This afternoon I had seven girls over for our bimonthly Activity Days … um … activity. I think somehow I intuitively sensed that it was gonna be crazier than usual, so I made sure to have 48 ounces of carbonated liquid courage by my side beforehand. It was just one of those days, I could tell. Spoiler alert: liquid courage did not help.
Such prepubescent gatherings always involve some fast-talking hyperactivity, and since starting this position I’ve learned a few things the hard way. One of those things is to never dole out sugar until after the activity is over. Unlike with teenage boys, refreshments do NOT shut these girls up. Quite the opposite. My depleted supply of headache medicine can back this up.
Last night I made several batches of snickerdoodles that tasted fine but weren’t aesthetic enough to give to CK’s coworkers. I probably had at least three and a half dozen left in a big Tupperware container this afternoon. Had. Anyway, I’d already given each of the girls a little baby food jar full of jelly beans with this precious little Easter poem I ripped off some lady’s blog, but I decided that today was a great opportunity to get rid of some empty calories hanging around my house. Thus at the end of the hour I pulled out the container and told the girls they could have as many cookies as they wanted.
What I expected to happen: Each girl would politely take one or two cookies, maybe three if they were feeling extra hungry. They would also say ‘thank you’. Because that is the ladylike thing to do, and to my knowledge, none of them have been raised by wolves.
What actually happened: A friggin’ Biblical-style plague of locusts. Hands flew faster than sand in a hurricane. I saw two girls immediately snatch four cookies, stack them on top of each other, and eat them like a club sandwich. Others made multiple trips to get two at a time, chomping with open mouths while scattering crumbs all over the floor. One little lady literally leaned over the box and ate singles fist over fist, noshing at least seven down before she paused to take a breath. By the time parents started arriving 30 seconds later, several girls had grabbed stacks four inches high to take home, as if the fifteen cookies they’d already consumed was not enough. Have you ever seen a pack of lions feeding on a zebra carcass? I hadn’t either. All I could do was stare.
There are exactly two and a half snickerdoodles left.
Look. I could care less about the fact that my kitchen’s been picked
messy clean, but I must admit found the lack of common courtesy rather horrifying. Is this how kids are nowadays? Haven’t they been taught to respect others’ things? Is that naive of me? Am I sounding old? Bring me my lap blanket!
I had a good conversation with my co-teacher after everyone had left about the delicacy of balancing teaching with propriety. I’m not these girls’ mother, and I’m very limited in how I can instruct or discipline. I have no problem telling them to stop throwing Chip’s ball around before they break something, or to please stop yelling over me when I’m speaking, or to let the other girls have a fair turn. There are other times when I need to smile and keep my mouth shut, and I do. However, I think this may be one time I dropped the ball. I was so busy standing in morbid, slack-jawed fascination that I didn’t say anything until it was too late. Besides, I worry that the first thing out of my mouth would have been “Woah, there, little piggies, don’t your parents feed you?”
What do you guys think? Was it foolish of me to think that they should’ve known better? Should I have laid down the law for their sakes, even though I genuinely didn’t care about the ugly cookies? I’m thinking yes. Somebody should.
Maybe I’m just tired and pregnant and grouchy. I dunno. At any rate, I’m very glad I only have the *older* girls to teach on Sundays. Yowza.
Currently listening to: Dirty Paws by Of Monsters and Men