Monday, March 11, 2013

Silly Song & Deep Thinking

Last night Dave Hoffman, my grocer asked me, "Howz it going, Superdad?"

My response was less cheerful than usual.  "I'm okay, I had was a good weekend allowing for the fact that one day was doing my taxes. But I'm steeling myself for a tough day at work tomorrow."

Decades of experience in kindergarten have taught me that Daylight Savings Time (DST) in the spring wreaks havoc with young children's biological clocks. Setting the clocks one hour ahead sets us up for general grumpiness in kindergarten. Running on one hour of less sleep, the kids tend to be hungry, sleep-deprived, and edgy. Same goes for their teacher.

"Well, at least it won't be raining tomorrow." My grocer has an optimistic outlook.

I decided to shield myself from the grumpy vibes awaiting me at school by fending them off with a cheerful ditty, "Skinnamarink-a-dink," It's a silly, short song I first learned from my daughter when she returned from kindergarten one spring day in 1990.

Not much to fend off 25 biological clocks ticking like time bombs, but oh well. Things got quickly worse when the school receptionist came into my classroom with that smile that says, "I've got some bad news for you. Patrick is sick."

It took my sleep deprived mind a couple of syncopated tick-tocks to understand the implications of the three words "Patrick is sick."

Patrick who? Oh, Patrick, as in Patrick Everson, my aide's son. So what? He's in third grade. No wait! His mom is my aide. What she's saying to me is, I'll have no instructional aide today. The school receptionist went on, "I've put in calls to the substitute aides, but so far there's no one for you."


Luckily for everyone, I have a fantastic group of mother helpers who immediately sized up my predicament and offered to stay. (Thank you all, especially Janelle, Jennifer, and Rachael who stayed till recess.) I knew right then everything would be okay.

We did centers, and before the first hour was over, the aide returned to class to tell me Mrs. Everson would soon be here after all: Patrick's dad would take care of Patrick. (Thank you, Matt.)

By the time we got around to singing the silly song, our kindergarten was humming along harmoniously. I was singing with feeling,

Skinnamarink-a-dink with Rachael teaching the hand jive

"I love you in the morning and in the afternoon,
I love you in the evening and underneath the moon."

We even got some deep thinking going on this morning as Ryder, who has figured out the answer to "What is half of 17?" (He will tell you it's eight and a half) is now pondering what half of 7½ is.

He's got the idea that quarters are involved, but that's about as far as he can stretch his understanding of numbers.... for now. At this point, all he knows is that his teacher assures him that there IS an answer to this question and that even some third graders would have to think hard to come up with the answer to that one.

Meanwhile, try to get to bed early. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, and think good thoughts.

And singing Skinnamarink-a-dink couldn't hurt! We'll sing it tomorrow with the stand-up string bass for good measure.

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