Aleita's kindergarten class had their Thanksgiving play this morning at her school. The parents (or whoever the kids' guests were) could then stay for lunch with the kindergartener. The play and songs that the kids performed were very cute - - what is not to love about a bunch of little kids dressed up as Pilgrims and Indians? (Aleita was a Pilgrim, which was bad casting in my opinion. Regular readers of my blog and those that know her can agree that she is much more of the Indian variety.) At any rate, she made a pretty cute Pilgrim with her braids sticking out from beneath her little white paper bonnet.
After the performance, the kindergarteners went back to their classroom to remove costumes, then met up with their guests to go to lunch. I discovered that it only takes a brief witnessing of parent/child interaction at your child's school to reaffirm the belief that perhaps you are not doing such a bad job at being a parent after all. The mother that sat beside me at the lunch table had brought a younger child with her who was perhaps three years old. Her kindergarten son and three year old daughter spent most of the time at lunch throwing things back and forth at one another while the mom begged them in a whiny voice to stop.
The parents of the child who sat across from us had packed their child's lunch - and what a healthy alternative they had offered him in place of the cafeteria lunch: The kid had a vat of cheese spread and a roll of crackers. The tub of cheese spread was the kind you get when you order from a school fundraiser - - probably enough for ten people to easily share it - - yet here was this five-year old boy, happily consuming 100 grams of fat in one sitting. Toward the end of the meal, he said to his dad, "I want some of your applesauce," then without hesitation, proceeded to dip his index and middle finger onto his dad's tray into the applesauce and shovel it into his mouth. His dad simply said, "here's my spoon if you want some," as he handed him a utensil to use.
The funny thing is, when I have volunteered in Aleita's classroom, I find that most of these kids are actually fairly well-behaved and pretty nice little kids. When I used to teach elementary school, I often noticed the same thing - - kids will usually live up to whatever set of expectations are provided to them. I had many parents that wondered why their child would behave so much better for me than they would for them. My five-year old is certainly no angel, but you can be sure that if she took her fingers and dipped them into the food on my plate, I would be sure to give her something - though I doubt it would be a spoon.