Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Santa Bunny

It is Easter today so a few traditions had to be observed. We started by observing our tradition of not getting out the baskets and eggs and clever little Easter village until it was too late to be worth our while. We also observed the tradition of making vague references to Easter dinner plans all week and then eating microwaved food when the day actually arrived. We did, however, manage to get Easter Sunday outfits with a little help from the internet. We went with robin's egg blue this year and I got some killer shoes to go with my dress. The dress needed a little altering to cover all of my garments but I ended up having to use scotch tape (no joke) because dress alterations would have cut into my mad dash to download/photoshop/cut the necessary clip art items for my primary lesson. We flew no kites this year, but we did take a walk out under the insanely frilly pink and white flowering trees. I broke my Lenten fast with six oreos for breakfast.

The talks were standard Easter fare today, nothing remarkable, the music was.... This ward needs help. I was setting up in my primary classroom during sacrament and there was one hymn that was literally unrecognizable from its introduction. Clearly there was some confusion about key signature, but even that could not have accounted for the level of abstraction the organist achieved. The primary kids sang their songs fairly well, surprisingly. One child who is in my class happened to be standing right behind the microphone which the bishopric left on the whole time, so it was more of a performance by Ethan and the Primary Pips. Fortunately, Ethan knows the songs better than anyone else in Primary so there was only awkward silence for about 25% of the performance. If music be the food of love, I'm starved in this ward. :)

I've been having a really hard time with my class which includes a severly retarded girl and two boys with ADHD. The boys I could handle, but Catherine makes it hard to hear oneself speak, let alone convey information or invite the spirit. She has the intellect of an infant. She can't say a single word, but she sure can scream. She is basically never silent and the rowdier boys tend to take the high level of background noise as an indication that its okay to shout constant off-topic commentary. "What would happen if you shot a bazooka at the temple?" Ugh. Today though, Catherine's mother came to class and kept her somewhat subdued. We had a great lesson on the atonement, and the kids were terrific. Then I sat with Tico, the "problem child" during sharing time and made him answer questions when they were about something from our lesson. "Why did Jesus die for us?" says the teacher. "You know this Tico, raise your hand." "Uh,..Tico?" "I was gonna say to give us the gifts of eternal life and immortality." Stunned silence. Tico is actually a very smart child, he's just an African American kid from a single parent home with ADHD and a lot of attitude. He draws constantly, and a lot of teachers try to make him stop drawing so he will pay attention. Bad idea. I also am a chronic graphopictomaniac. All of my notes through college and gradschool are illustrated and interupted by journal-type entries. I just need to multitask, and so does Tico. So we draw dragons during sharing time and he asks me "Why are there so many nine's in the Easter story? Nine inch nails, nine tails on the whip?" So I told him about the symbolism of threes and nines and pointed out many of the threes involved. I think he understood. Then later he said "I've been wondering for a long time, which is more important in history, Easter or Christmas?" I'm thrilled to hear him thinking through things and talking less about felonies and weapons--and even the dragons are a step up from the gruesome Grim Reeper drawings he used to do. Today he even drew the Easter bunny with a basket of eggs and a flower and some bees. "I put in insects because it's spring," he says. After church he started to rush toward his mom at the door and then turned and asked me "have I been good today?" "Tico, you've been great." Kent has a bunch of angels in his class and he loves working with them.

Just a few short weeks until I finish half of my graduate program. I'm burned out like mad, but proud to say I have truly held my own in a graduate program at a highly reputable conservatory despite having been woefully ignorant when I arrived.

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