It was a long day.  I saw 5 children for an hour each at 3 different sites, on a beautiful spring day when all I wanted to do was be outside.  I did get to go for a short walk with Dante’s class around the block.  Obstacles included such things as mud puddles, craters, loose concrete, and broken glass, but thankfully no condoms (used or new) or dime bags.  It’s not a terrible neighborhood, during daylight hours. 

Dante and Louis, the child I see after Dante, both attend a church basement daycare.  The staff really cares for the kids and has, on the whole, non-yelling, non-screaming, non-day-care-butt-wielding staff members.  They’re pretty hands-off, which means that when I go with the kids into the indoor “gym” (see basement of the church basement, formerly known as auditorium/multipurpose space with stage), I’m the only one interacting with kids, so they gravitate to me like nobody’s business.  My supervisory remarked, “No wonder they go to you; their teachers are all sitting in chairs socializing.”  Yes, teachers need a mental break.  But gross motor play is just just a wild, unruly play time for kids to get their wiggles out.  It’s also a valuable opportunity to teach turn-taking,  support language skills, and encourage cooperative play on many levels.  So I play with the kids.  The teachers like the kids, but they have no idea about developmental appropriateness.  This ranges from having 2.5 year olds do coloring pages of “I is for Iguana” where they’re allowed 1 crayon each and told to “color nicely”.  It also includes Ms. Sasha taking her 4 year olds on hour-and-a-half walks around the neighborhood, into the dollar store and drug store, to tire them out for their naps.  I have much work to do at this school.  But I digress. 

This afternoon, as I was cutting up kiwis for Louis’ class, two girls were playing the game little girls play where you rescind friendship for minor offenses, uninvite people to your non-existent Transformers tea parties, and stand there verbally mocking each other.  Charity had just told Betzaida that she couldn’t have any of her kiwi (which, of course, I was the one cutting and doling out to each child.)  Never mind that there were enough for each child to have one entire kiwi.  Never mind that prior to my peeling and cutting them, Louis had said, “Potatoes?  Dat’s nasty!  I don’t yike potatoes.”  Now that they saw that cool green hue, and heard my solid sales pitch, everyone wanted a piece of the action.  So Charity said her piece, and Betzeida responded with a solid, “You’re not my friend.  I hate you.”  Louis, remembering his Wednesday morning sing-along with Pastor John and his guitar, said, quite clearly,

“Jesus don’t yike dat.”

Damn straight Louis.  Rock on with your character education and guitar sing-alongs.  Rock on, Pastor John. 

The best part?   Louis’ speech goal says something about expressing himself in clear 3-5 word sentences to express needs or make comments.  What communicative act does moral reprimand fall under?

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