Monday, December 11, 2017

"Be who you are" day.

Sometimes, you teach what you need to learn. All of the time, kids are the best teachers. 

Since our kids were both sick, and we pushed through a little too much for Halloween, I decided to make the day after Halloween "Be Who You Are" day.

I had a special present for Everett that he had been asking for, a skirt. 

A little backstory. Everett has a special adoration for girls who are older than him. When he was in school, one of his best friends was a girl a couple years older who would take his hand and walk him all over the playground and comfort him when he was sad, and he talked about her all the time. 

Some of the people he calls his best friends are five and six year old girls (even though the admiration isn't always reciprocal). 

Our goddaughter, who is six, loves to dress up Everett and her little brother, and I think this is one of the reasons why Everett loves dressing up so much. She let Everett borrow her purple tutu for a couple of weeks, and he loved to wear it, and was sad when we returned it. He kept asking if he could have his own skirt, so we shopped together online and he chose a blue one. 

I saved it for the day after Halloween, to keep the fun and dress up going, and gave it to him as part of "Be Who You Are" day.

We read Be Who You Are by Todd Parr, talked about what it means to just be who you are and love other people for who they are, dressed up however we wanted, and then Everett made some "E" art with paint and blue painter's tape.

Sometimes our "school" time leads to frustration and we work through it, and sometimes it ends up being more awesome than I ever envisioned when planning it. 

This time it was the latter. Everett chose to wear his pajamas and his new skirt and dress his sister in a superhero mask. Cambria showed off her superhero skills by climbing up and standing on a rocking chair, because if we just let her be who she is, she would constantly be in danger, climbing and standing up on something treacherous. Everett wanted to read the book together over and over, so he could read the part, "just be who you are." Then, when he did his artwork, he said, "Mom, I don't want to use my paintbrushes anymore, I want to use my fingers. Because today is about just doing what you want, right? I like to make messes."

Of course, my response was, "Make a mess, buddy." 

I created a new measure for the success of a lesson with Everett: Does he get so messy that it warrants a bath after? If so, it means it was an extra successful day at "school." 

Right now, I definitely just want this three year old boy to be himself and make messes.

So when he said, "Mom, can I please sit in the dryer in my skirt and eat my lollipop from trick or treating?" I said yes, because it just seemed like the right thing to do to stave of the post-Halloween blues. 

I continue to learn a lot from him and be inspired to just let go and be myself. 

My kids always teach me more than I teach them, in the same way my students did when I was a teacher.

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