Thursday, 14 June 2012

Roots of Hilarity

When I was still pregnant, I was offered the opportunity to take part in a program called Roots of Empathy. It's a program whereby moms take their baby into a classroom once a month over the course of a school year to teach the children about growth and development in babies. The motto of the program is "Love grows brains" and it is also supposed to ease bullying issues within troubled classrooms.

I was so excited because I loved the idea and purpose. I knew it was going to be educational for the kids, as well as for me, but nobody told me how both sweet and hilarious it was going to be.

The class that I was assigned to was an elementary school class that was described to me as "troublesome". There were a lot of kids with learning disabilities and behavioral issues and it was thought that the kids would really benefit from the program. I was all about it and clearly so was Avery.

Our first day was back in October. I dressed Avery in her Halloween outfit and we were on our way, ready for anything. I will admit I was expecting a bunch of thugs, but what I was met with were a bunch of kids with pretty sweet faces who were absolutely bewildered at the sight of a three month old baby. They were terrible singers, would argue over what part of "Wheels on the Bus" to sing next, and didn't really know the words to "Mary Had a Little Lamb", but they sang their little hearts out to Avery and she stared at them with undivided attention as they butchered every nursery rhyme known to man. It was amazing and absolutely heart warming. Seriously.

Over the last nine months, I have grown to love the question period of the visit the most. As I'm sure you all know, kids in general have zero filter and so it was always exciting to hear what they were going to ask next. Some of my favorites are as follows:

"When she eats pisketti, does she dump the bowl over and rub it all over her face?" Pretty detailed question. And sadly no.

"Does she fart?" Yes, very loudly in fact, and sometimes they really stink depending on what I ate the day before.

"Do you have a dog?" Yes! Thanks for asking!

"Are you going to have another baby soon?" Well, I'm thinking about having unprotected sex after Christmas maybe, but I don't know how to say that to a bunch of kids in elementary school...

I also loved when they would raise their hand, tell the teacher they had a question, but then make a statement.

Child: "I have a question."
Teacher: "Is it a legitimate question about the baby?"
C: "Yes."
T: "Well what is your question?"
C: "I have a dog too. His name is Sam."
Me: "Really? Cool!"

It was pretty cool to watch the boys in particular go from acting like tough guys in the beginning to reading her stories by the last day, as well as get in verbal altercations with each other over the words to songs that they were singing.

Yesterday was our last day, sadly, and they had put together a little early birthday party for Avery, complete with homemade cards and gifts. They gave her some books and had a cake, but my favorite thing was the Wishing Tree that they made for her. They each told the teacher a wish they had for her and it was written on a leaf and put on a tree that was drawn on a large piece of paper. This tree will be proudly displayed in Avery's play room, but it wasn't until I got home that I actually read the wishes.

Some of them, as you can probably see, were sweet. "We wish that you get lots of love," "That you live a long life," "That you are healthy," "That you get a good education", etc. However, there were others that literally made me tear up with laughter, "That you get a good husband," "That you get lots of money," and my personal favorite, as well as the one that brought on the tears, "That you never join a gang".

I can picture the look on the teacher's face as it was jotted down, trying to validate the child's wish but at the same time probably shaking with stifled laughter.

Well kids, I have to say, it was a great experience. You've touched my heart and I can promise you won't be forgotten. And for all of your sake, I hope that Avery doesn't grow up to be a poor, uneducated, unemployed, lesbian bully who is throwing up gang signs and getting bullied herself, and then drowns her sorrows in booze and drugs before lighting up a smoke and hopping behind the wheel, subsequently dying at a young age. I hope she doesn't grow up to be a disappointment to you guys. I promise I'll try my best.

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