Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Pigeon Boy

On Monday, I worked for a few hours at my school's day camp. Normally this is something I would avoid--day camps on the subway make me change cars! But, it was just for the afternoon and it's a pretty small group. While I was there, we went to the library and the playground. The youngest kid, J., was this little blond curly-headed boy who was about 3. He was looking at a book titled something like, Where's the Mouse? in which a mouse is hiding on every page but the people can't find it. I was impressed by his knowledge of how books work--at one point "NO MOUSE!" was written in large letters and he said his version "WHERE'S THE MOUSE?" very loudly. How did he know big letters meant yelling? Also, the camp is focusing on France this week and the librarian had showed them several books written by French authors or that took place in France. When J. got to the end of his mouse book, he looked at the author's photo and said, as if he was reading that part, "This book is from France." It wasn't but he was applying what he had just heard.

Then he asked me to read him The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Another teacher had commented before about his lack of attention span where books were concerned but I didn't find that to be true. He had trouble paying attention to a 6 year old reading to him but I don't think that's unusual--you need to be a teacher or parent for that type of attention. Anyway, I read to him and every page or so, he'd say, "Excuse me. Where did the trees go?" or "Excuse me, why can't you see his face?" When another child came over, he said, "Excuse me. Look, all the trees are gone." At one point I thought it might make him sad because all the animals were leaving and getting sick but he seemed to get the idea of planting the seeds for the Truffula Trees. Although at first he was telling me about how tree tape would fix them all.

The best part was the park, though. J. asked to be my partner to cross the street and he held my hand very well until we got to the sidewalk where he saw a pigeon. He immediately ran after it and then happily came back and took my hand again when it flew away. Evidently he does this often so I knew to keep an eye on him when the next one came. I asked him, "What would you do if you actually caught one?" Without a pause, he replied, "Eat it." My sister R. used to chase pigeons (would they be considered invasive species?) so that she could kick them. I don't think she ever thought about other options for pigeons.

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