Kindergarten has very Bittersweet memories for me. With a heartfelt smile, I can still recall my first at-school friend, Sheila. I even remember where she lived, although I was never at her house. Sheila and I really liked doing one particular song together, especially with the cute little hand gestures:
The Itsy Bitsy spider went up the water spout.
Down came the rain, and washed the spider out.
Up came the sun, and dried up all the rain,
And the Itsy Bitsy spider went up the spout again.
When all of us had finished our task for the day from our workbooks, Sheila and I would often be the first ones to grab the crayons and coloring books, pull up our chairs to one of the tables in the main room, and work at showing off our artistic abilities.
In the free-play room next door, there was a vast array of toys to pick from for indoor physical play. Because I much preferred the outdoor playground, I spent very little time there. Besides, the most dreaded of all kindergarten activities happened in that second room -- nap time.
We each had a fringed rag rug, rolled up and tucked away in its own little niche along one wall of that playroom. When nap time was announced, we soon learned it meant to quietly put all toys away and take our rugs out of their cubbies. Then we were to carry the drooping fringed mass over to our predetermined napping spot and roll it out. I always placed mine next to Sheila's.
First, we'd have storytime while sitting cross-legged on our colorful rugs. Then, when the book closed, we were to lie down and close our eyes -- and keep them closed until the teacher came back into the room. She usually went through our workbooks at her desk in the other room while we napped. For assurance, she would always appoint one child as monitor of the sleepy-time room.
Oh...to be Monitor! When you were the monitor, you got to sit on the storybook chair and watch to see if anyone opened their eyes or moved off their mat. When the teacher came back, she would always ask you for a report. Then you had to decide whether to tattle or not.
Finally it was my turn -- I was picked to sit on the honored chair. I got up from my soft rug next to Sheila, and even moved the chair slightly towards her. There she lay -- quietly, eyes closed, on her own little red, blue and gray rag rug. Wasn't she going to peek at me? I always peek at her when she monitors, I thought. But she didn't open her eyes.
Now, this was a true dilemma. Monitors were not allowed to touch any classmate -- no matter what. But I wanted to poke her so she'd look at me. So, I got to thinking...if I was just innocently swinging my feet, because they don't reach the floor, and one foot accidentally brushed her arm...
Yep. You guessed it. I did just that -- but I bumped my Itsy Bitsy partner just a little too hard. Sheila let out a ye-ouch! causing the teacher to come flying into the room, and then...I couldn't believe it! Sheila tattled! And...she dared to say that I kicked her! Can you believe it!? I felt betrayed.
My wonderfully crafted plan to get my new at-school friend to just look at me, went terribly awry -- just like the spider's plan in the song. Of course, I denied it all. Claimed I was just swinging my feet, and hadn't even realized I had touched her until she yelled out. What a Backfire! And to think it even ended our Itsy Bitsy partnership! This was definitely...
The Bittersweet Backfire of Itsy Bitsy.