Some days, the reality hits that I am 32 years old, married, and the mother of two beautiful children. When I say "reality", I mean the messy house. Then there is my 19 month old daughter running around, getting into EVERYTHING and telling me "no" or smacking my hand when I keep her from exhibiting her independence in such a way that she could hurt herself or her brother. Her brother is 2 months old. He is who I affectionately refer to as my "swine flu baby". I thought I had the swine flu last May... turns out I was having him instead! So in the midst of the chaos, I feel the effects of getting older... in my knees and back... and see the effects in the mirror in the form of all these pesky silver hairs streaking through my red! When I wanted to see the silver lining in life, it most definitely was NOT in my hairline!!
I will, however, miss this daily reality when I have to return to work on March 1st... back to the daily adventures in Kindergarten. When people ask what grade I teach, I always get the same response... "Oh, you teach kindergarten? It must be so much fun to play all day long, take naps and eat snacks!" What I wouldn't trade for THAT reality!! But, alas, that's not close to what Kindergarten is. Try - teaching 60 minutes of math, 90 minutes of reading, 45 minutes of Science, 45 minutes of Social Studies, 30 minutes for lunch, 40 minutes of "specials" (PE, music or art) and 15 minutes of recess. No naps... no snacks... and the only "playing" they get to do is in the 15 minutes of recess and any morsel of time I can justify integrating one of the academics into some sort of game or learning center. If they get time on a computer, it's utilized to complete a technology program which bores me to tears. However, at the same time, I want to rip my hair out because they are crying that they don't know what to do... usually because:
a) they weren't listening to the program/lesson
b) the earphones don't work
c) the volume was turned down
d) several of the above
So, obviously, it's not the same old Kindergarten we attended as children. These kiddos have to be reading before they leave for 1st grade. Not a few words... sentences. Plus, comprehending what they are reading! It's a little frustrating, to say the least. I see so many with no imagination. And, the best place to learn to use your imagination, is where? PLAYING! ANYWHERE! In order to be a successful reader, one must be a risk-taker. How does one become a risk-taker? Anyone? hmmm... through PLAY... that's my final answer.
So, when my sweet baby girl is playing with her blocks or her farm house or with boxes out of the recycle bin - I let her make the biggest mess she wants to. I am not going to interfere with her imagination at work. I join her, watch her and encourage her. We are tyring to learn how to clean up, but if I have to take extra time after she drifts off to dreamland.... so be it. And when my little boy is old enough, I will have double the chaos... so, in closing, let me say - I love the mess that is my home!