washington whimsy

to my 2 year olds; with love, teacher meg

I have a mere five days left as the lead teacher to 16 two year olds. I’ll be taking six of them to continue the journey in preschool. But, man, two year olds. They are all the things. And I’ve loved them.

So though they will probably never read this, this is a letter to them.
To my sweet, sassy, snuggly, silly and never really that silent, two year olds:

For your last year as two year olds, you have been my life. I have changed your diapers, helped you go potty, fed you, been peed on, pooped on and bled on, I have talked you through tantrums and sadness, I have helped you go to sleep, I’ve helped you explore and learn and laugh. I’ve been hit, kick, punched, slapped and spit on by you. I’ve grown tired of you screaming my name and missed you when you are gone.

I know A LOT about each of you. I know what your body looks like when you are tired, hungry, sick. I know your real laugh from your fake laugh, I know what holds your attention or what doesn’t. I know what friends you like and those with whom your body needs space. I know that your Monday attitude is different than your Thursday attitude and I know that even though you don’t want me to leave at three, that means it’s sooner for your moms and dads to come.

I see a lot in each of you. One of you is going to be someone who celebrates people well, another is going to use her inevitable popularity to show kindness to those who need it. I believe in this group of tiny humans lies an engineer, a musician and a veterinarian. I see an activist; one my most stubborn, using their skills for good. I see teachers and professors. I see some epic storytellers and writers and creators.

I see that each of you have the ability to change the world around you.

I think, I hope, that in the last year (or two) that you’ve been with me that you’ve learned a few things. One, is to be kind. When you hit, bite, steal a friend’s toy, I hope you’ve learned compassion from me (though you can’t fully comprehend it). I hope that you’ve learned to hope and dream. That you’ve picked that up in your tiny human bodies. 

I hope you’ve learned from me that you are born to be loved. 

Because you are. And so many people love you. You each have a village of moms and dads and teachers and grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and neighbors and friends that love you. 

I hope you’ve learned from me to show up for your life no matter what. I hope you become adults who choose to do the damn thing. Who choose to be present and not perfect. 

Who choose to live.

And I hope (albeit maybe NOT in such a dramatic fashion) that you continue to learn to be humans who express their emotions. 

Because of all the things I’ve hope you’ve learned from me; this is what I’ve learned from you. I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt when you are feeling: happy, tired, silly, frustrated, sad, mad. You might not know all the verbiage but you express the emotions.

See, as adults, we lack the ability, most of the time, to do that. To put it in your terms: we don’t give our bodies space.

Thank you, for being constant reminders to do that. Thank you for being reminders to let myself feel. Thank you for the practice of labeling your emotions, so that I in turn label my own. I’ll never forget when one of you, upon me asking a rhetorical question of, “who do I need to take care of?”, responded with a singularly word, “you”.

Thank you for helping me pause. For in MY moments of frustration, squeezing my cheeks or giggling, or offering me ice coffee. Thank you for teaching me to breathe. 

And lastly, but in no way least: thank you for being safe with me. For running to me with open arms, for reaching out to me when you were tired or sad or scared. For wanting to hold my hands when we danced. 

Thank you for allowing me to apart of your year of two. I can’t wait to see what I will learn from you next.

With love,

Teacher Meg

Honest, washington whimsy

To the tiny human makers

To the tiny human makers,

My work wife and I had a rough week(s) and we were talking about so many things and being frustrated and lots of other toddler teacher life issues. And at the end of the conversation it boiled down to this.

We (I) love your tiny human.

I’ve held a lot of jobs in the tiny human field over the past 10 years. I’ve been: a Sunday school teacher, day camp counselor, camp counselor, preschool teacher, preschool coordinator for a church, toddler care coordinator for a non-profit, bible story lady, babysitter, VBS coordinator, “the kid person” on mission trips. I’ve written curriculum for programs and laughed and cried with babies to high schoolers on five continents. I’ve been “miss Meghan” “miss Meg” “Maggie” “MEG” and “Sox” or  “Junapera”. And now, of course, for the last 15 months or so I’ve been “Teacher Meg” (or TEACHER MEEEEEEEGGGG) adding lead toddler teacher to my list of tiny human jobs.

I have the faces of hundreds of kids run through my mind of different nationalities, ages, fatherless, motherless, homeless, dual job families, families with stay at home moms, or Grandma’s.

I will not know where a majority end up in life, but every one of them are etched on my heart.

I currently work at a year-round full time early learning center. I have kids that I see 35-40 hrs a week. And above everything, all the things I need to do for them, my goal in each and everyday is to let them know they are loved.

I spend my day having little conversations here and there about mom and dad and grandma and grandpa and siblings.

Because I know how much you love your tiny human. I see it on your face at drop-off and pick-up, when you tell me how they slept or ask me the same. I see it when you get excited for Friday and spending time with them. Or when you tell me about their first steps or a new word they said.

So, during the day, while you are at work, I want you to know that I LOVE your tiny human. I’ll hold them when they are sad, make them laugh, I’ll help them get a nap. I’ll make sure they learn how to throw their food in the trash and not on the floor. And if they bite a friend I will give them words to say. (Same goes for tantrums, don’t worry, those don’t fly with teacher Meg).

And I don’t necessarily do all those things because it’s my job–I mean it is my job, but I do them because I love your tiny human. When they cry, real tears streaming down their cheeks, I hurt. When they finally do the thing, I get so excited for them (I’ve never been so excited about peeing in the potty in my life). When they laugh and say “I love you teacher Meg”, I melt.

I will love your tiny human, knowing that my presence in their life is a passing moment.

But they will forever be a tiny (or maybe medium-sized) human in my life.

Some of these kiddos I knew for a day, or a few weeks or maybe years. And as I said, I don’t know what happened to most of them, or where they are at now. Like the little girl in my JK class who I worked with on letters and numbers one day a week for four months at her house after school. Or the little boy at day camp that we called ninja and all fell in love with. Or Nay in Cambodia, the girls at the academy in South Africa, or any and every smiling face I met at royal family.

I’m grateful for social media and the ability to watch some of these kids grow up. Like I know that when he graduates high school I will be there to watch Nicky B walk (or probably do the robot or something amazing) across the stage and I’ll drink a glass of wine with his mom Rachel because she was and is one of my mom role models. I’ll be amazed for every year older Eric and Cathy’s boys get and be thankful for every moment on their couches. And I will treasure every smile of that tribe of kids from Rock Harbor that were in my three day class together. And of course, a certain then five year old boy who would say “hey good lookin'” to me (he’ll be president some day). Not to mention the all grown up day campers who are off to college.

I’ll support those kids from afar in their adventures like their families supported me. I’ll cheer them on every chance I get. Even when they don’t remember that I was their teacher or their counselor or that crazy lady with the Afro.

I will always love those tiny humans.

I don’t know how long I will be in the tiny human game, or if I will have tiny humans of my own, but for now, each day I will love your tiny human with my whole heart. I will impart to them words of kindness and life and thankfulness. I will encourage them to do good and make choices that honor who they are.

And a note to the families of the tiny humans that aren’t so tiny anymore: know that I still love your kids and you with so much in me. I get so excited hearing of the accomplishments and victories in their lives. I’m grateful to have been a small part of your lives and know that you were/are a big part of mine.

And know this, if your child is in daycare, or preschool know and have the knowledge that they are loved a lot.

With love always,

Meg