Saturday, July 6, 2013

No, Mine! No! Mine! When does my teacher look work on my own daughter?

The glory of the classroom, I'm slowly coming to realize, is the beautiful, beautiful structure we get to put into place. There is reading and writing and math and recess and then- behold- the END OF THE DAY. There is the "I'm serious" teacher look at the "Now you're in deep trouble" teacher look and the quiet spot. There are silly songs that are brought to silence by the pre-arranged quiet signal, and children are trained to silently line up when the teacher just magically points her finger and smiles. When your classroom looks like this it is magic. When you train your own children to do this you are creating monsters. As teachers we say that the kids need structure, but let's be honest- the adults are really the ones who need the structure. And oh, how I'm missing it already.

My husband and I are sitting in our living room too tired and confused to even process what just occurred. Our "vacation" involved taking our not quite two year old daughter to the beach to spend the week with her not quite two year old cousin.

It's one thing to live life as a guest inside the world of an almost-two-year-old, but it is quite another thing to live life as a guest inside the worlds of TWO almost-two-year-olds, particularly ones who aren't used to sharing a house with one another.

Two year old logic is phenomenal. There was lots of "mine, mine, mine", a lot of "MY TURN!", "MY MOMMY", "MY NANA" (This proved to be difficult since neither of them could comprehend that Nana belonged to BOTH girls). 

Our days consisted of this:

Two girls giggling hysterically with each other for what seems to be no logical reason anyone who is not almost two can comprehend. It's adorable. We snap pictures and awe at how great it is to have cousins. Before the automatic lens of the camera closes disaster strikes. One cousin's foot bumps into a random object that neither girl would ever have looked twice at if it hadn't been for the accidental bumping. This draws the second cousin's hyper-focused attention to the object (because both girls were on a vigilant alert for something her cousin had that she didn't.)

 At the same moment the second cousin realizes the object exists the first cousin realizes that the object should be hers because she TOUCHED it first. Yet the second cousin believes it should be hers because she SAW it first, and both think it should be theirs because they can yell "MINE" the loudest. Chaos and drama ensue until someone manages to put the camera down to intervene. The girls retreat to opposite sides of the house to get sharing lectures from their mommies while their tears get wiped. Peace slowly starts to return. A gentle silence hovers over the house, a promise that our ear drums might recover from both the happy squeals as well as the angry cries. Yet inevitably one girl asks "Where did my cousin go?" in her sweet toddler voice, and before either mommy can stop the terror the girls would be drawn together again for a total of .5 seconds of happy giggling and another 5 minutes of crying.

Did I mention it rained for the first three days of the trip?
A moment of calm

Not that we didn't have a great time, but there were moments I missed the classroom where I could employ five year old logic, give my teacher look, flash the quiet signal, and if nothing else I could load everyone on the bus at 3:00 and happily wave goodbye, sending them off to their parents.

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