Humble, thy name is naptime and other things I learned from the Haunted Frog

Published February 6, 2014 by Lynda Christine Rodriguez

No one can ever accurately predict how their day will turn out. Things can turn on a dime and in the blink of an eye you can find yourself in a place you never thought you would be.  I know this firsthand because of  That Time My Head Blew Up and the whole best friend dying while you watched Veronica Mars, and the whole BTW, I’ve been banging the Ex and now she’s pregnant and here’s a house with a big hole in the roof thing, so I am very familiar with the idea of the unpredictable nature of life, love and clearance chocolate.

This is why I select Subbing jobs in places where I kind of know how it’s going to turn out or at least can predict the kind of weapon I will need.

I just spent two days subbing for PPCD, which is Early Elementary Special Ed.  Yes, folks, that means I just spent the last two school days in a small classroom with 11 kids with an assortment of special needs. (One was a biter, one was a runner, two have severe Cerebral Palsy and one is a three year old.)

I knew it would be busy and I knew I would be tired.

I also knew that I would wind up learning a lot more than I taught.

The job started off with one child, the biter, greeting me with the kind of hug that almost knocked me off of my feet, literally. Never underestimate the tackling ability of  five year old who wants a hug.  I spent the rest of that day singing along with an alphabet song, introducing the letter “Q”, and dancing with snowflakes. I also learned that the school used to be a mental institution. (There are some that would say that it still is. They call the voluntary patients “Teachers”. )  One of the rumored holdovers from the institution is the thundering sound of chairs being shifted on the second floor. That could be explained, but it doesn’t happen regularly and what teacher would allow all of their students to move their chairs around at the same time? And who can get fifth graders to do anything at all in unison? One particularly creepy story involved  a teacher double checking that all of the toys were switched off before leaving for the weekend. When the teacher returned and unlocked the door, an animatronic frog greeted her with an “Hola!”  The teacher stepped out of the room, grabbed the custodian and told him that she didn’t want to go in the room because the frog was creepy. The frog then said, “Adios.”

I don’t know if it’s an odd coincidence or if ghosts are bilingual or if there’s just someone in that neighborhood with too much time on their hands, but I would have run shrieking out of the room.

There are plenty of just plain weird and hilarious things that happen that are planned.  Like the Speech Therapy that never happened. It was on the schedule. According to the staff, the therapists do not come to the school with any regularity and never let them know what is going on. It is my understanding that therapy works best when it is conducted on a regular basis and that all little kids learn well if it is part of their routine.

But I’m just some rambling idiot with a blog and internet access.

I knew that I would be humbled by many, many things.

Things like helping the two children with CP get ready for nap time and placing the weighted blankets on the students with Autism (it’s comforting and gives the sensation of being held. )

I helped one student walk forty-five steps. We counted them together and I was reminded of how I have started taking basic movement for granted when at one time I had someone counting steps with me while they helped me stand up.

About half-way through the day I started to get tired. One of the kids carried her blanket over to me, led me to her mat and said, “Night Night.”

I’m going to assume that she thought I needed to nap and not that some possessed frog told her to smother me.


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