I had to teach art class yesterday (you realize that I am teaching K-1) because the teacher called me at the last minute and asked if I would. At first it was going to be a painting deal, then it turned into a place mat weaving dealy. It was so last minute that I did not give much thought to it all, I just thought, "as long as I am not stuck doing the painting stuff on my own---the mess---the chaos---I'll be alright."
What the heck was I thinking?
"I will call to get an assistant for you," she said, coughing.
"Oh ok. Yeah, that would be helpful."
I taught my literature class and stepped into the art class. I saw right away how difficult the place mat weaving was going to be for Kindergarten and First Graders. But a pile of kids came followed by the emptiness of no assistant, and soon a swirl of chaos ensued. Thankfully, as I have said before, my daughter who is more mature than I am at times, flew in to the rescue. She is six. I know, I know, she is six, you say. She morphed into an assistant, and was more helpful than an adult would have been any day. She forsook her own place mat, helped the other kids cut (they could not cut straight lines) and helped them weave, even though she hardly knew herself what to do. Whenever I was busy with one thing she took on another to fill up for my lack. Everywhere I turned things were getting taken care of. I saw her cutting construction paper, throwing scraps away, gathering unneeded scissors, papers, pencils. When the time came to clean up she instructed kids to get ready.
I almost lost my mind. None of the kids could get it together. None of them knew what we were doing, none of them understood, none of them could cut paper to save their lives. The Girl and I did just about all of it. When a mother came to pick up her girl, I am sure I looked harried and busy. I barely turned around when the girl left the table. I got a look at the mother though, and she shot me this look like, "Do you think you are competent, blondie?" I know that sounds judgmental, but truly, she shot me a look like that. I just turned around and kept cutting and instructing. I admit the room was a bit chaotic, especially with a six year old assistant.
But I had a goal of getting it all done within the hour. Eleven place mats. No wait. Ten. My girl would have to wait for hers. We got them done, nonetheless. At the last five minutes or so my friend poked her head in and said, "Um, you need help," and she ran in and took care of everything else my daughter or I could not get to.
I yelled at my daughter----"Where are the pencils?"
"In the bag."
"In the bag."
"In the bag, Mom."
"Are you just perfect or something?"
She hasn't even lost her front baby teeth yet. She can't grow up now.