All you need is…
A story from Friday. You might recall Friday? This happened late Friday afternoon. I was tired. I was perhaps even a bit giddy. I can get that way when I’m tired. We are singing, as we do in the late afternoons.
“Old MacDonald had a farm!
And on this farm he had a…”
“Grace, it’s your turn. What did he have?” Grace flips over the card in her lap, looks at the picture.
“He had a pig! And what sound does a pig make?”
Grace snorts most realistically. No anemic ‘oink, oinks’ around here. No, we go for full-on, full-nose, open-mouthed snorts, snorts with added value grunting. Because we have been to the farm! We know what pigs sound like!
The song continues. Each child has a card in their lap; I have a pile beside me, ready to hand out for the next round of verses. Rory had a goat. Jazz had a bunny. (No, bunnies don’t make noises — unless you count the “I’m-going-to-die!!!” shriek of terror, which I am not about to teach a bunch of babies — so what we do is twitch our noses. Cutest damned thing you ever want to see, five toddlers attempting to twitch their noses. Assuming you can get them all to twitch at the same time. Generally Grace and Rory manage it while the others give them WTF stares…)
So. Grace had a pig, Rory a goat, Jazz a bunny. And Poppy?
“What did he have, Poppy? What animal is that?”
Poppy looks at her card, considering.
“Arse.” Her voice is firm. She knows what she knows. “Arse.”
I quell a giggle. “No, lovie. That’s a cow.”
“Cow, that’s right! And what does a cow say?”
She knows the “moo”, attempts a creditably drawn-out lowing. “Mmmmmoooo.” We’re back on track. Away we go, taking turns through sheep, duck, rooster, dog … and then… this picture hits the top of the pile.
So of course I give it to Poppy. Because I am mature like that. Poppy is pleased to see this picture, because this one? This one she knows!
(HA! Did I call that right, or what?!)
You will recall that I am a wild and weary woman by now, twenty or so minutes from closing on a Friday afternoon. Teachable moment, pshaw! Improve her vocabulary? Correct her pronunciation?
“That’s right! Arse!” I start to giggle. The kids smile tentatively, as they often do when an adult is being inexplicable. “Old MacDonald had an arse!” Now I’m laughing. “In fact,” I say, because I am totally on a SUPER-CLEVER, totally HIGH-CLASS roll now, “Old MacDonald had a whole herd of arses!”
I’m not quite rolling on the floor laughing, but it’s close. Rory, Grace and Poppy laugh with me, though a bit uncertainly. What are we laughing about? God knows, but it must be funny!!! Right? Yeah! Daniel doesn’t often pay much attention to circle time, but my
hysteria giggles have drawn him in, and he stands at the edges, grinning broadly.
“Arse! Arse!” Poppy has gathered in some vague way this word is the source of the hilarity. “Arse!”
I attempt to sing, “Old MacDonald had an arse”, but I shudder into giggles partway through. The others are laughing without reserve now. Full-on belly laughs all round. We are a jiggling heap of lunatics right now, even though only one of us knows what’s so damned funny. Laughter being contagious and all.
Jazz, however, appears immune. She surveys the bedlam around her disapprovingly.
“NoooOOO!” her voice is thick with indignation. “HORSE. Is a HORSE, Mary!”
Does this calm us down? Not even close. In fact, and I know this might surprise you — it certainly surprised her — her protests just made me laugh harder. She huffs at us. Poor indignant, over-ridden Jazz. And the laughter rolls on.
Friday afternoon turned out to be pretty good, after all, all things considered.