As an Educational Consultant for Usborne Books – I get to do LOTS of fun things with kids. In fact, that is one of the reasons I became a part of the company 2 years ago. I started college thinking I wanted to be a teacher – however – being a “teacher” in Texas isn’t all it is cracked up to be… In my opinion, teachers in Texas do not have the ability to teach children the way that they need to be taught. There are so many rules and regulations that as a parent it is often hard for me to help my children with their homework because it has to be done a specific way. That doesn’t make sense to me…but I digress. I could go on for hours and hours about that.
The point is that with Usborne, I get to go into schools, preschools, daycares, libraries and community centers and hang out with the coolest kids!! They are always saying the funniest things that make me smile, make me laugh and always make my day.
Today I spent the day with over 50 kids ages 3 and up. I read them the story of ‘Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster’, which is one of my absolute favorites. The message it carries is one every child (and adult!) should hear and believe.
After the book reading I sat with each child and painted their face with something unique to their personality. I spent the day painting smiley faced suns, flowers, butterflies, heart shaped ladybugs, snakes and Hello Kitty. One little boy asked me to paint the yellow bird from Angry Birds! I told him I had never done that one, but that I would try. When I was finished I took a pic and showed him and he LOVED it…although I thought I had done a terrible job! All of the kids told them how much they liked it and it made me so happy to know I put that smile on his face…and the angry bird… ;)
Another little boy sat down (after I had just finished a dinosaur on another little boys face) and asked if I could do a dinosaur for him. I told him I could and showed him the picture of the one I had just done. He said, “Well actually, my favorite dinosaur is the Brachiosaurus.” I laughed and told him I wasn’t sure I could quite do that specific dinosaur justice. He then spent a solid minute explaining to me what it looked like. I finally got it across that it wasn’t an option. Then he says, “Well, actually my favorite animal that is alive in the world we live in today is…is….is…the giant gorilla. Can you paint the giant gorilla on my face?” The only thing I could think to say while trying not to laugh was, “I’m not sure it would fit on your face.” I tried to explain that since there were so many kids and only one of me that to make it fair to each of his friends that he would need to pick something from the list. He finally picked the snake. My example picture is a little green snake with brown triangle spots and a black tongue and eyes. As I dipped my brush in the green paint he says, “Well actually, snakes are my very favorite animal in the world and I especially like the poison ones. The ones in Texas aren’t poisonous and can’t bite you, but I like the ones that can. Can you paint a really poisonous snake?” This one scared me because I felt the need to explain to him the truth about Texas snakes!! However, I wound up doing a green snake with black and red triangles and a red tongue. This seemed to make him happy…finally.
After I painted their faces I stamped their little hands with our Usborne signature mascot – the duck! They all loved that and a few even walked away saying quack quack. :)
The last class of the day was the school aged kids. These are kids ages 5 and up that are in public school but are out for Summer vacation. Because this room was more advanced, they had pop music playing on the radio while the kids were playing in various centers waiting on their turn to have their face painted. There was this one little boy that really just made my whole day. After listening to the local pop station, the teacher put in a Michael Jackson CD. I wouldn’t have thought these kids knew who he was, much less enjoy his music. This one little boy just absolutely made my day. He stood in front of the stereo and danced to every single MJ song. When I say he danced I mean he literally danced the dances MJ did in his videos for each song. He had to have been about 7 years old and was just awesome. He even did the crotch grab, which was funny, cute and awkward all at the same time. I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about it, but his talent kept me entertained and in awe for sure.
I was finishing up my last face of the day (another Hello Kitty) when they started setting up for lunch. Little Michael Jackson Jr. began to help set out the plastic ware and plates. Just as I finished my last duck stamp and began to clean up my paint area, he walked up to the teacher as she was about to start dishing out food and said, “You have to serve me first, it says so in the Bible.” I couldn’t help but come to a complete stop and watch the scene play out. The teacher didn’t even know what to say and just looked at him, completely speechless. He realized she was not on the same page as him so he continued, “The Bible says that the last person to get served should be the first person to get served and I got my plate after everyone else, so you have to give me food before anyone else.” Now the teacher had caught up and without missing a beat says, “Didn’t you get a spoon before anyone else?”
The whole exchange just made me laugh and think about what his home life is like. I envisioned his Sunday mornings started with Bible Study, then Church Service, followed by lunch and an afternoon of Michael Jackson dance moves training. It’s so interesting to think about what types of lifestyles each child has.
I am lucky that the future I have planned for myself includes a company that puts me in front of children like this everyday. The daycare was so impressed they decided they’d like for me to come back (possibly quarterly) and do book fairs for them that often as well. :) I can’t wait until I get to go back.
Have you experienced a child doing or saying something hilarious (or in some cases embarrassing to you but funny to someone else)? I would love to hear your stories below!!
As a final note I’ll leave you with a short (very embarrassing) story from when my Mini Me was 3. It was mid October and we still had no idea what she was going to be for Halloween. I was doing a little late night grocery shopping and thought I’d flip through the costume rack while I had the time. The only people on the isle were me, my daughter and another woman. Now the size or race of a person would NEVER make it in my blog unless it was relevant to the story – and this is totally relevant. The other woman was an older, black woman that was fairly heavyset. She was on one side of the isle and we were on the other – baskets side by side. I kept pulling things from the rack and showing them to the Mini Me: “How about a fairy? A princess? A witch? A pumpkin fairy princess?” She just kept shaking her head no and was becoming increasingly more irritated. As I was about to give up, I sighed rather heavily and said, “Ok then, if you don’t want to be any of these costumes what do you want to be?” I suppose she was irritated because I didn’t already I know what she wanted to be. So she responds with a very exasperated and very loud comment, “I WANNA BE A TITTY! A BIG BLACK TITTY!” Oh. My. Goodness. I am a redhead so when I blush its pretty obvious. I went red from head to toe and turned to apologize and that poor woman was about to pee herself because she was laughing so hard. Thank goodness she had a sense of humor – I was mortified! Now every Halloween the Mini Me waits until we are in the middle of Walmart and with an evil little grin says, “Hey mom, know what I want to be for Halloween this year?” :o)