Whenever one of my regular classes is out on a field trip, I get to go help out in the preschool with one of the classes of 4 year-olds. This past week I got to go twice into this land of imagination and fun. Why would I call it that? Well, here’s why…
On Tuesday, I underwent numerous medical procedures at the hands of merciless doctors who delighted in giving me a shot every 30 seconds and checking my stomach for a heartbeat. I helped a concerned mother carefully pull the curtain across the little back alcove so her gigantic baby could have a good night’s sleep in its stroller that never moves for lack of space. I gladly received a hard-boiled egg from the little cook at the stove, who promptly took it back to first throw in the pot with a little plastic plonk then dump in the shopping cart. And I was taken on a rapid and giggly journey to the exotic Lake Titicaca (which, even though the name might have you giggling like my little guides, is a real place).
On Wednesday, I had the high privilege of having tea with a beautiful shimmery mermaid, whose winter boots happened to be sticking out the bottom of her rather well-worn tail, and a ferocious pirate, whose outfit looked suspiciously like a racecar driver’s jumpsuit. I dined on bright fruits and vegetables whose rubbery outsides were covered in the marks of countless little teeth, and which were constantly being stolen away by mischievous little hands. I was the kind nurse helping an extremely nervous patient lay down on the examining table. And I helped an intrepid carpenter saw and hammer away at various articles of furniture (with a little bit of real work when one of the little chairs actually did come apart).
So, even though I was hacked and sneezed on by more than one little child not yet schooled in the art of covering one’s mouth, even though I had to physically pull a board game away from a group of boys arguing about where it should be put away, and even though one little guy went around sullenly kicking all the chairs and tables he could, it was still a wonderful trip into the land of make-believe, a land that only the youngest (and most young at heart) can occupy.