the right choice. By then, the formerly reticent were out there stomping their feet and roaring, and I felt like I could have gone on for another hour.

Barbara said, "I see you've been holding out on us," which I guess means she liked it. I said I would come back any time. They were actually one of the easiest groups of kids I've ever worked with, even though normally that demographic is hard to reach.

On my way out, a group of slightly older kids surrounded me, and a few of them--one after another--asked "Are you Jarrah's mom?" I'm not sure what it says about me that I interpreted their tone as slightly accusing, or even slightly incredulous. I'm also not sure what it says about me that two years in, I'm still convinced people are questioning my credentials. It's not like four-year-olds think that way. (Do they?)

"I am Jarrah's mom," I said, trying to sound nonchalant.

"We saw you through the window," said one little girl.

"Did it look like fun? Would you like to try it some time?"


Ah, the honesty of children. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, it's like a ripe, exotic fruit. Touch it and the bloom is gone.


Cheri said...

But you're a rock star! I've seen you live!

David said...

I want to know if Jarrah was one of the early "performers". Sounds like a total success.


Sam said...

Oh, she performed all right. But I wondered if it was just a point of pride to do so, because it enabled her to stand really close to me and let everyone else know that HER mommy was teaching. ;)

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a fun time was had by all!! You are now a superstar with all the toddlers! :)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

It's great to share your talent with your kids and their friends.

Mary and Paul said...

Sounds like a blast!

You are very brave! Preschoolers are scary. I know, I spend my days with kindergarteners, but...!

When will it be the kinders turn?



Jen said...

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall! This sounds like great fun. And yes, you are a rock star!

Miss J

Marlene said...

Even parents who have kids who are punch outs of them, just smaller, get asked that in that accusatory tone. It's like, "Go ahead. Make my day." It's either that or, "Your Jacob's Mom, aren't you?" like I'm admitting to knocking over a Piggly Wiggly.

I'm not surprised that you dazzled them, sister. Cheri's right. You rock.

The Wades said...

You can paraphrase Oscar Wilde?! Wow! I think I can learn a few things here.