Thursday, September 16, 2010

paper eater

I've had kids eat paper before. My second year teaching I caught a very sweet little boy just sampling a piece of construction paper. He was embarrassed to be caught, but he explained he was hungry and suddenly wondered what purple paper would taste like.

My last year in the classroom My Smart Cookie announced she was hungry. When I explained it was 9 o'clock and we wouldn't go to lunch for another hour and 45 minutes she carefully ate the entire border of her writing paper. Not the entire paper- she'd worked way too hard to eat those three sentences- just the border. When I caught her I sent her to spit it out but alas, she'd already swallowed.

So I was somewhat ready for today. But only somewhat.

I have a new friend this year. He's a darling little boy whose working hard at learning the ins and outs of kindergarten. We'll call him PJ after PJ Funny Bunny, who didn't want to be a bunny, or a bear, or a beaver, or a skunk or a bird, or a moose. PJ didn't know what he wanted, but he knew what he didn't want. Kind of like my friend.

So this morning around 11:00 PJ pretty much decides the day is over. It's been two long weeks and there are a lot of demands place on kindergartners. It's a lot for PJ. A long hour and a half goes by while we wait for lunch. At one point PJ takes some of his favorite blocks from the Free Choice shelves and walks them over to a table to begin playing with them. I matter of factly remove the blocks, explaining that they were free-choice blocks and we will play with them during free choice.
PJ screams. And after one long scream he begins ripping a paper in front of him. Ah great, I think, ripping paper is a great way to relieve stress. This could be a good outlet, then we'll be ready to re-join the group. I need to stop thinking this positive thoughts until all events are over.

Then PJ takes the ripped paper and begins frantically stuffing it into his mouth as though he is a spy and I'm the foreign government about to take him in for questioning.
Rip, stuff, rip stuff, rip stuff. His cheeks are full of paper- squirrel-like. And then he swallows. The paper is gone.

He ate his paper.

He ate his paper.

And then, as though nothing had happened, he slowly stood up and went back to his seat, where he'd originally gotten the paper. He looked at us with wide eyes, waiting for another piece.

I had to leave the room so I could laugh without being inappropriate. I've never seen such frantic, in your face paper eating, followed by a plea for more paper. Even my-smart-cookie did it with a sense of grace. It was incredible.

*We checked with the clinic- apparently eating paper doesn't hurt you*


Jenny said...

Please don't stop thinking positively! Events are never over and if you don't think positively when you can it will never happen. Then you will go off and take the LSATs and think of all the laughs you'll miss.

Anonymous said...

i'm laughing so hard i'm crying. the line about stuffing it in his cheeks like a foreign spy being taken in for questioning is so funny...oh man. i love four and five year olds. they are so pricelessly weird.

Kids, Canines, and Chaos said...

I, too, am laughing so hard I'm crying. Partly because it's such a crazy way to show you're "bucking" the system, and partly because of your sense of humor in it all.

I LOVE this time of year-- when they all start showing their true colors. We know their first two weeks of September behavior is nothing like their October/November/Decemeber behavior! Can't wait for all the fun PJ is going to bring! :)