Friday, July 5, 2013

I Love Showing Up

Warning: this post is all about my daycare kids, and it's probably about to get cute and mushy all up in this blog. What can I say, I spend 10 hours a day with them. I don't have anything else to talk about.

So, we recently had VBS at First Pres. All of the daycare classes with kids who are 3 and above go and there are other non-daycare kids who go as well, so it was 5 days of pure chaos. But MAN, that was some of the sweetest, funniest chaos ever.

We started every morning by singing and dancing to this year's VBS songs, and those 30 minutes were my favorite part of every day.

"Gonna give all da gwory give da gwory to our king, gonna waise this woof when we start to sing. All da way to Heaven, our pwaises will wing, gonna give all da gwory give da gwory to our king!!"

Cracked. Me. Up. When I looked around while we were singing and dancing, the kids were singing and dancing while giving me the biggest, cheesiest, smiles I've ever seen. It was like a huge, thick blanket of God's love was wrapped around the entire room. My heart was exploding with joy. It was that kind of happiness that causes you to smile until your face hurts. Then, when you think it can't get any cuter, the VBS leader says "okay let's pray" and you watch tons of 4 year olds fold their hands and squint their eyes shut.

And just when I think my heart can't possibly take anymore of the sweetness, one of the kids looks at me in the middle of singing and says, "WOW. I bet this is making God so happy, huh Ms. Awexa?"

Yes, baby. So happy.

I'm trying to soak up these last few weeks with them before they move up to their new room, and they have been cracking me up lately. Earlier this week, we were playing around and one of them said, "You're not the boss, Ms. Awexa, I'M the boss now! I'm the new teacher!" I decided to humor them, so I started acting like a 4-year-old. "Mr. Garrett!! Ms. Emma!! Ms. Kennedy!! Wahhh, I don't want to play in this center. I don't like this snack. Wah wah wah!" They were dying with laughter. I was worried about how they would imitate me as a teacher, so I was relieved when they said, "Finish your snack and go to the blocks center!" Then they began joking around and told me to go to the thinking chair.

They want me to go to a place where I get to sit alone? Where no one gets to talk to me? Where I get to put my head down without anyone touching me and sit in the peace in quiet?

Oh, YES PLEASE. I volunteer to go to the thinking chair.

Some of my kids left the daycare for the summer, so I only have 7 or 8 every day. This week, we had our 4th of July celebration. It started out as a little party with a craft or two, and then a co-worker and I basically turned it into a 4th of July field day. What can we say? We really like being elementary ed majors. And we are just awesome teachers. So there's that.

Here they are in their firework hats in front of their paper chain & hand print flag!

We did tons of cute crafts thanks to Pinterest and a few teacher websites! I can't find the link for the hats, but basically we used poster board for the hat, construction paper for the fireworks, and curled the paper to make it fall outward. Then we made firework art using paint and straws. They were so cute! Tip: if it won't work, put a little water in the paint to thin it out. We also did a tissue paper star light catcher thingy. But we didn't do the "USA" stuff that's hanging off of those. And then we made noise shakers so they could have a parade and make noise. I'm pretty sure their parents have always liked me, but they probably don't now that I gave their 4-year-old a noise shaker right before a 4-day weekend. :)

Then we gave them sugar for their snack after nap time, because the doughnuts I brought them for breakfast didn't have enough sugar in them. And because I'm crazy.

We played pin the stars on the flag. (No Pinterest here, this was ALL Ms. Alexa!) It's EXTRA hilarious with 4 year olds.

We also did bubble snakes, and now regular bubbles will never be good enough. Cut the bottom off of a water bottle, cover that opening with a sock, dip it in bubbles, and blow through the top of the water bottle. And BAM, bubble snakes. You can also put food coloring on the end of the sock and they will be colorful! (TIP: when doing this with young children, be sure to tell them that they can't suck in when their mouth is on the bottle, or you will have kids choking on soap.)

Then, it was finally time for water games!! The kids had been waiting all day, and I was ready to pull my hair out while feeling like my heart was going to burst with happiness. It's confusing, I know. Party day will do that to ya.

We played different games with water balloons. We did balloon tossing, and then we just made them do silly stuff while trying to balance their water balloon. But the game they loved the most was water freeze tag! I bought a bunch of 97 cent squirt bottles at Walmart and filled them with ice water, and they basically played freeze tag, but instead of touching the person to freeze them, you squirt them with the ice water! After a while, it pretty much just turned into running around and squirting each other with water, but they were perfectly content and so was I! 

Until they were like, "GET MS. AWEXA!!!" and then there were 7 children running towards me, ready to drench me and tackle me to the ground. And that's basically what they did. 

Oh, be still my heart.

I always seem to have an epiphany at weird times, but I never thought I'd have one while I was tumbling to the ground and watching my life flash before my eyes as seven 4-year-olds, armed with ice water, surrounded me. But there I was, doubled over on the ground, laughing so hard there were tears pouring out of my eyes (or it was all of the water that was being squirted in my face..?) and I hear, "I love to play with you." BAM. There was my "duh" moment. 

I could plan hundreds of activities and games, but it's really just my presence that matters. Playing with them, giving lots of hugs, and always opening my arms when they ask to sit in my lap. Letting them tackle me to the ground and answering their "I wove you Ms. Awexa" with an "I love you too" even if I want to say more. I love being your teacher, you are perfect in every way, and I say a prayer for you every single night. 

My mom always says, "You know, Alexa, 90% of life is showing up" in that mom voice of hers. 

And she's right, but don't you dare tell her I said that. ;) 

They don't care if my hair is messy, or if I'm a little cranky, or if I have to wing our activity for that day because I stayed up all night studying and forgot to plan one. All they care about is me showing up every day at 7am.

And ya know what? I love showing up.

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