Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sotto Voce

It was bound to happen sooner or later- 24 kindergarteners, sticking their fingers into their nose-mouth-eyeballs-God knows what all else, and grabbing me all day. That's right- I have fallen victim to some kind of viral crud. Fortunately, it wasn't the kind of sick where you're totally incapacitated- it did rob me of my voice, though.

Explaining this to my kids elicited a variety of reactions. I gathered the darlings to my feet at the rug, and told them that I had lost my voice. Excited buzz ensued.

Little Mr. Cutie Pants- "Missis 'Appoda, where it go?"

Sarcastic Five Year Old- "It did not- we can still hear you talking."

Girl Who Likes to Copy Me- "My voice is lost, too." (whispered)

I clarified things- my voice was sick and so today was going to be a Very Quiet Day. Which, my over-qualified and under-informed aide took to mean shushing my kids all damn day. There is little more that I hate than the sound of "SHHHHHHH..." It's enough to make me take everyone hostage. And PS- if your school decides to hire a disgruntled administrator as a kindergarten aide, tell them to go... Oh, you know.

Ya see- five and six year olds talk. It's how they figure things out. I do like them to talk in a voice that can only be heard by their table. And, while they do a good job of this some of the time, they still are learning. It seems, after meeting many of the parents, that conversations are held at the level of a fishmonger's wife's holler in many households, so no wonder they're confused. Baby steps, my friends.

So I turned on a nature CD, which included Vivaldi and crickets chirping (and loons calling, and drunks falling into a pond- very soothing). I went to each table and whispered for them to "Listen for the crickets." In less than a minute, I had accomplished what no level of "SHHHH" by the aide could- every child was silent. And listening. They loved it! There is nothing like ending a Friday afternoon with mes petites choux coloring away to Vivaldi, and the aide sneaking home early. Good riddance to her. We've finally earned our fish!

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