"I'm tired. Can I have a snack?"
"No," I tell him, "It's the middle of tefillah."
"That's what I was doing in the bathroom," he informs me, referencing his ten-minute absence. "I was having a snack."
I pause, marveling at the simultaneous genius and stupidity of his plan. Genius: He found a place to secretly have a snack. Stupidity: He told me about it. I reply with a simple "Oh."
Later in the day, he gave me one of his prized candies: a Ghirardelli milk chocolate with caramel filling. To keep me quiet? Or to simply illustrate the decadence of his secret snack? Who knows. Either way, it was delicious.
* * *
More on food: A few weeks ago, we finally finished one chapter of Breishit so of course we had a siyum (a "finishing" party). Five kids from each section were selected to bring a snack. Five snacks seems like a lot, but at least two of the assigned students completely forgot their contributions (and then yelled really loudly when they realized that they had forgotten). So the amount of food was reasonable.
One kid decided to bring chips and salsa. Spicy salsa. I retrieved plastic cups from the cafeteria and offered the fiery-mouthers water. When I proposed the water solution to one kid in particular, he replied,
"No water. If I eat all of this without taking a drink, then I'm a man!"
This kid is one of the cutest, sweetest, kindest and funniest eight-year-olds you will ever meet. When I was out sick, he asked how I was feeling when I got back. When he comes in late, he davens to himself to catch up. He invited me to his B'nei Akivah Shabbat group. He makes puns and jokes on a very high level. He has two high-school-aged brothers and hates being called "cute."
One day during art class (my time to purely have fun with the kids) he made some adorable comment and I told him, "You're so cute!" He replied,
"No I'm not! I'm a man! The salsa, remember?"
Oh yes, I remember. "Right. The salsa. You're not cute, you're ugly!"
He grins. "Okay, that's better."
|Except this child.|
* * *
For the first time this year, we watched a movie in class. It is called "Lights" and I recall seeing it multiple times in my day school career. An animated film about Jewish assimilation in the time of Alexander the Great, its trademark features are dancing Hebrew letters and repetitive, tinny guitar (sitar?) music. It's a classic.
When a certain peppy child heard that we were watching a movie, he spouted the line, "I only watchmovies that are farm-raised!" When I began laughing, he continued with the joke: "And organic! And whole wheat! And vegan! And nut-free!" Somehow, this energetic child understood our society's obsession with niche foods and applied it to movie-watching.
|The famous octet of suburbia|
This same child is from New York City. When we crossed the street to head to gym in the Upper School, I told him to wait for me before crossing.
"But I'm a New Yorker!" he proclaimed. "I've crossed streets much busier than this! I can cross by myself!"
In addition, when he lingered picking out a snack and was almost late to a special program run by two Chabad-nicks from New York, he said,
"It's okay, I'll talk to them! I'm a New Yorker. They'll understand!"
Understand what? I don't know. But I do know that when you're in Boston, people (even children) get really proud about being from New York.
* * *
We've moved on to our second chapter of Breishit, in which two angels tell Lot that God is going to destroy Sodom and he has to run away and not look back. Why not? Because he might experience schadenfreude. He might feel some sort of pleasure at the ill fate of his evil comrades, and God does not want that to happen.
|Time-out never looked so boring|
The teacher used a sibling analogy to help the kids grasp this concept. "When your sibling gets time-out, do you feel sad? Or do you feel good that they're in time-out and you're not?"
Absent-minded-topographer child answers: "I only get sad when my brother's in time-out, not my sister."
"Why do you get sad when your brother's in time-out?"
"Because he's really cute."
* * *
We're splitting up into reading groups, and one of my favorite girls scoots her chair right in next to mine.
"Did you teach before this year?" she asks me.
"Nope," I reply. (Can't you tell?)
"This must be the best year of your life!" she says.
Either this or when I was in third grade. The jury's still out. I'll keep you posted. :) Until then, enjoy Calvin and Hobbes!