Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why I am not a teacher…


I came armed with on Monday with a multitude of games and crafts and get-your-energy-out activities. With school out, holiday zest high and a unending supply of candy canes on the Christmas tree, super nanny needed to come prepared. We made Snow Dough, from a recipe I found online. It’s just 3 cups flour, one cup salt, whatever spices you’d like it to smell like, and some warm water. This was a perfect activity for my two ages to mesh on since the 6 year old can practice measuring, stirring, and kneading the dough, while the 2 year old can observe, knead, (taste?). We decided to add glitter because, well…what isn’t better with glitter? The great thing is that these smell Awesome baking (320 degrees for an hour).


We rolled the dough out and used the Ikea cookie cutters to make our ornament shapes, and stuck holes in the tops. We had a blast trying to make other animals out of the existing shapes. After we were finished we had to of course clean the entire kitchen and vacuum nearly the entire bottom floor since as we all know kids+flour+glitter+Christmas spirit= major mess.


Enter phase two of my day, with “Little Man” fed, read to, and put to sleep, “Madam Butterfly” and I had a playdate afternoon. This means 5 of her little friends came over for ornament making with Nanny Sarah. To make it only slightly more difficult, everyone was a different age ranging 4 to 7. In order to keep things going smoothly, I started barking commands. No one goes near the road. No one goes in the house without paint inspection. No one throws paint. Got it? It felt mean, but it had to be established. Mentally everyone got a number (since their names where thrown at me in a rush as their mothers dashed off in triumphant freedom). Mental count off happened every five minutes since everyone was running around the yard. To my dismay every one of them was deposited in their finest Christmas-children's-Boutique-Dresses. Were the mother’s somehow unaware that this was a crafting party and that paint would be thrown, tossed, skipped, spitted and chortled in any manner possible at lighting speed!?

The first thing brought up was who wanted to be what princess.

“Rapunzel!” “I’m Rapunzel too! “Belle!” “you’re not Belle, you should be Ariel” “I’m a prince!” “you can’t be a prince, you’re a girl” “she can be a prince if she wants too” “ what prince are you?” “I’m all of yall’s princes”

well that’s settled.

We started with the glass ornaments. Everyone got an ornament (with the sharp top already taken off) and a Styrofoam cup. We took turns and did one ornament at a time, letting the kids choose their colors. Some could squirt, some couldn’t, but the paint is poured inside and they get to roll it around. Stole this one from Young House Love. Next they stick their ornaments to dry upside down in the Styrofoam cup.

Then we painted our baked critters. The kids got 4 ornaments apiece and surprisingly there was no argument on who got what animal. Calm delegation happened even…I was quite taken aback. Painting these guys was a mess. I mean a mess like I’ve never seen a mess. Glitter and glue were involved to so I’ll just let you use your imagination there. I became the human napkin. Any extra paint on their hands was globbed on my arms (or shirt) from any direction. We had napkins, but at least they were being slightly conscientious of where they put their paint. This only variegated from my usual nanny role as a human kleenex a small bit so I didn’t mind so much.

While these dried in the sun on separate pieces of paper with their names on them, we made cards addressed to Moms and Dads. I squiggled out some star shapes in glue and let them pour the glitter. The front yard is festively shiny now.


Cleanup time. I am not ashamed to say that I lined them up and hosed them off  in the yard. Their smocks were deposited in a pile and each kid given some soap. I did hose duty and checked to make sure the precious Christmas outfits and hairdo’s were back as they were when they arrived. Snack time was on the horizon, but to buy some time we played Zookeeper in the yard. This way they dried and I could dump our remaining chaos in the garbage and clean the tables.

Zookeeper is a game we used to play in grade school: one person is the zookeeper and everyone else is a different animal. The clumsy zookeeper accidentally opens the gate and lets all the animals out. The only rules are that you have to run like your particular animal. If you’re a monkey, you bow your arms and legs. If you’re a giraffe, you run with your arm up. If you’re a sloth…..well you’re kinda out of luck. In this game I had three unicorns, a lion, a cheetah, and a monkey.

Then came the tricky part, getting my zoo inside but without waking up the 2 year old. I mean why not just invite an orchestra to play band music outside of his door? It would probably have been quieter. (FYI the whole time I had a baby monitor attached to my hip like some sort of giant 90’s cell phone- quite laughable). To insure our peace, I promised cupcakes to only those who were quiet. We sat around a table and played the questions game. I asked everyone in turn, their favorite color, what they’re most afraid of, what they wanted for Christmas. This surprisingly captivated their attention, I dunno if it that they got to talk about themselves, or that they felt important being called on.

Before we ate our cupcakes and peanut caramel popcorn, I asked everyone “any allergies?” just to be safe. I got a “  no”, no,” no,” no,” no “ I think so”. It was the youngest one. She then went from “I think so” to “ I am most certainly allergic to peanuts”. The whole afternoon, she’d been answering the opposite of everyone just because it was funny. I knew she was doing the same thing but of course I didn’t want to risk it. Thankfully I had her mother’s number. She answered, “ No, she’s not allergic to peanuts. Sometimes she thinks she is, but she’ll be fine.” I cringe. Really? Is this what kids are all about? Have I been away from kids for so long that I’ve forgotten how unpredictable and crazy they are?

Which leads me to the title of the post “why I will never be a teacher”. It’s pretty self explanatory. I could never ever deal with the kinds of things that I know elementary and grade school teachers deal with on a day to day basis.

Couldn’t do it.

I don’t know how they do it. I’m in awe. I ‘m lucky to be here today because I can imagine each and every one of my poor teachers probably had thoughts of killing me at one point or another. I remember being very full of energy. As a matter of fact, my poor parents….

Anyways. Ornaments were bagged. Goodbyes were given. I survived the day. I’m sure some of the moms thought they were getting monochrome dazzling works of art for their tree as opposed to the oozing, snot-colored creatures clutched in their children's painted hands. (There really should be a color named Kid-Mixed-Brown). That’s one thing I’ve learned as certain…you cannot wield a child’s imagination or creativity. You can guide, and you can hope, but there’s a special craziness there…and it’s beautiful.

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