Friday, April 22, 2011

Lunchroom Life Lessons

Just an adorable little girl.
There are some pretty important lessons in life that we learn outside the classroom.  I remember when my Princess learned one of those.

It was August of 2007.  She was still getting acclimated to our new house, into which we had moved four months before.  She had spent a busy summer playing in the yard, fishing with dad, and visiting the zoo.  We celebrated her fifth birthday just two months before with our family and the one little friend she had made at our old apartment complex.  She was both excited and a little scared to be starting Kindergarten.

I would totally put one of these in my house.
On the first day of school we went in and met her teacher, Miss Williamson.  It was a wonderful classroom with a few tiny desks, lots of toys and games, and even a little loft area the kids could climb around on.  She tentatively explored the room, finding her birthday on the big calendar and the desk with her name on it.  She was a brave girl and didn't shed a tear when it was time for mommy and daddy to leave.

I hadn't been so anxious for the end of the school day in ten years.

Finally the three-o-clock bell rang.  Mommy and Daddy were both at the school ready to receive the report on that critical first impression.  "It was OK," she sighed, "but I would have liked my cookie."

See, our school has all-day Kindergarten.  And the kids eat school lunch just like the older elementary kids.  Her first school lunch included a little chocolate-chip cookie for dessert.  In our family, we are more likely to eat fruit with a meal for dessert, and save the extra special stuff (cookies, cake, etc.) for a mid-afternoon or bedtime snack.

What she had done, upon receiving her school lunch tray, is exactly what she had learned to do at home.  She ate her entree and vegetables, drank her milk, and had intended to keep the cookie for a snack later in the day.  The lunch helpers, all adults, had come around to the Kindergarten table to bus the trays for the little ones.  When the Princess had her tray taken away, she had assumed that the cookie left on it would be held for her later.  It was only when she was talking to a little boy in her class about how much she was looking forward to her treat that she learned the cookie was gone forever.

I remember being struck by the tragic comedy of the situation.  She handled it like a champion, there were no tantrums, no tears or anger, she just pursed her lips and swallowed her disappointment.  Of course, after a trauma like that, we had to go out for a special after-school treat.  And The Princess learned a valuable lesson:  When the establishment hands you a cookie, grab it with both hands and don't let go.

1 comment:

  1. What a sweet girl. You must be proud knowing that she carries to school what you teach her at home.