Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"How does the mom get the baby out?"

It's exactly one week before Christmas in my kindergarten classroom.  The weather is changing daily and there is a full moon.  This is a teacher's version of "a perfect storm."

Attempting to get a little bit of learning in this week, I decided we would research and read about polar bears.  Monday students generated a list of questions they had. Tuesday we read a book from the library.  

Today we were reading another book (because researchers use many sources), and we learned the interesting fact that only pregnant polar bears hibernate

Then this happened: 

"How does the mom get the baby out?" asks a curious student.

"Um. Well when it's ready to come out it just comes out."

"But how does it get out?"

"Well the polar bear mommy just knows because that's how God made polar bears."

"Does the mom bite it out?" 

Other students nod in agreement as they chime in, "Yeah they bite their stomach!"

And at this point I begin to panic a tad because this question is not going away.  In my mind I am weighing the nature of the question and my duty as a teacher to help them learn.  

"Honey if they bite their tummy they will die.  It's kind of like going potty.  When you have to go potty you just go to the bathroom and use your tummy muscles to push it out.  It's the same with babies."  (In kindergarten we talk about body functions and fluids daily so it's not that big of a deal.)

Same student then asks, "But what hole does it come out of? The belly button?"

Crap. Seriously?!?  
"No there is a special hole for babies."

Another student asks, "But won't the baby fall out?"

Lord help me.
"When you have to go poop does it fall out? No! You hold it!  It's the same with babies."

At this point the kids erupt into laughter and I wipe the sweat off my brow.  

Kindergarten conversations never cease to amaze me.  They make me laugh daily and I often end my day asking myself, "Did that conversation really happen?"  Well today it really happened.  I love my job.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Face Meets Palm

It's the first day of kindergarten.  It's 12:10... I've been on my feet and talking non-stop for 3 1/2 hours.  I barely ate lunch in between opening milk cartons and chips, and I REALLY need to use the bathroom. We are attempting to line up for recess.  Kids are talking and I'm smiling and nodding as they tell me their 1,000 stories.  A little boy is looking down at his new shoes and saying something as he tugs my dress. "Oh yes I see them. Awesome." I reply robotically.
"No Ms. Wittler, not awesome! I was bleeding everywhere!"
"Oh. Wait what? Oh your knees!  I thought you were showing me your shoes."

In my attempt to pretend to hear all the little stories and smile politely so as not to hurt anyone's feelings,  by the look on this kid's face I know I totally blew it.

It's now 1:25.  It's an early dismissal (praise the Lord) and we are packing our backpacks to go home.  I'm waving a folder in the air and explaining to 24 serious little faces that they must take this folder home every day to show their mom and dad the important notes inside.
A little voice pipes up, "But I don't have a dad!  My dad died!"

Crap. Double facepalm.
I totally knew that and didn't even think about what I was saying until after I said it.  Way to go Teach.

There were a few other small failures throughout the day- forgetting names, not realizing a kiddo had no drink at lunch time, messing up the schedule...  and at the end of the day I can say one thing for certain:  I am seriously out of practice.
I am running the mile after 2 months on the couch. I'm tired and I'm sore.

Tomorrow will be better.  All my little people left school today with a smile on their face and all their body parts in tact.  It was a good day, but tomorrow will be better.  Parents, give your teachers a little extra grace this week as they ease back into the race.  We really want to be the best teachers that we can be.  There will be facepalm moments no doubt, but please forgive us because we love your kids.

Monday, April 1, 2013


I've never been a fan of April Fool's Day.  Don't get me wrong I love a great joke, but as a teacher this day consists of repeatedly hearing "Your shoe's untied!" and "There's a spider on your back!"
Of course like a good teacher, I play along and turn around to look for the terrible spider.  "Haha you got me!" 

And then it happens... 
Suddenly there's a snake behind your back, and bug, and a lizard, and a vampire, and a mummy, and a ghost, and everything scary that exists in the universe.  Ugh.  The balancing act between not crushing their little spirits and not losing your sanity (a fine line).

So needless to say, when I heard my daughters last night giggling about April Fool's Day plans I groaned inside.  The next morning I woke up, got ready for work, and waited for whatever they had in store.  Nothing happened.  'Great! Maybe they forgot,' I thought.  We went to school, came home for the evening, and still nothing.  I tucked them into bed, said prayers, and exhaled.  Whew!

Around 9:30 I headed upstairs to get ready for bed.  I pulled my hair out of a sloppy pony tail and reached for my hairbrush...
Seriously?!?  My little stinkers had replaced my styling products and tools with American Girl DOLL styling toys!  Toys!  My real hairbrush and squirt bottle were nowhere to be found.  

Having now been in bed for an hour, I couldn't wake up the girls up to get my stuff back.  I was stuck brushing my hair with a doll hairbrush (oh yes, I really did use it).  I was in awe of how clever my little 8 & 9 year-olds could be.  I was also pretty proud as I realized they are inheriting a bit of their mama's sense of humor (remember Sushi Palace?).  

Well played girls.  

Pulling one over on your mom~ Lovely.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

God vs George Washington

I love seeing the world through my daughter's eyes.  What is in her heart is at the forefront of her thoughts.  The words that she underlined are so sweet... "I was the first person, I cannot tell a lie, I am the father."  Must be God! Who else would it be? Duh.

She caught me taking this picture of her paper and was SO upset.

"Why are you taking a picture of that? I got it wrong!" she shrieked.

"Because your answer makes me happy and I love it" I replied.  

She furrowed her eyebrow and repeated, "But it's wrong." 

"Being right is not always what counts."

Someday when she is a mama she will understand.
My daughter's heart... Lovely

Friday, February 1, 2013

"Sushi Palace"

All week my third grader has been asking to have her friend over to play.  I finally caved and agreed to an after school play-date and dinner.  

Leaving school I said to the 3 girls, "Let's go out to eat.  There's a new sushi place I've really been wanting to try."  "What?! Seriously?" came groans from the backseat.  
"Yeah.  Sushi Palace.  It's over by Target." 

As we drove on I was bomb-barded with: "Mom are we seriously eating sushi? We don't like sushi?" (moaning, groaning, whining...)

"It's Friday.  Let's all try something new!" I declared as we pulled into the local 54th Street.  I purposefully drove around the back, making my way through the entire parking lot.  "Man it's busy! Everyone must be excited for Sushi Palace!"

As we parked the 3 kids looked at each other trying to decide if I was lying.  
"This is 54th Street" someone said.

"Yep but Sushi Palace is in the back of 54th Street." 

As we waited in the foyer with our pager the kids slumped against the wall.  My daughter's friend stated, "I think I had sushi when I was 4 and then I puked."  (Poor kid... she was really regretting coming to dinner with us.)

We were eventually seated at our table where the hostess passed out the menus.  
"So can we just get regular 54th Street food?" the kids asked.
"Oh no, they just gave you that menu so you could pick your drink.  They are only serving sushi tonight.  Do you see by the drinks where it says "included"?  That means with the sushi."  

Just at that moment the lights dimmed for dinner hour.  "Sushi time!"  
The waiter approached our table and gave the usual, "How's everybody doing tonight?"
"We are great!" I replied.  "We are SO excited for sushi night!" (kids exchange glances)

"Oh yeah," answers the waiter,  "we have fish, crab, shrimp..." 
The kids' jaws dropped.  (Score! Best waiter ever.)

As we waited for our drinks I asked the kids what they normally like to eat at 54th Street.  They ramble off things like: cheeseburger, tacos, pasta.  After that no one spoke.  They were clearly worried.

As the waiter came back to take our order, I quickly ordered a steak and baked potato.  The kids hesitated.  "I'm just messing with you guys.  You can order whatever you want."


You never saw such happily shocked little girls.  They joyfully placed their orders for their favorite foods and as the waiter departed one of the kids said, "So I don't get it.  Is there really a Sushi Palace here?"

Too funny.  Totally worth it. Kinda mean, but lovely ;o)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lovely Things

Philippians 4:8 "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things."

As I read through Facebook or listen to people talk, I often feel that too much focus is on negative things.  Believe me, in the last year of my life I have faced a situation that could cause me to be incredibly angry or incredibly depressed.  Feeling those emotions occasionally is okay but dwelling on such things is not.  Paul clearly teaches us to focus on things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.  He goes on to say in verse 9 that if you put these things into practice "the God of peace will be with you."

This blog is a place for me to remind myself of things that are lovely and good, and to say them out loud for others to hear and enjoy as well.  

I began with the author of the blog, Cathy Whitaker.  "Cathy" has been my alias for several years now.  When I sign up to get something free in the mail I always address it to Cathy.  I don't know why I do it, it just makes me laugh.  Somewhere along the line my friends found out about it and it became even more funny.  Cathy Whitaker has been known to cause all sorts of shenanigans.  Who ordered that Chai Latte at Starbucks? Cathy.  Who's name just went in the door prize drawing? Cathy.  

Need a laugh? Make yourself an alias today.  You won't be disappointed.
-It's Lovely