Do you remember your first kiss? I don’t mean the one on the playground behind the jungle gym, I mean the FIRST KISS. Mine was in 7th grade. I had a crush on my best friend’s brother, who was in 8th grade. This kiss had been planned all week, with representatives from both of our camps. That Friday night we sat together at a Smithtown high school football game. During halftime the majorettes always had the stadium blacked out as they twirled their lighted batons to the oohs and ahhs of the hometown crowd. It was a long-standing tradition, and one that adolescent boys and girls looked forward to every week! Well, the moment came, and the lights went out and then it happened, my first kiss. It wasn’t quite what I had expected. There were no fireworks, the earth didn’t shake, and those braces we were wearing really DID prove to be inconvenient.
This memory came to mind yesterday in kindergarten when I overheard one of my little girls, Janie, explaining to one of our little boys exactly how kissing worked. “Well, first you put your lips together, and then you put your tongues…”
“WAIT!!!” I shouted, before she could get any further. “In kindergarten we do NOT talk about kissing. Class, I think it’s time we go over AGAIN all of the things we can and cannot do now that we are in “big kid” school. “ I stood at the board and began to list all of the suggestions the children had for what never do in school!
We don’t give free massages during read-aloud.
We don’t tickle other people.
We don’t put our hands in our pants or anyone else’s pants.
We don’t walk on the tables.
We do not poop in our pants, cause that’s digustin’.
We do not use potty words because they’re not propriate (We don’t even say pooh-pooh and we only say “p” when we are talking about the letter.)
We do not walk backwards.
We don’t get married in kindergarten.
We do not punch each other in the head because your eyeball might pop out and bleed and that would be digusting.
We do not pick our noses in school, only at home.
As I tried to squeeze all of these fabulous ideas onto the board, my little friend Janie piped up from behind me.
“Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Smith!! WHY are you writing on the board, when you KNOW we can’t read?"
She certainly had a point. I wondered quickly if I should tell her that watching me write left to right would show her how sentences flow; that each time I write a word I sound it out for her; that each time I put a space between a word and use proper punctuation that she is learning. I knew there would be plenty of time for this information. So, I just replied, “Cause it’s fun, Janie. It’s just plain fun.”
Can we help our new little friends learn the rules? Can we teach them to be good friends, follow the rules, and that they should NOT be kissing in kindergarten? Well, like the little engine we’ve all read about, I don’t just think we can. I know we can.