Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cast and Crew

Boy, it's been a while since a Thursday Thirteen, huh? Looks like three weeks since I gave out thirteen awards. So for today - Thursday Thirteen #18 - I'm going to use the format to introduce you to the crazy cast of characters at my new school. While the children will be changing on occasion (and I'll let you know when we get new ones), this is the group for now.

Thirteen Folks at Lara David's Preschool

1. Banana Baby, aka BB - age 2
BB has the most flirtatious smile you've ever seen, and combined with her dimples and her adorable braided pigtails, she can charm the pants off anyone she wants. BB is generally very well-behaved, and genuinely wants to help the other children whenever she senses they need it - putting on their shoes, cleaning up after a meal, showing them where they left their jackets, etc. She doesn't talk much, but one thing she says almost daily is, "Have to grow up, Miss Lara - OK?" I tell her that someday she will.

2. QueenR, age 2
QueenR is actually amazingly developed for only 2, and it's easy to forget how young she is because of that. She is very spoiled at home, because her parents don't like to see her cry, so she's used to running the show. She doesn't nap, much to all of our frustration, because she has a tendency to start falling apart around 3:00 or 3:30. If we ever tell her to stop what she's doing, she has a justification for it, generally starting with, "No, I'm just..." Yeah, she's always "just" doing something.

3. Bossy, age 3
Bossy is kind of like Banana Baby in that she always wants to be helping others, but unlike BB, Bossy wants to "help" because she wants to control everybody else's business. She's a monster to her mother, which we've seen firsthand: "Mom, don't DO that!" (said with hands on hips, even). She is our hardest worker during activity time... when she wants to be. She's also the one with the best manners... when we remind her. Currently she wants to be doing everything that Elfin does, much to his annoyance.

4. Elfin, age 4
When I lay in bed at night, I am haunted by Elfin's high-pitched whine: "NO, I don't LIKE that!" This is what he says whenever one of the other kids is bothering him. I think it's great that he's able to use his words with his friends, but I wish he could say it without whining so much. He's the oldest of our regular bunch, and (mostly because of that) the most capable in our classroom tasks. He has a tendency to be a bit lazy, though, gravitating towards the mindless activities rather than pushing himself to learn. He's also a horrible tattletale, and will say things like, "Ayu is hitting Le Petit!" about 50 times in a row if we don't immediately respond.

5. Ayu, age 5
Ayu is our (the teachers') biggest annoyance every single day. His play is often violent and/or mean, including a great deal of pretend "shooting" with his hand pointed like a gun. He is far and away our most defiant child, always responding to us with "Don't want!" or, the more classically expected, "NO!" But he's not a bad kid (much as I often feel that way) - the problem is that he's just too old for our program. If he were in a school more age-appropriate - and with kids at his level - he wouldn't be acting out so much. He's a great artist and very smart, and I can't wait for him to leave us in two weeks.

6. Bebby, age 2
Bebby will be leaving us soon, and I can't say I'm all that upset about it. The reason his parents have given for his leaving is that his language isn't developing fast enough, so they're taking him to a bilingual (Chinese-English) school that will do a better job. Ahem. First, he's only been in this school for three months, and that isn't enough time for drastic language development. Second, they've had him his whole life, and he's had a nanny, and all he's heard is Chinese until he came to school, yet he has as much Chinese language development as English (read: none). We think the real reason they're leaving is that he fell last week and scraped his face, and they've determined this is because of our negligence. I get very annoyed with him very easily, which isn't good, but is hard to avoid given his complete lack of attention to what goes on around him. I want to say, "Get with the program, Bebby!" at least 20 times a day. But I don't.

7. Puff-Puff, age 3
Puff-Puff is aggressive to a fault; when you combine this tendency with Ayu's bad influence in violence, it is a recipe for disastrous play. In part because of this, he has become the villain of many "chase" based games. Peals of "He's coming!" can be heard across the playground, and the other kids play "Keep Away from Puff-Puff" every day, despite our admonishments. Unfortunately, Puff-Puff is also a HUGE crybaby. I hate to use that word, because it seems so unkind, but there's really no other word for it. Crying is, to him, a mode of expression, and he doesn't seem to understand that words might actually get his point across faster. He's another French speaker, though, so even when he does use his words, he has a tough time getting his point across to anyone but me and the two other Frenchies.

8. Le Petit, age 2
Le Petit started the same day that I did, and he's adjusted very well so far. He is absolutely adorable, especially his eyes, which are a clear light green, tinted with gold. He's a thumbsucker, which we're trying to break, but it's tough when he looks so darn cute. As might be assumed from his moniker, he's one of the French students, and he speaks quite a bit of French with me. Every so often, he slips into what I refer to as Franglish, including asking, "Pas more?" when he sees the empty serving bowl at lunch. So precious!

9. Bleu, age 3
The third and final French student, I only met Bleu a few days ago. He's been in France for the last two months, and when he came back to school, he told his mom he was "afraid to speak English" again. Thus, he speaks vastly more French than either of the other two. He's also forgotten many of the school's routines, which means he needs constant reminders. That will get better as he spends more time with us, though, and he's already remembering how much fun his friends are. His solemnity often makes me sad - he plays alone a lot and looks very serious when we speak to him. I'd love to see him giggle once in a while.

10. Princess, age 3
Princess cracks me up. Every morning, we have two hours of "activity time." The kids get to choose different activities to do, including numbers boards, color blocks, sorting tasks, and others. And every morning, do you know what Princess chooses as her activity for about 1.5 of the 2 hours? A hand-held mirror, which she uses to admire herself. She also constantly seeks praise, coming up to say things like, "I put on my shoes!" or "I washed my hands!" Given that these are completely expected for her age, we try to discourage her praise-seeking by responding with things like, "Yes, that's what you're supposed to do." We really need to break her of her self-centeredness.

11. Junior, age 17
Junior is working two afternoons a week with us until school starts up in September. Her time with us is good, because it offers Boss Lady a chance to get some work done while there are two of us with the kids, and it offers me a chance to not be all on with the kids. She usually spends her time watering the flowers with the kids or reading them stories. She's young, but fairly mature, so I don't mind the youth so much. The thing that does bug me is that this is obviously just a job with her, and she's never very excited to spend time with the kids.

12. Sahara, age 20
Okay, it's awful, but I can't help it. I've named her Sahara because that's what I imagine the inside of her brain looks like - just a big empty landscape. She is the most vacant person I've ever met, and therefore we can't really let her do anything important involving big decisions. She comes in every afternoon for an hour around the end of lunch to relieve me - I go get my lunch during that time. She's never said more than "Hi" and "Bye" to me. I'm not sure she actually knows any other words.

13. Boss Lady, age None of Your Business
As you might guess, this is the head honcho at the school. She owns the school and runs it out of her home. She's the one who hired me, and the one who has been teaching me sooo much along the way, and the one who already believes in me more than any of her past teachers (or so she says). She's a chatty lady, which is nice sometimes, though she has trouble remembering what she has or hasn't already told me, which means I hear a lot of stories multiple times. She's also very "no-nonsense," which can make her seem mean sometimes, but I'm learning to trust that she's actually a nice lady.

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Angela said...

That's a lot of darling little people. Can you handle all of that?

Anonymous said...

You describe your new little (and bigger) friends well - I'm looking forward to many stories with this crew =)

Anonymous said...

I love the "Sahara" reference. lol

Unknown said...

Hi Lara,

Your description of all the children brought me back to my teaching days when we had 'special' names to remember many of the students by.
I am glad that you are learning a lot.
Sounds like you are doing a great job.

Wolf Lover Girl said...

I love the picture of the eyes... they're so piercing.

~ Wolf Lover Girl

Anonymous said...

Hi Lara, thanks for the nice message and for visiting my blog. I'll definitely visit often... Love the little kiddies! My very cool mother-in-law works as a kindergarten teacher at a Waldorf school near us, so she's got me very interested in education...
I'm beginning to understand my fascination with blogging a little better. Now that I'm not working in an office anymore, I still need human interaction, and what better place to get it than with blogging, where you "choose" who you want to interact with. So, with the greatest of pleasure, I'll be your friend in South Africa!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I came across your blog after linking about 8 times. I love the way you write and this post especially spoke to me. I worked in a daycare/preschool for a few years and as you were describing each child I was completely able to match each up with a child from my school. Kids crack me up.