Love in Hindsight

Imagine if you could, just for a moment, the kind of parent you imagined you’d be, merging perfectly with the parent you’ve become. Do I hear guffaws of laughter from those of you who think that’s hilarious?

Through my 20’s, which was also the beginning of my teaching career, I thought I had a good handle on the concept of parenting.

On my very first day, I had a class of 5 year olds who came in with saucer-like eyes. They stole glances at me; this newbie who hadn’t a clue what was about to occur. Just as a predator can smell fear, I am certain that they could sense mine.

Primary school pupils during a lesson becoming the parent you thought you'd be graduates first days of teaching As the bell rang, most of the children made their way to the floor as a mother entered with her son. She seemed flustered as the boy eyed me from his latched position on her leg. She said she was going to be late for an appointment and needed to leave. Being fresh as a spring daisy, I tried to utilise my limited arsenal to encourage him to join his classmates on the mat.

Holding out my hand, he clung even tighter while his mum detached him and thrust his arm out to me. With his tiny wrist surrounded by my hand, he kicked at my shins and screamed blasphemous words that would put a drunken sailor to shame. The mum had turned on her heel already and I wasn’t far behind. I closed that door behind me with trembling hands and tears of failure streamed down my face as I made my way down the corridor to the principal’s office.

Thousands of children, all with different personalities, quirks and backgrounds have since crossed the threshold into the classrooms in various schools where I have practised my craft. Now, I also have children of my own.

All of these children came through doorways paid for by the government. Some of these entrances were in need of a new coat of paint, some doors were bearers of scars from fists, chair legs and other implements randomly thrown. Others displayed pride, colourfully decorated with art work, welcoming anyone who would step through. Perhaps the posters and drawings just covered up any harm that had been done to the surface.

I, too, bear the scars. There are physical ones you can see. Scratches on my hands, my skin dug at so deeply that as I age they become whiter; a constant reminder of my journey. There are emotional ones etched on my heart that only I can feel. True stories of children who awoke each school morning top-to-toe with their brother in the back seat of the family car. Tummies rumbling at a quarter to nine was as common as the unwashed uniforms and tousled hair. Children who had lost a parent through accident, illness or an horrendous tragedy. The communities that grieved for a student lost, much too young to be with us no more.

Ten years of teaching, before my first son was conceived, and these children helped me to learn more than I probably taught them.

To be continued.

Image from: here.

Rebellious Love

rebellion‘What’s gotten into you today?’

‘Why are you behaving that way?’

‘That’s just plain silly, that is.’

These phrases have passed my lips many times. Normally I’m talking to a kid-my own or one of the many intelligent students that I have met when teaching.

Today, though, these words were aimed at myself.

Have you had a day where there’s just a touch of silly about you? Conformity just not cutting the mustard?

Today was my day.

I taught a class of Year 3’s today at a school that has over 1000 students. After finishing my paid duties for the day I walked with one of the students out of the classroom. Her mum and I have been friends for many years. She’s also a teacher and we hadn’t seen each other for a couple of months.

Her daughter told me that her mum picked her up from the kiss and drop. For those who are unfamiliar with this term- stop car, kiss child, they get out and you drive off. In the afternoons-join cue of cars, drive like a nonagenarian, reach front of cue, child jumps in and then you drive off. No stopping for more than a few seconds. You can’t get out unless you want to be berated by seething parents desperate to un/load their cargo. This procession is overseen by a teacher who directs the flow. Some are very serious about their role and are tyrants. Others are a little more lax and more likened to a traffic cop whose stuck on duty past shift change.

Being as I am a responsible adult I herded my friend’s daughter across the cul-de-sac between cars when they had stopped for the next child to begin their journey homeward bound. Her mum’s car was about 12th in the cue to leave so I had the chance to fit in a 2 minute conversation with her as she rolled around to the pick-up point.

We disposed of pleasantries quickly and did a quick catch up while I was on foot next to her car. Promising to see each other soon, she departed the mayhem.

As I walked past the teacher on duty I was given a stern look and I believe she said something about safety.

‘My apologies,’ I replied without missing a beat.

As I walked with a bit of a swagger to my car, I could not help but smirk. My brain was registering the ‘rebel’ label and it felt good.

I drove past that teacher as I left the teacher’s car park and turned my head so she couldn’t see and poked my tongue out.

Apparently the dutiful, responsible and role-model aspects of my personality had clocked off when the bell went at the end of the day today.

Rebel without a cause, you betcha! I fit that bill today.

The rule maker was the rule breaker today.

I’d love it if you don’t tell my kids though.

Image from: here.

Show Me the Love

moneyShow and share the love.

On Momdaze it’s difficult to think creatively, write about current issues or delve deep into my psyche and bring forth something worthy of discussion. With this in mind, I bring you humour at the beginning of the week.

The day will come when I, as a parent, am told something I was totally unprepared to hear by my child’s teacher.

Until that day comes, I feel it is only right, if not my duty, to share one of those moments that I had as a teacher which had me giggling and then cringing.

This story is almost folklore in the school that it happened at over ten years ago. Innocence met a bunch of hidden truths and learned a valuable lesson.

Show and tell (a.k.a news time, show and share, sharing time, news, etc.) takes place at schools across the globe every day of the school calendar. Kids bring in something they’d like to talk about in front of their peers. Sometimes they just share news of current events from their own lives. It fosters confidence in oral language skills and speaking in front of an audience.

The kids were gathered on the carpet and two had already had their turn this particular morning. Adam brought a paper bag to the chair at the front and was ready to start.

After greeting everyone he pulled $500 in notes from inside the bag.

‘This is my Dad’s money. He had it hidden under his side of the bed at home. I saw him put it in there and he told me he won it on the horses. He asked me not to tell Mum because she thinks he just loses all the time.’

While the children oohed and aahed at the large amount of money being waved in front of them, my eyebrows were trying to come back down from hiding in my hairline.

Adam finished his turn and I promised to look after it until home time.

I don’t know if there has ever been another time in my life where I have been responsible for $500 that doesn’t belong to me. I knew being mugged was unlikely but wasn’t sure what to do with the money to keep it safe.

It was decided to keep it at the office until the end of the day and then give it directly to the parent.

Mum came to pick up Adam that day and the moment he saw her he burst into tears.

I told him not to worry and that I would explain everything to his mum.

He said, ‘I’m not worried about getting into trouble with Mum. I’m only upset because Mum is going to be so cross with Dad. I bet she’ll probably take his money away and ground him from the horses for a long time.’

Show and tell taught me a lesson that day. I’m pretty sure Adam’s dad learned something too.

To find a new hiding place, possibly?

Image from: here.

Top 10 Faux Pas of Kids’ Writing

Kids make people laugh on a daily basis. They’re witty without understanding why which makes it all the more thigh-slappingly humorous. Faux pas and writing gaffes by younger students are, by far, the most hilarious.

faux pas

The Top 10 list includes innocent misspellings of everyday words that turn sentences into somewhat inappropriate expressions. All words have been spelt correctly except the funny word so you won’t need a translator. The italicised sentence are my thoughts upon reading these beauties.

  1. The hores galloped through the rain. (horses) I hope they’re wearing their wellies.
  2. When we were driving we had to follow the sins. (signs) Are you driving to hell?
  3. We had to wait for three nits. (nights) I wouldn’t wait for ONE.
  4. My tits got a hole in them when I fell over. (tights) Do new ones cost a lot?
  5. I shared my Cock with my friend, Samantha. (Coke) Not touching this one, other than to say it was a gorgeous girl of 5 who wrote this one.
  6. Daddy’s shit was blue and white striped. (shirt) Did it come out like toothpaste?
  7. My mum is not a moaning person. (morning) Maybe she prefers sleep ins.
  8. The race cars went fart around the track. (fast) That would make them noisy and smelly.
  9. The lion was really big butt I wasn’t scared. (but) It’s not that end that scares me. It’s the other one.
  10. Two great examples for the same word that I could not separate :

Dad likes eating penus. (peanuts) I need penise. (pennies). No comment needed as they are rib ticklers all on their own.

Teaching children aged between 4 and 13 for near-on two decades has taught me a thing or two.

  • The English language is far too complicated for any one system to work in assisting students to learn how to read and write.
  • When reading back what a young student has written it pays to have them by your side to decipher. This ensures you avoid any… ehem….’misunderstanding’.
  • Practising and perfecting a poker face is essential.
  • Kids always know exactly what it is they are trying to say/write even if the listener/reader hasn’t a clue.
  • Universities should provide, as part of teacher training, a crash course in translation of kid-speak.

If you’ve any other doozies to share please add them below for other readers to giggle over.

A big shout out to Stuff Kids Write for providing me with laughs.

Kelly ♥

© 2013 Kelly Hibbert, all rights reserved.

Image from: here.

Top 10 Tips to Help Children Love Reading

reading

My children love books and they love reading.

This Top 10 list looks at what parents can do to foster a love of reading from birth. The right start can make all the difference.

  1. Start reading with babies right from birth. Get comfortable and read aloud every day for 10-15 minutes. This will help develop a routine for reading enjoyment.
  2. Read several different books at times throughout the day or the same book multiple times. Hearing a thousand stories will help a child begin to learn to read.
  3. Use your eyes, voice and body to bring a story to life. Using a flat, monotone voice will not convey your excitement.
  4. Read the same stories time and time again. Use the same pattern or rhythm each time. In time, children will be able to retell the story to you.
  5. Interaction with the story is key. Look at and talk about pictures, connect the story to a rhyme or song and answer any questions children ask. A book does not need to be read cover to cover without stopping to enjoy the pages within.
  6. Point to words, pick out letters, think of rhyming words when reading. Whatever you do should be fun and not remotely resemble teaching.
  7. Use the three R’s when choosing books for young children. Rhythm, rhyme and repetition are an awesome combination.
  8.  Read aloud to kids even when they can read themselves. Tell stories, make up stories together or sing nonsense rhymes-all of which are language-rich activities.
  9. Be a good reading role model. Read books, newspapers or magazines for enjoyment.
  10. Read, read, read, read and read.

I love reading. My kids love reading too. Whether that is inherent or not, I have no way of knowing. I do know that I have read with my children right from birth. Over the past 6 years I have read thousands of books to Almost 6 and Just 3.

I am a mum who loves to read. My teaching career has spanned nearly two decades during which time I have had the privilege of reading thousands of stories. I majored in children’s literature and I write picture books for fun in my spare time. This top 10 is by no means exhaustive. There is so much you can do with your children and a good book. If you have a book but no child, borrow one from a friend or relative. Reading with a child is magic and they’re the most captive audience you’ll ever have.

♥ Kelly

Image from: here.

Put a Little Love in Your Heart

Only space for a little love today.

Today I had only a little space reserved for love.

The parking lot in my heart was full.

My head was at work today while my heart was full of love for my boys. That only left a little for all the mini peeps. My heart kept leaping back to the fact that my preschooler will officially be in Preschool next year.love in your heart

You see today I stepped out of my Loading Zone where I happily go about delivering packages of learning. When I relief teach (sub) I normally teach primary school aged kids (5-13  here is Australia). Today, for the first time in 19 years I taught Kindergarten kids.

Wow! What a jaw-dropping, eye-opening experience. It was not dissimilar to having 30 clones of my little guy. The only differences were some were wearing frilly stuff and I didn’t have to wipe one single bum.

Today I got paid what most would consider a tidy sum to push swings, paint, sing songs, amuse, read, do puzzles and play. Hey, isn’t that what I do at home every other day for a big fat zero? So why did today go so slow and all the days at home whiz by like a police car chase scene? Today was a No Standing Zone exactly the same as any other.

I have no clue. I’m still trying to work out if it’s the best or worst part that I get to do it all again tomorrow and Thursday.

So this post resembles a beat-up old Vee-Dub or the Mini that may not be able to fit everything in that I’d like to.

I hope the brakes are fixed by tomorrow night though because it’d be nice to be able to stop.

Please note the RESERVED signs where only my boys are allowed to park.

Image from: here.