MR. TOAD’S WILD RIDE

I imagined it like a mini vacation- a blissful dose of much needed freedom. I planned to do several, long delayed projects and enjoy some desperately needed solitude. This newfound time wasn’t a special trip. It wasn’t a fabulous, new job either. My triplets were starting Kindergarten and I was the single, dry-eyed mama exiting the school.

Since our boys were identical, we chose to separate them into different classrooms, affording them personal attention and a chance to be their own person. Never in a million years would I have anticipated the opening of Pandora’s box. Unbeknownst to me, my boys’ schooling would become “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.”

It began with notes home, then extra practice work, then on to the dreaded phone calls from teachers. I decided I held what would be the record in Guinness’ Book of World Records for teacher conferences. By second grade, I had 9 in one school year. This so called “break” became my new job: speech therapy, psychometry testing, additional homework, dealing with school discipline for talking, and inadvertently, my feeling like some kind of parental failure.

Embarrassed by all the attention they got for being talkers and highly energetic, I seemed to begin each year apologizing to the teacher before anything happened. I became so engrossed with “fixing” them to match (even perceived) expectations that I lost being their advocate. To this day I regret it. However, they weathered it much better than I would have in their shoes.

Finally, by 6th grade, we had a group of teachers that decided the Turner Triplets weren’t going to have a bad year as their last at the school. This special group of teachers banded together to create a supportive team approach to managing the entire grade’s testosterone and energetic demands. I thanked God profusely for that year of support, love and good-hearted teaching they received. I’m forever grateful for that last year in elementary school because middle school proved to be a beast of its own (but that’s another story).

Kindergarten Congress

baby blur boy childIt has been a highly contentious week or so for government in America.  Since we seem to have devolved to bickering, ranting, name-calling and blame gaming, the thought struck me that maybe we should let kindergarteners make decisions instead.  Jesus said to come to Him as little children, not as multi-degreed, life experienced, accolade- laden adults.

Children give transparent, literal, and quite honest opinions.  For instance, when our daughter was in preschool, she saw a woman with a large belly and said out loud, “Look mommy, she has a baby in her tummy!” Nope, she DID NOT have a baby in her tummy, she said, she just “looked like it.” (Face palm inserted here.) Another example was when our son was in second grade and he got in trouble by his music teacher for blurting out during music class.  When his regular teacher heard about his infraction, she asked him why he did that because she just knew he would not do that in her class.  He said, “Yes, ma’am, I would blurt out in your class too…..you said to be honest.”  So there we go.  Honest to the point of fault.  Can we even fathom our leaders being honest to a fault?

Lenny Kravitz sings to “Let Love Rule” in a popular ’90s era song.  Children seem so much more open to it than we “life experienced” adults are.  At a small group meeting at the local retirement home, one woman remarked how it made her so bothered that people don’t “see” her anymore now that she is older.  When I asked her what she meant by being seen, she said just acknowledged when she is passed by.  It got me to ponder my neglect to acknowledge others in my flurry of activities.  Being too busy to be nice is not a good thing.  With that in mind, I have decided to simply “see” people I encounter from now on.  I was taught by an Indian friend that to say, “Namaste” basically means, “I see you.”  It is time to up the Namaste, both in my own sphere and in government.  Maybe then I won’t have to convince my coworker’s grandson to go ahead and run for Congress.