During a not very quiet wait in the hallway between lunch recess and gym, these pre-adolescent angels and jesters lavished me with their humor and tricks. I heard a small, beautiful little girl break into a gritty British accent. I asked if she could do Australian, and she put anotha' shrimp on th' barbe. Another girl showcased her dance moves. Not too shabby. A little boy with a voice four times as big as his stature announced his deep love for all things military and saluted me feverishly. Then a little boy, bearing the expression of true curiosity and wrenching thought, asked me something along the lines of...
"Hey how do you say that word, that goes W-H-A-T?"
"Oh, it's WREATH like a Christmas wreath." Smile.
"Like you hang on your front door at Christmastime. Wreath."
The class got really, really quiet. Everyone was watching, and I no longer felt like the adult in the room. Err, hallway..
"The W is silent you guys." I am partially deaf, or so my husband says. And, in my defense, often in a classroom I have to write my name on a white board or something and repeat it several times before the kids remember it. The whole Christmas wreath trick usually works wonders, except that he was't asking about my name.
"No." He was shaking his head a little now, "how do you say that word that you spell W-H-A-T." He was really enunciating now, stressing every syllable as if his life, or maybe mine, depended on it.
"Wait, what?" I was so painfully confused. Then I got it. My gosh.
The class exploded into appreciative laughter and I was actually relieved because I had no clue how else I could possibly explain to them the pronunciation of my last name.
Once we were back in the safe cocoon of the classroom, perhaps out of sheer pity, but also with a hefty dash of affection, the little girl with a thousand foreign accents gave me this:
Sh seemed to be saying that from now on, using my first name was the way to go.
Then, at the end of the day, a cherry on the ice cream, a riddle:
"Hey Mrs. Reed why did Tigger look in the potty?"
I'm gonna let you guys come up with that answer on your own. If you know the answer, or if you have a fifth grader nearby to tell it to you, please share in the comments.
I Love Kids. The End.