I originally wrote this on September 17, 2010, when Thomas was in Kindergarten. It’s one of my favorites and I thought I would share.
The Blue Drill
Over dinner tonight, Thomas and I were recounting his day. It was the third week of kindergarten and he was adjusting quite well to being a “big kid”. I asked him what his favorite part of the day had been. He thought for a few seconds and then mentioned three things: writing his name, jumping through hula hoops during PE, and the fire drill. So, I did what most moms would do, I started to ask questions so we could review what he had learned.
“Show me how you write your name.” I suggested.
“You hold the pencil like this,” he demonstrated “and then start writing on the paper.”
I watched as he bit his tongue in concentration, just like his daddy does.
h….looks more like an n but, great effort Buddy!
m…looks like McDonalds Golden arches, and is just about the same size.
a…looks like the o but has a straight line drawn through the middle, close enough.
s…hum, backwards and is sort of a mixture between the letter c and a backwards number 5.
I admired his work and praised him, making him grin from ear to ear.
“Tell me about PE and the hool-a-hoops.” I say.
He then jumps down from the table and proceeds to re-enact how the hula hoops were spread out across the ground. The kids were pretending, as they moved between each hoop, to watch out for sharks. Dah dum……….…..…….dah dum……………dah dum….….dah dum,..,,dah dum dah dum dah dum Dah Dah Dah…..this is Thomas re-enacting the theme song from JAWS. Come on, you remember. Now you are going to have that tune stuck in your head all night, just like I did. Anyway, he goes on to tell me that if you were caught outside of a hula hoop when the music stopped, you had to pretend you were eaten by the big giant shark. I couldn’t resist asking the next question.
“What kind of sharks were swimming around the hula hoops?”
He quickly began to list off different shark species while counting off on each finger. My little marine biologist!
“Tiger sharks, and whale sharks, and great white sharks, and sand sharks, and hammerhead sharks.” He paused. His forehead wrinkled as he thought of how to expand his list.
“Blue Sharks, and sharks that have legs, and, and, sharks that lived with dinosaurs, and um, and um those sharks that that Donald Schultz catches, and then, he um, takes blood samples from their fins, and um, he puts the blood in a thing, and then Donald Schultz unzips his backpack, and and and then he gets on his boat, and and and then he drives really fast back to his lab.” He rounded off the list by mentioning his favorite Animal Planet TV star from ” Wild Recon” who captures all sorts of dangerous animals for research.
After the worlds longest run-on sentence explanation, I decided to ask one more question to round out our school day review.
“What is a fire drill?” I pretended not to know.
“When there is a fire, this really really loud bell rings and we all line up and go outside to our classroom spot.” he explained. “And we all have to be really really quiet and and um listen to the Mr. McFarling.” he referenced his kindergarten teacher.
“Wow, buddy, I’m glad Mr. McFarling is teaching you how to stay safe while in school.”
Then he remembers one more thing. “Oh, and they also taught us about a Blue Drill.”
“Blue Drill?” I asked, this time I really was clueless about this kind of drill.
“Yeah. It’s when a really mad person comes to school and walks around really really angry and doesn’t make good choices.” he explained with the complete innocence of a child.
My eyes widended and my heart skipped a beat as I realized what a Blue Drill really was. I began to feel a little panicky thinking about all of the horrific school violence over the past several years, Columbine, the Amish children in Pennsylvania…the list is just way to long. Did I really think that we were in a bubble and safe from that kind of terror? Reality smacked me square in the face.
Thomas continued, “Mr. McFarling then turns off the lights, and then me and all my friends, we um, get down on our knees, and and then we hide behind our desks, and and and then Mr. McFarling, he locks the door and then we stay in the room until that really really mad person is gone.”
I sat there speechless, which for me is quite difficult. Dozens of thoughts buzzed through my head. Eventually, he interrupted my racing thoughts as he continued to explain Further.
“But you know what?” he started. “If the angry person comes to our door, Mr. McFarling, my teacher, who is a man, um um, he will grab the bad guy, and and and then Mr. Farling will throw the mad man on the ground, because my teacher is really really strong, and and and they will wrestle and then then the principal will call the the the policeman and then um, they will come and take the mad man away, and and and then he will go to jail for a really really long time, because he made bad choices.”
I remained speechless, my eyes wide.
And then suddenly, my first born’s attention span swiftly changed as he asked, “Can I have some ice cream now.”
“Sure buddy” I said. “Right after you finish your spinach pizza.”
“Okay.” he said crawling back into his chair and taking a huge bite of pizza.
“After dinner can we play pet store?”
“Absolutely” I said, ruffling his hair.
We finished dinner while watching Nick Jr. on TV. And that was that. As I sat, recounting our conversation I kept thinking about the following quote.
“Everything I ever needed to learn about life, I learned in Kindergarten.” One can learn a lot from a 5 year old. How to nurture your imagination, how to take pride in your work (even if you make mistakes) and don’t spend time worrying about what could go wrong.