Simple Thanksgivings

Thanksgiving Kindergarteners

Every year in my Kindergarten classroom, we spent the days before Thanksgiving talking about what “giving thanks” meant.  At first, most of the kids were only appreciative of the toys and physical belongings they had.  After more discussions, the students began to look deeper into their daily lives and into their surroundings, and then every child would share one new “Thanksgiving” that had not been mentioned yet.  I would write them all down and create a newsletter for the parents, or in several more ambitious years, I would have the kids illustrate their “Thanksgiving” in the computer lab and create a photo book for the families.

As we enter Thanksgiving this year on November 28, 2013, I encourage you to also make a list of your Thanksgivings, whether just a mental list, or maybe a written one that you can keep and look back on year after year.  Begin with the superficial items that you are thankful for and then dig deeper to acknowledge specific people, memories, or objects that have made 2013 special.

Here I share what some of my Kindergarteners wrote:

Room 8 Kindergarteners are thankful for…

… my sister because she plays with me. (Ewan)

… my toy dragon because it has lightning pieces on the wings. (Siddharth)

… my dog because he comes near me when I am sad. (Jon)

… pillows because they are soft. (Elijah)

… computers because I can make something on the computer. (Nanaka)

… the playground because I can go on the monkey bars. (Alana)

… TV shows because I like to watch cartoons. (Sainik)

… jackets because when I am cold I can wear it. (Kai-Ting)

… noodles because they are skinny. (Anthony)

… my bicycle because I can ride it. (Madeline) 

… chairs because when I eat I can sit down. (Konoka) 

… my monster ball because when I poke it, it opens and there is a Pokemon inside.  (Yuko)

… my teddy bear because I can hug him to sleep. (Vivian)

… my duck because I play with it at my daddy’s house.  (Evelyn)

… food because I can eat. (Tess)

… my family. (Evan)

… boats because I love them. (Paul)

… my cat because he tickles me. (Shaunak)

… video games because I can play them after dinner. (Sumanth)

… my teacher because she teaches me art. (Madhav)

… silly bands because I like to wear them all the time. (Ava)

… my big brother because he makes me laugh when I cry. (Rylee)

… toys because I can build Legos. (Nobuaki)

… my mom because she makes rice for me. (Anika)

… my bedroom because I can spend time with my sister. (Sreenidhi)

… my dad because he lets me watch TV. (Caroline)

… shoes because you can walk, run, or climb. (Saad)

… friends because they play with me all the time. (Clarissa)

… Nintendo because it has Luigi in the picture. (Adrian)

… my cousin because she bakes cookies with me. (Frances)

… my party dress because it is for parties at my house. (Mia)

… my grandma because she hugs me. (Sydney)

… my piano because I can play my favorite songs in my room whenever I want to.  (Jimin)

Thankful Book Kindergarteners

If you would like to read more examples of different Thanksgivings from the view of a 5-year-old, please click on the image above.  I wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with happiness, health, and full bellies!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rain, Rain, Go Away… Or Not.

Sunshine Light Rain Clouds

The sunshine follows the rain.

I have never been a fan of rain for several reasons.  First of all, I get headaches when my hair is wet for a long period of time.  Second, driving IS a headache because you have to maneuver between cars that are always speeding, rain or shine, and cars that decide it is safer to drive half the speed limit.  Then again, having a car is a luxury in the rain!  When I studied abroad in Hong Kong during college, I relied on public transportation and experienced many, many “road splashes” from cars that drove a little too close to the curb and a little too quickly.  I always hated that.  Not only was I drenched from the rain, but now I was covered in dirty, muddy, road water.  Lovely.  Big road splashes are my third reason for disliking rain.  Add on some chills from the cold, gloominess which could border slight depression, and extreme laziness, and all I want to do on rainy days is hide under some warm blankets.

Yesterday was the first fall of rain for this season.  I woke up in the morning and looked at the weather forecast with a sigh, and proceeded to dress myself appropriately with full rain coverage from head to toe.  But something changed my usual rainy mood yesterday… my 2-year-old daughter once again taught me to open my eyes and see rain a little bit differently.

It’s a Very Special Day

To start, getting dressed in the morning was exciting for my daughter.  She had acquired some hand-me-down Hello Kitty rain boots a few months ago and when I told her she was going to get to wear them today, it was as if I just told you you won a million dollars.  Yeah, THAT excited.  Rain boots?!?!  When I dropped her off at school, she immediately ran to her friends and teachers to show off her precious rain boots.

There is Magic in the Sky

After school was when the real magic happened.  Usually when I pick up my daughter, she runs outside and plays with some of the outdoor toys.  This time, as soon as she stepped out, she literally froze and just looked up.  Staring.  Up.  Rain.  Falling.  She was in awe.  Her eyes got really big as she looked at me with excitement and then continued to let her face get all wet with raindrops.  She just stared for a couple more moments.

I Love to Splish Splash

I’m sure you can guess what happens next.  “Puddle” became her new vocabulary word for the day.  She started really obedient, listening to rain-phobic-mommy saying to walk “around” the puddles.  But after walking around a few, she could not resist her impulsive self.  What happens if I step INSIDE the puddle?  Splash!!!  Oh, splash?  Splash!!! Splash splash splash splash splash!

Don’t Touch The Itsy Bitsy Spider

By the way, on a normal day, we would have left school and would have been in the car by now.  But nope.  My curious daughter notices for the first time, a water spout.  She has never noticed that the water spout has always been there on the side of the building, but this time, rain water dripping out at the bottom of the spout caught her attention.  Once again, I tried my tricks.  I reminded her of the Itsy Bitsy Spider song and told her that she shouldn’t touch the water because the spider is being “washed out!”  That worked for about 1 minute.  And then it became the most irresistible running faucet for her hands to play in.

Where Is My Swimsuit?

One more stop.  My daughter notices an overhang on the far side of the building that has rain dripping from the rooftop, similar to a shower in the bathtub.  Yes, a shower.  Oh boy.  She runs for it and at this point, she might as well be wearing her swimsuit.  My daughter, who I know has always loved playing in water fountains, beaches, and splash parks, has clearly a difficult time distinguishing between summer and not-so-summer water play.

“I’m singin’ in the rain, just singin’ in the rain
What a glorious feeling I’m happy again
I’m laughing at clouds so dark above
The sun’s in my heart and I’m ready for love
Let the stormy clouds chase everyone from the place
Come on with the rain, I’ve a smile on my face
I’ll walk down the lane with a happy refrain
And singin’ just singin’ in the rain.”

– Arthur Freed

Yes, I can be a parent and bark do’s-and-don’ts to my daughter.  Yes, I can worry that my daughter will get sick because she is getting soaked.  Yes, I could force her to leave and go home.

But this was my daughter’s first true experience interacting with rain and all its magic.  How could I stop this moment of innocence, discovery, and pure wonder?  Not even the can-I-stay-in-my-pajamas-on-a-rainy-day mommy could stop this beautiful picture.  I mean, who stares at the sky with rain falling down?  Definitely not me, and I doubt many of you do either.  But now, because I witnessed my daughter’s fascination with rain yesterday, I have a new appreciation for rain and I see the beauty that it brings out.  I am reminded that I should approach all parts of my life with that same appreciation – to find meaning for the inevitable rain that falls on us, to find the pathway to sunshine, and to cherish every step in between, especially if that means splashing in a few puddles along the way!

“The world goes up and the world goes down,
the sunshine follows the rain;
and yesterday’s sneer and yesterday’s frown
can never come over again.

~ Charles Kingsley