I can read minds.
Well, if you’re four years old I can read your mind.
I taught the preschoolers at church today. One little boy, who is usually Normal To Be Expected Preschooler Wild, had transformed, via the three mini-donuts his parents had given him for breakfast, into Run Around And Ignore The Teacher Wild.
(Dear Readers Who May Have Had a Kid In My Class Today, relax. I will never give out any names or clues to identity in this post.)
I don’t have too many rules in my class, but I do expect that the children will stay in the general area with us and not run out of the room and refuse to come back in, and will not sit on all the other children and refuse to get up, or smack me on my butt and refuse to stop. Ahem.
Like I said; Run Around And Ignore The Teacher Wild.
So far, all we’d done was collect the offering, play with some toys and sing songs. We hadn’t gotten to playing in the play area and listening to the lesson yet. So before the lesson, which requires quiet and a semblance of stillness, RAAITT Wild and I needed to have a little chat, so there would be no more failure to communicate.
As I sent the other children to the play area with my helper, I said to RAAITT Wild, “Bunny, you need to stay here with me.” Which made the children giggle. “Bunny? Who’s Bunny?” Oops. I call my own kids Bunny, even Boy9. Don’t tell his friends.
RAAITT Wild Bunny watched with concern as the other kids left. I asked him to sit on the Of Great Interest to Preschoolers office chair that’s padded and raises up and down and swivels. He immediately started assessing the situation to me out loud as he climbed onto the chair.
“The other kids are playing and I’m not! They’ll have more time to play than me!”
“But, that’s not fair!”
And here’s where the mind reading comes in. I sat on a purple kid-sized chair in front of him and watched his eyes. He was making a choice right at that moment. He knew that he had Run Around And Ignored The Teacher all morning. But he also reeeeally wanted to get to that play area.
He was deciding: Manipulate the teacher by displaying righteous indignation at being asked to sit in the chair while the other children play, or crumble and display mournful repentance and throw himself on the mercy of the court? Back and forth, I watched each emotion play on his face. There was a slight reddening of the eyes as he considered whether to add tears of outrage to a firm jaw, or tears of contrition to a quivery lip.
Again, he said, “The other kids will play longer than me!” trying to work up some big, gloppy tears.
I said, “Yes they will. But while they were singing, you were already playing.”
“But they’ll be in the play area longer! That’s not fair!”
“Hmmm. Why do you have to sit here?”
“Because you don’t want me to play!” He was tipping dangerously into righteous indignation and tears of outrage.
“No. Why else would you have to sit here?”
“But they’re in the play area longer!”
“Yes they are. Why do you have to sit here?”
“Because I didn’t listen to you.” Stoic resignation.
Oh, thank goodness this child has some awesome parents. Without parents who are busy teaching their kids the basic Rules of Civilization, it’s much harder to have a meeting of the mind between a 4-year old preschooler and a 39-year old teacher.
With that settled, RAAITT Wild Bunny figured we were done, said, “But I will listen from now on!” and started to scoot off the chair.
“Not just yet.”
“But I will listen from now on!”
“Well…I have to make sure. I have to stare into your eyes and read your mind to make sure you will listen from now on.”
If you stare at a small child long enough, sometimes you can read his mind.
I stared at him.
He stared at me.
Slowly, he raised his hands and covered his eyes.
But, as I suspected, he couldn’t sit there and not look, so he peeked through a crack in his fingers and said, “I’ll look through this hole.” And I said, “I’ll look through the hole, too.”
And when all the drummed up almost-tears were gone, and his face had cleared and we had connected so I was no longer The Enemy, I told him, “Ok, Bunny. Off you go,” and sent him off to play in the play area.
And then fed him two more mini donuts at snack time.
Picture of the Day:
Jin gave Darling Husband the Secret Password for wifi access. Mom said, “Keep quiet, or everyone else will wonder why they can’t have the password, too.”
I’m pretty sure that anyone who wants the password can have it.
On their 300th visit to the restaurant.