That Four-Year-Old Is Braver Than Some Adult Editors…

, , , , , , , | Learning | May 4, 2020

It is spring 2004. A species of cicada emerges as adults every seventeen years in the Washington, DC area — DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland.  

They are everywhere: trees, buildings, roads. And they make an eerie sound because of the billions of them that are trying to find a mate at the same time. When they emerge, they come out of the ground in their nymph stage, dry out, and then molt their exoskeleton one last time. Once they’ve mated, they lay their eggs in the outer twig-like branches of trees. In doing so, the egg takes its nutrition from the tree, killing off the outer twelve inches or so of every branch of the tree.

So, all of the Hitchcockian effects of this insect: little mounds of dirt where each cicada emerges, discarded exoskeletons, cicadas flying everywhere, eerie sound, and many trees’ outer branches dying off.

During this time, I’ve headed to my daughter’s preschool, which is a Montessori school. They’ve taken it upon themselves to make this Biblical insect plague a teachable moment. I’m walking up to the front of the school to check my daughter out for the day. I hear the playful squeals of kids in the back playground. But one little girl, about four years old, is standing out front, looking intently at something in her hands.

The girl holds up her hands to me, showing me the dried leaving of a cicada’s molt, and says, “Look, mister. An exo-skeleton!”

“Why yes,” I say. “That’s exactly right!”

It’s great that instead of being afraid, this girl and all her classmates now have a better appreciation of nature.


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Maybe Mom Needs A Nap, Too

, , , , | Learning | March 20, 2020

(At our preschool, parents can pick their kid up as late as 6:00 pm. Therefore, unless the parent doesn’t want them to, we have the kids lay down after lunch for an hour or so to nap. On this day, I am with the four or five non-napping kids doing a quiet activity in a different room when a parent comes. The kid is excited to leave early, and the mom looks in the lunchbox. One of the lids to a Tupperware type thing is missing.)

Mom: “[Kid], where is the lid to your apples?”

Kid: “I don’t know.”

Mom: *looks at me* “Where is it?”

Me: “Um, it might be in the room where we ate lunch.”

Mom: “Which room is that?”

Me: “Across the hall, but everyone else is in there napping at the moment.”

Mom: “But it’s in there?”

Me: “Yes. I can go look when they wake up. [Kid], do you know where you might have put the lid?”

Kid: “No.”

Me: “Okay, I’ll look in there once everyone is awake.”

Mom: “But the lid is in there?”

(She seriously looked at me like I was supposed to abandon the kids who are awake, go into that room, wake everyone else up, and find the lid right then and there. Eventually, the mom and kid left. When everyone else woke up half an hour later, I went back in and found the lid in the trash can. Guess the kid took me saying, “Clean up your mess and throw away your trash,” too seriously.)

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Unfiltered Story #186229

, | Unfiltered | February 18, 2020

(I’ve been working at a privately-owned preschool for about a month, as a cook and afternoon teacher. While I am getting to know the kids, I haven’t met many of the parents yet. However, I am hard to miss, being the only teacher with bright blue hair, so I’m sure that many of them have spotted me over the last few weeks. One morning, I arrive for work about the same time that a little boy and his mother are entering the building. I hold the door open for them, then move forward to punch in the code for the inner door.)
Mother: “Oh, so you work here now?”
Me: “Yes.”
(I’m not certain if she thought previously that I might be another parent, but what the heck did she mean by “now”?)

Hope For Humanity Dies At The End

, , , , | Working | January 28, 2020

(For an education class, I have to observe preschool children at play. I’m sitting in a closet-sized observation booth with two of my instructors, who are chatting.)

Instructor #1: “Did you see [Popular Movie] yet?”

Instructor #2: “I did! I can’t believe [Main Character] dies at the end.”

Me: “I guess there’s no reason for me to see that movie now.”

Instructor #1: “You shouldn’t have been eavesdropping.”

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Her Brain Cells Are Frozen  

, , , , | Working | January 6, 2020

(At the preschool where I work, we have an employee who is so dumb, I wonder how she has lived so long. But one day really takes the cake. We are short-staffed one summer day, so the bosses put her in the kitchen for the day. It is hotter than Hades, and the kitchen tends to get even worse. I return our food cart to the kitchen and notice that the freezer door is standing wide open while my coworker is washing dishes. Figuring she pushed it but didn’t know it was open due to having her back to it, I speak up.)

Me: “Hey, [Coworker], the freezer door didn’t close.”

Coworker: “Oh, I know.”

Me: *dumbfounded* “Uh, there’s food in there that needs to stay cold.”

Coworker: “I know, but it’s too hot in here. I can’t stand it.”

(Completely flabbergasted at her complete lack of understanding — or care — about food safety, especially for food being served to children as young as a year old, I go to my supervisor.)

Me: “Hey, [Supervisor], uh… [Coworker] is trying to cool down the kitchen by leaving the freezer door open.”

Supervisor: *laughs*

Me: “I’m not joking.”

Supervisor: *laugh falters* “Really? I gotta see this.”

(She got up and looked through the office door, which could see straight back into the kitchen. Upon seeing that I was serious, she hung her head and sighed, and then went in to remedy the situation. They never did fire her, despite repeated health and safety screw-ups, including several that were very illegal — i.e. leaving me alone with far more kids than the state limit because she felt like it. I quit shortly after that, out of fear of suffering the consequences of her idiocy.)

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