Okay, you’ve probably had it up to here with cute stories about my little ones. (I’m holding my hand up over my head, just in case you’re wondering where ‘up to here’ is.) I promise I actually have other stuff in the works, but sometimes my kiddos just sweep in and steal my heart and I can’t keep from writing about it.
One boy in particular made me laugh so hard today that I actually had to wipe the tears from my eyes. This kid always has a twinkle in his eye and he recently told me that he styles his fauxhawk every morning. All. By. Himself. He’s the kid who writes his own knock-knock jokes and reads them to the class. It matters little that most of his jokes don’t make any sense. Relevant punchlines are totally optional in first grade.
Early this morning Twinkle Eyes came in the classroom and whispered in my ear “Tomorrow is the day my mom comes home!” Okay, what started as a whisper ended up more like an ear-piercing, headache inducing screech, which is absolutely forgivable since his mom is in the military and hasn’t been home in months. I can overlook a little tinitis.
Later that day, I was reading a book about George Washington to the class. I was in the middle of explaining why the colonists didn’t want be under England’s rule.
Twinkle Eyes raised his hand. “England is where the Pilgrims came from, right?”
“Exactly.” I pulled down the map and showed them England in relation to the colonies and also in relation to California.
“I remember you reading about the Pilgrims coming across the ocean on The Cauliflower.” He sat up tall, so proud to remember such a good detail from November.
And I tell you, I couldn’t help it, I cracked up. Not just a snicker behind my hand or a dainty little giggle. I was laughing so hard I had to put the book down and wipe my eyes on the back of my hand. They sailed on The Cauliflower! The Cauliflower! Even now as I type it, I’m fighting back the chuckles. Gimme a sec to get a grip. Talk amongst yourselves.
Ahem. Okay, that’s better.
As I was having a complete fit, my class sat on the rug giggling at their teacher who had surely lost it for good this time. Twinkle Eyes was equal parts happy to have made us all laugh and perplexed at what exactly was so funny.
I clicked on our interactive whiteboard and pulled up a photo of cauliflower and explained that it’s a vegetable. Then I pulled up a drawing of The Mayflower. I flicked back and forth between the two pictures explaining to Twinkle Eyes and the rest of my little ones how it would have been really funny to see a bunch of Pilgrims sailing across the Atlantic on cauliflower. By this point, they were beside themselves, giggling and snorting and holding their sides. And I was right there with them. Twinkle Eyes was laughing the hardest of all.
Somehow we managed to collect ourselves and have a productive day. Toward the end of the day, Twinkle Eyes was working on a card for his mom. I looked over his shoulder to see how it was progressing. The card was a folded piece of sky blue construction paper and on the inside he’d markered a dark blue ocean. His mom was sailing in a boat toward him. And he was sailing a second boat toward her. I bet you can guess what their boats were made of. Yep. Cauliflower. Cauliflower with little broccoli oars.
My little guy may have to explain why the boats are made of cauliflower, but I’m certain in my bones that his mom will understand the meaning of the card. I can just picture Twinkle Eyes sitting in her lap reading it. I picture her laughing at his jokes. I picture her helping him style his hair in the mornings. I picture him whispering special things in her ear.
In a couple of days his mom will pack her things up again and fly back across the ocean. In her suitcase I imagine she’ll carry that drawing of cauliflower ships. And in her mind she will hold the memory of her son’s twinkling eyes.