Happy Friday everyone!
Photo courtesy of Dance Arts Project
It’s a beautiful day out in the Bay Area today and I’ve been wanting to do a follow-up on my previous post for a while now. TGIF everyone!
I actually have a surplus of these gems, so don’t be surprised if you happen upon a Part III and IV within the next few months. I’m going to begin with some of the more recent things that have come out of my students mouths these past weeks. I can honestly say that some of these occurred all at once, within the same class. It’s like the little ones know whatever they’re saying is infinitely amusing to the adults, so they just keep talking. There seems to have been a recent bout of illness going around the dancing school, so when inquiring about the health of another little girl in class, one randomly volunteers this information:
“You know what?!” (This is generally the premise for something exciting, is it not?) “I threw up right in my bed last night!”
Lovely. We then checked to make sure she wasn’t feeling like throwing up on the dancefloor anytime soon. She wasn’t. Following this discussion of everyone’s general health, we somehow strayed upon the topic of babies. You know, the kind mommy and daddy go “pick up” from the hospital. The point was made that Miss Eva does not have any little brothers or sisters, but she does have a kitty-cat. A little one piped up:
“My landlord says that we can’t have any dogs or cats, we can only get more kids….”
Because of course that’s how it works. Little brother= stand in for the puppy I really wanted.
Chatting about babies with young children is always amusing. That is, of course, until one of them asks you if you’re pregnant. Irked, I replied: “Do I look pregnant to you?” They suddenly realized that they had made a horrible mistake in asking me this question. You can’t really blame them, though. The world and everything it contains is such a hard concept to grasp.
Some of my slightly older girls seem to have recently come across the notion that there is a correct and incorrect way of referring to people of different ethnicities:
“My friend, she’s Vietnamese, but… she looks Asian” (The latter part of this sentence was whispered, I’m assuming in fear of being politically incorrect.) I assured her that Vietnam is, in fact, a country in Asia, therefore her friend is Asian.
Some children seem to miss this mark altogether. When asked what she was going to be for Halloween one year, a student once responded:
“I’m gonna be a Chinese girl!”
The actual Chinese girls in the room did not find this to be a valid costume. We do not live in Missouri in the 1950s, we are in California, a state diverse enough to know that dressing up stereotypically as some of our “exotic” classmates is a little inappropriate.
We do our best to educate them. We teach them the meanings of the French words we use in ballet class, and give them corresponding historical anecdotes when possible. Our director, Michaela, once asked her youngest class as to which nice people invented ballet. The random guesses commenced: Japan, Germany, Italy, America. She then gave them what she thought was a hint: “The nice people who invented French fries.”
“OH! The nice people at McDonald’s.”
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this year’s Nutcracker is now brought to you by the quarter-pounder with cheese. Why? Just why?
They are dynamic little people, nonetheless. They worry about everyone’s well-being. I had a sunburnt nose once, and, as I drew attention to it one day, my student asked me in a concerned voice:
“Miss Eva…are they going to cut off your nose?”
I assured her that this was not going to be necessary, and that you should always wear lots of sunscreen. They also have big aspirations as to who they would like to be: princesses, doctors, ballerinas. But, every once-in-a-while, a child will tell you that she wants to grow up to be a puppy. I’m not sure how this will work, but I will get back to you on this. They embrace who they are wholeheartedly. When taking roll once, I received the following request from a student:
“Miss Eva…you can call me Marshmallow. That’s my nerd name.”
I didn’t quite know what to do with this, and was pretty sure that her mother was mortified that she had chosen “a stripper nickname,” so I made her name into a hyphenate. Because, Leah-Marshmallow works so much better.
Have a great weekend everyone.