Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I Am A Mobile Sensory Experience!

As springtime rolls into summer here in Arizona, I start the slow transition from long pants to shorts. I have to make this transition slowly, so as not to blind my students and coworkers. Legs that are as white as mine need to be revealed slowly, over an extended period of time - not just so they get used to being out in the open again, but so that traffic accidents caused by the glare from my legs are kept to a minimum. So, I am currently sporting Capri’s when I go to work. And because I am lazy and have been blessed with blonde leg hair, shaving is not a priority.

Since it is so wonderfully beautiful outside right now, I have been reading my class their daily story outside under a tree. The children gather around me and listen attentively as I read to them.

Sounds idyllic, no?

And it is. Until last week. As I am getting to the crucial part of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” (the pigeon is asking if their mom would let him drive the bus - the tension can be cut with a knife!), one of my students rubs my legs and says, “Wow, your legs sure are pokey.”

Hmmm….so many emotions. Embarrassment (did the dad working in the classroom today hear that comment?), aggravation (it’s the best part of the story!), depression (jeez! now I need to shave my legs), anger (why is that child touching my legs?) to, finally, excitement (teaching opportunity! this is a sensory experience waiting to happen!).

“Wow, your legs sure are pokey.”

“Yes, they are. Are yours?”

“No. Why are your legs pokey and mine aren’t”

“I don’t know. Why do you think that is?”

And, a conversation was born. Before I knew it, the whole class was comparing my pokey legs to their non-pokey legs, and trying to come up with solutions as to why that was. They compared each others’ legs; some legs were hairier than others, but for sure mine were the pokiest (I am having an engraved plaque made to display in my classroom).

Some theories to why my legs were pokey…

“All moms have pokey legs”
“You got stabbed by a cactus”
“You have a beard like a dad on your legs”
“Your leg hair is very straight” (a particularly astute observation, I thought)

And, you always have the one student who hits the nail on the head…

“You didn’t shave your legs!”

Another sensory experience I offer to my students is my soft and cuddly body. Before your mind heads straight to the gutter, my stomach has often been compared to a pillow, “It’s so comfortable when I lay my head on it!” Many a student has fallen asleep on my soft and mushy tummy (I can’t do sit-ups - where would my students nap?) My lack of a six pack has also led to many interesting conversations. Everything from “When is your baby coming out?” to “Why is your tummy so soft and mine isn’t?” I always let them come up with the answers.

I have also had the privilege of having the hairs on my chin closely examined. One of the truly magical things about getting older is my sudden ability to sprout black chin hairs overnight. God forbid if I skip my morning ritual with the magnified mirror, because the opportunity for another sensory discussion would be lost. I am not proud of these ugly hairs, but I am amazed by what the kids say about them.

“It looks like that hair should be on your head”
“Why is it black and your hair is red?”
“It feels different than my dad’s beard”
“Only boys get beards, you’re not a boy are you?”

And, of course, the one student….

“You didn’t shave your face!”

I love my job!

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