The Cinderella Blues

Recently I had a great disappointment while going on a field trip with my second grade class to see the musical “Cinderella.” I was very excited to use this trip as fodder for my next slightly-angsty, hopefully comedic, blog post.

Alas. It was not to be. Everything went according to plan. All the students and teachers and parent volunteers were present and accounted for at the appropriate time. I did not forget to bring the medication for one student. I even brought a water bottle in case she needed it to swallow the pill.

Each student returned their permission slip on time – even our new student who had only received the letter the day before. One student, who had loudly proclaimed that he would under no circumstances be attending such a girly affair, showed up [despite claims that he would be “home sick” that day] and did not even berate the other boys as they excitedly discussed who they would sit next to on the bus.

The bus had enough seats and arrived on time. We left school at 8:30am. The children were chatty, but no one screamed or punched on the bus.

When we arrived at the performance the class formed a line. The line was neither straight, nor silent. But they’re in second grade – if the line had been straight and silent I would have quarantined the class in order to identify what horrifying illness had brought their childhoods to untimely ends.

We were seated in the front 6 rows. The. Front. Rows. Everyone had a wonderful view. No one had an excuse to stand up on his chair or complain that the person in front of them had hair that was too voluminous.

The classroom teacher and I were able to strategically organize the seating arrangement [“boy, girl; boy, girl; isn’t this nice?”] so that no one would be sitting next to their partner in crime. No one cried when we moved them.

During the performance children did not talk. Or laugh inappropriately. Or sing along. Or boo. Or swing their tip-uppy chairs. Or catcall the actors. No children shouted “Ewwww” during the kissing scenes.

When it came time to leave our students stood up and formed a line. They followed the teachers towards the busses. They climbed on the busses. No one was missing. They did not sit quietly. They are 8 years old. They are physically incapable of sitting quietly.

When we arrived back from the field trip we went straight to the lunchroom and we ate lunch.

I shouldn’t have written this. I’m going to jinx it.

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On Live-Tweeting

Lately I’ve been thinking about the swiftness with which I can exhibit my thoughts and actions to the world. Within seconds I can shoot my 140 character ideas out for the rest of the world to see, or I can post a photo of myself [or anyone or anything else I want] up on the internet, or I can write out [much like I’m doing right now] my thoughts in a very authoritarian manner for everyone to see and [theoretically] be impressed by my superior knowledge or insight or skill as a writer.

Recently I read the most hilarious article on Buzzfeed [which tends to pair gifs with one-liners to get the bang for their buck with every scroll of the key-pad] by someone who decided to live-tweet their first ever watching of the Harry Potter movies. It was hilarious. I wish I’d thought of doing something that funny. And it was good – because Harry Potter isn’t really a big deal.

Now [before you charge at me with pitchforks], I love Harry Potter just as much as any early-twenties-grew-up-with-Harry-person does. Several of my books have lost their covers. All of them have cookie crumbs sandwiched between the pages. I’ve pinned multiple recipes for butterbeer on my pinterest. But, sometimes I wonder if we bring that same live-tweeting attitude that this author brought to Harry Potter into the rest of our lives.

Perhaps some things shouldn’t be for live-tweeting.

I think we know this instinctively. We don’t often see instagrams of open coffins at quiet family funerals with the hashtag #rip. And at church on Sunday we don’t usually make youtube videos of our communion services. Some things are, quite literally, sacred.

Sometimes I feel like I should use my blog to write about things that are more serious. Perhaps I should talk about the horrific violence in the middle east, or the situation taking place in Ferguson, MO, or feminism, or politics. Or many other important things. The truth is, I probably should talk about these things. But I don’t think I should live-tweet them. Sure, live-tweeting is a great way to get short bursts of facts [facts?] out quickly to the general public. But it would not be a good idea for me to give you a play-by-play on my thoughts on sexism. Or my thoughts on healthcare. Or my ideas on education. These are important issues, worthy of my careful thought and, as such, I should take time to decide exactly what to say on the subject.

I could live-tweet my opinions, but, if I did, I think that almost every hour I would post a revision, or a disclaimer, or a retraction, or a rephrasing, or an update. Or, I might end up saying something totally embarrassing and ridiculous and then I’d end up posted all over the internet as a “Fail” and I’d never live it down.

So, for now, the hard and pointy-edged subjects will remain sequestered in my computer’s documents folder – snippets of phrases and opening statements ready for constant revision and rethinking. It’s likely that many of these subjects will never make it off the cutting board and onto the internet. And that’s ok.

Some things are sacred and I think that, in the same way we don’t instagram at a funeral of a loved one, we already recognize when we are in this situation. Some things are sacred and require our quiet concentration and reflection. Some things are sacred and I don’t want to belittle them by throwing unfinished and confused thoughts into the babble. This is how I feel about war and sexism and politics and crime – these things are important and deserve much more attention than what I can do with a 140-character statement, or [at this stage in my life] a 1,200 word blog-post. I’m not going to tell you what I think about these things because I’m not quite sure what I think of it yet. I do think of it. But I think a lot and it tumbles around in my head – but not yet out onto paper.

Maybe someday I’ll find words to put to what I see in the world. But, for now, I’m thankful for Harry Potter funnies to give my mind a break from the tumbling, confusing, complicated, sacred subjects.

Here are the Harry Potter funnies, in case you need a break too [advance warning: there’s some language in this]: http://www.buzzfeed.com/danieldalton/krum-like-it-hot#vxd1nr

Rest Stops

I’ve been on vacation for exactly one week. For those of you who don’t know, I work in 1st grade as a one-on-one special education technician in an elementary school. Next year we’ll be moving up to 2nd grade.

My family began their vacation a month ago.

I waited for this vacation for so long.

So. Long.

When last Tuesday finally rolled around I was just dizzy with the prospect of having my long-awaited break.

I’ve accomplished so much in only one week!

I’ve watched several [thousand] world cup soccer games. I’ve eaten several [hundred] avocadoes. I’ve watched several [dozen] episodes of tv shows. I played the piano [at least twice]. I walked downtown [thrice]. I bought new sandals and liquid eyeliner.

[Let me take this time to inform you, dear reader, that liquid eyeliner is a lot harder than it looks and, invariably, one eye will look like a super-model and the other will look like a giant squid set loose on you with its ink.]

Cough-cough.

Other things I’ve done on vacation. I made popovers and pancakes with strawberries and chocolate swirl. I started reading “The Book Thief” and went running 3 times. I took my brother to the ER. I ordered an exercise ball at my physical therapist’s recommendation. I got stung on the nose by a bee. I downloaded Snapchat. I dipped strawberries in nutella.

So far, it’s been awesome. Not even one bit boring. I don’t miss going to work every day even a little. I don’t think that everything was a tad more comfortable when it was about 30 degrees cooler. I don’t think that hearty stews and chillies are more delicious than summery salads. I don’t think brown boots with knee socks and jeans are more adorable than shorts and flip-flops. I’m not even one single bit running out of things to do. I didn’t rejoice when it rained tonight.

Tomorrow I might water the flowers and make sandwiches for lunch. Maybe I’ll put bacon in the sandwiches.

And it’ll be glorious.

Stuff Kindergartners Say

Yesterday morning I wore my hair down to school. I mostly did this because I ran out of time and didn’t have the chance to put it up in my typical top-knot, messy-bun style. I always wear my hair up to work because I’m convinced that every child in kindergarten is, if not infected, at least a vehicle for head-lice.

I’m feeling itchy just thinking about it.

Anyway. As soon as he entered the classroom one student threw down his backpack, ran over to me, and said, “Mrs. Muether! Mrs. Muether! Why is your hair doing that? It’s failing!”

I’m not sure if this insightful Kindergartner thought that I’d attempted to put my hair up and it was falling [and he’d just said that wrong word] or if he thought that my hair looked so terrible that it was literally failing. I will never know the answer to this. Today I’m back to the traditional up-do.

Last week I wore dangly earrings. One kid, in the middle of literacy centers, grabbed my earring [while it was still in my ear] and said, “Mrs. Muether! Why is there pink water in your ears?” I had no answer to that question.

During story time we help the children expand their vocabulary by choosing three words from the book to discuss the definitions of before we read. They then watch out for the word as we read as a class. When asked, “What does ‘tarry’ mean?” One kindergartner replied, “It’s what the mailman does when he brings the mail.” I assume this is how he feels while waiting for a Birthday Card or gift to arrive in the mail.

In addition to these strange outbursts Kindergartners sometimes just plain get words mixed up. One girl, while trying to tell us she went to a ‘fun party’ actually ended up informing the class, in a loud, carrying voice, that she had spent her Saturday at a ‘Fart Party’ – the other teacher and I took several minutes to regain composure and do some damage control.

Additionally in Kindergarten we have been learning a lot about giving compliments to our friends. If a child is doing a kind thing for another then they may get a leaf on the Tree of Kindness with their good deed written upon it for all to see. Yesterday multiple Kindergarteners told me how lovely they thought my tights were. My tights were plain, solid, opaque, black. One child told me, “Mrs. Muether, you’re a game.” Did he mean Dame? Did he mean that I am fun to play games with? I still haven’t figured it out.

If something falls on the floor a clump of Kindergartners will race toward it to pick it up first in order to get their very own leaf on the Tree of Kindness. Of course, if we do a kind deed and then rush to tell a teacher about the kind thing we just did we will not get a leaf on the tree. If we did that, as one friend told me, it would be the Tree of Boasting, and not the Tree of Kindness.

So far on this Thursday morning I have received only one compliment I’m beginning to wonder if I have something on my face.