Yesterday I started to get my feet under me on a new job. I'm working as an Enrichment Coordinator for a K-6 school, the sister site to the school my children attend. It's still a new school and there are so many challenges to a new charter. Kids are always needy and individual but these kids feel like they are even more so. That could be because I'm in the middle of it and I am new and they don't yet know how far they can push me. Even the ones who I've known for years give me sidelong glances and then push the envelope. Can they get away with this here? I stare down one kid -- one who I've known since he was a babe -- and whisper, "I know your mother." He straightens up and stops pushing, but keeps his eyes on me.
I feel like I'm in the weeds.
And then there's the ones with their own IEP and who speak with a brutal honesty, but without trying to hurt you in any way. Today it was M who walked up to me and touched my temples. "Your hair is white right here."
"Yes, it is." I reply.
"You're going to want to dye it."
"Am I?" I question.
"Well, you don't want to look old!" he insists.
"I don't feel old."
"Then you should dye it."
"You know what I've been thinking about doing with it?" I ask, "Dying it purple."
His eyes light up and his face breaks into a smile, "YES! YOU SHOULD DO THAT!"
I haven't met his mom yet, but it seems inevitable.
"Hey, do you know what happened to the scratching stick you were holding?" I ask a kindergartner.
"Nope." She replies.
"I had six in this bag and now I only have five." Her body shifts slightly towards her backpack. "I feel like you had it in your hand when you came out to put your rainbow paper in your bag."
She backs right up to cover her backpack and shakes her head, "No, I don't know where it went."
"Huh. Your body is telling me that you are hiding something in your bag."
Her eyes dart back and forth and she makes a decision. "Maybe we should look in my bag and see if it walked in there when I wasn't looking."
"Oh, what a fine idea!" I exclaim.
She rummages around and produces the stick, "HEY! Look what I found! It must have walked into there... that happens sometimes, things just walk into my bag."
"We're lucky we caught it before it ran right off campus!"
She nods solemnly while placing the stick back where it belongs.
Her mom? We've been drunk in Palm Springs together.