Thursday, February 11, 2016

Kinder Downer

I'm four days in to a five week kindergarten subbing gig. After tomorrow's Valentine party wraps itself up in a sugary coma, I'll have made it through one week. I'm subbing at my favorite school (it happens to be the one my boys attend every day), sharing a coat room with my favorite teacher to sub for who happens to be the Knower of all Things Kindergarten. Today I took her a Twix bar and a thank you note that said some version of, "Thanks for spending your lunch teaching me how to do the benchmark." So, as far as subbing goes, it's pretty much my dream job. I mean, the only thing better would be, maybe, being full time in a drama class for weeks on end.

I've noticed something. It only takes me a handful of minutes to decide whether I like a kid so much that I'd like to put him in my pocket and bring him home or whether I am so NOT fond of a child that I'd like to pull her spleen out of her body through her throat. (Or something that sounds a lot less like murder.)

So there is this one little girl who is so adorable that it truly is a wonder I haven't kidnapped her yet. But then, the Knower of all Things had my son last year, knows all about Kate, and probably has both her eyes on me. For sure she'd direct the cops straight to my house in the event that a kindergartner went missing. And there's a little boy who seriously has a comb over and is the cutest thing ever. Today, after I tested him on sight words, I said, "Thanks. You can go." He replied, "You're welcome. Any time. I'm here to help. Whatever you need." And I gnawed the tip of my tongue right off because I wanted to look at him and say, "OH MY GOODNESS MY LOVE FOR YOU KNOWS NO BOUNDS." But, that's really creepy. I try not to be the creepy sub.

There is also a little girl I am, in my own mind, un-affectionately referring to as Kinder Downer. She is Debbie Downer in a kindergarten body. Her disposition is so sour she makes the more difficult of my two children look like Shirley Temple, hopped up on sugar, dancing a jig on a rainbow. EVERY TIME she doesn't get picked to do something (which, let's face it, her odds are 1 in 20), her face contorts into RACHEL DRATCH DOING DEBBIE DOWNER.

Then come the water works. "BUT I WANTED TO GET PICKED."

"Oh no. Don't read that one. I don't even like that book."

"WHY DON'T HAVE A PAPER??" (Because I haven't gotten to you yet!)

Alright, so, she's more of a complainer than a Debbie Downer but she does it in such a way that I hear womp wah whenever she opens her mouth. Everything causes her to look exactly like this...

Today, I asked the Knower of all Things if she was familiar with Debbie Downer from SNL. She said she was and I told her that one of the kids in my class was a teeny tiny little downer. "Is it Sarah?" she asked. Sarah, by the way, is not her real name. 

"YES!" I exclaimed. This is impressive. I don't think I'd even verified that it was a girl AND there are two sessions so she was choosing from roughly 40 students.

Minutes later, I handed out their Valentine's envelopes (and by "envelope" I mean enormous paper heart) so they could decorate them for tomorrow. The teacher I'm subbing for had left them for me, already folded and sporting each kid's name. There were red, white and pink envelopes. I could have written the script ahead of time.

If Sarah doesn't get a pink one, the world is going to end. Today. Kindergarten Valentine Apocalypse.

Hers was one of the last ones I handed out. Girls and boys had happily taken what they were given. I could see slight disappointment on the cute faces of some of the girls who didn't get pink but they were troopers. They rallied quickly and happily set to decorating their envelopes. 

Sarah's was red. I alternated between thinking, It couldn't have been pink to make my life easier? and Hee Hee Hee I'm about to watch the birth of World War 3. Hitler, Mussolini, Sarah the kindergartner. A trio of fierce dictators.

Her shoulders sagged. Her face contorted. She closed her eyes. Her head hung down like she'd just been given two minutes to live. "But I wanted a pink one."

"Well, your teacher made you a pretty red one. We get what we get and we don't throw a fit."

You're enjoying your day, everything's going your way, then along comes Debbie Downer. Always there to tell you 'bout a new disease, a car accident or killer bees. You beg her to spare you. Debbie, please! But you can't stop Debbie Downer.


  1. My daughter is in kindergarten this year, and theres a kid in her class thats like a Debbie downer. A couple days ago she told me that Mrs M told Debbie downer to stop drama crying. Had to hide my snickers.

    Way to call it like it is Mrs M.

    1. Ha ha! Kinder downers are the best! (Slash, worst.)

    2. Ha ha! Kinder downers are the best! (Slash, worst.)

  2. Aww I'm afraid my Anna is her pre-k class's downer. Kid feels big feels. She feels big emotions with happiness and excitement too so hopefully it balances out! And she just barely makes the cutoff so we'll probably hold her back making her the oldest in her class instead of youngest. I hope another year of maturity helps! There are a lot of alligator tears 'round here!